Saudi billionaire Mansour Ojjeh, the driving force behind McLaren’s success in Formula One, has died at the age of 68, the British team reported on Sunday. Born in Paris, Ojjeh bought him from McLaren in 1984 and established himself as a major F1 force with his former partner Ron Dennis. “McLaren Racing has sadly announced the death of Mansour Ojjeh, McLaren shareholder since 1984,” McLaren announced ahead of Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“Mr. Ojjeh died peacefully this morning in Geneva, at the age of 68, surrounded by his family, and offers his deepest condolences to the group.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said his death had “destroyed” everyone on the team.
“Mansour has been engraved in the heart and soul of this group for almost 40 years and was inherent in their success,” Brown added.
“He was a real runner in every way. Ultra-competitive, determined, passionate and, above all, perhaps his defining characteristic: sport.
“Regardless of the intensity of the fight, Mansour always put the sport first.”
With Mansour on board, McLaren has had eight constructors since 1984 in the world and won 10 of the 12 crowns of 10 drivers.
Lewis Hamilton, who won the first of seven McLaren world titles, said the following before the start of the Grand Prix in Baku on Sunday: “I have a heavy heart in the race after losing a hurt friend Mansour Ojjeh.
“He had the biggest heart and he always had the biggest smile. I’m very grateful to meet such a man. This man loved him unconditionally. Calm down calmly, brother, I always love you.”
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