What went wrong for Eric Boullier and McLaren?

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When you've claimed 182 Grand Prix victories and several world championships in the past and not won a race for six years, something has to give. Questioning why it's taken this long is just as relevant as asking if Eric Boullier's resignation as race director is the answer to curing McLaren's deep-rooted malaise.

After years of mounting negative whispers, the writing was finally on the paddock wall in Bahrain when the McLaren-Renault MCL33 was blown off by a Toro Rosso-Honda. The 7kph straight-line differential was undeniable proof that Honda had largely been hamstrung by McLaren rather than the other way round during the latter part of an uncomfortable three-year partnership.

The stopwatch did not lie. The majority shareholders from Bahrain were in no doubt that McLaren's technical division had been deluded rather than deceitful. MCL33 was the slow product of an internecine struggle rather than the harmonisation and maximising of design, engineering and aero input. The fact that all three departments were operating defensively within a corrosive blame culture was due to the absence of a commanding and coordinating presence at the top.

Ron Dennis may have had his faults but the autocratic former team principal would never have allowed the situation to fester and become such a destructive force. For almost 30 years, Dennis had masterminded a heady upward spiral of success breeding substantial financial backing and even more success.

The irony would appear to be that last year's bold statement of chassis integrity was nurtured in the belief that McLaren remained the flawless force it had always been. While such misplaced dogma bordering on conceit had some merit, did the fact that it was Boullier who said these unwise words actually hasten his demise?

In retrospect, Boullier's biggest mistake was to accept the post of Race Director in January 2014. The Frenchman was probably and understandably swayed by the attraction of McLaren and its shimmering headquarters without realising the challenge would not be adding another chapter to an illustrious history but attempting to deal with immediate self-destruction.

Boullier's rise in motor sport had been too swift to provide the necessary experience to cope with the narcissism taking hold inside such a vast structure. A graduate in aero and spacecraft engineering, he began his serious motor sport career in the World Series by Nissan programme before moving in 2003 to the respected DAMS team.

Boullier became more widely known in 2010 as team principal at Renault F1 after the team had been bought by Genii Capital, and prior to being renamed Lotus F1. Victory for Kimi Räikkönen at Abu Dhabi at the end of a successful season in 2012 did Boullier's reputation no harm at all.

Lotus was under the astute technical direction of James Allison. It was a compact and efficient unit. If anything, Lotus worked too well since it meant Boullier was ill-prepared for the bureaucratic committee process awaiting him in Woking.

Although Boullier probably knew what needed to be done, his hands were tied. But were they bound so tight as to prevent thumping the boardroom table and the necessary banging together of obstinate departmental heads? The answer depends on whom you talk to within those troubled walls.

Right guy or fall guy? It makes little difference within a company that finally recognises it is in desperate need of root and branch change.