McLaren has announced that Mansour Ojjeh, a shareholder of the team since 1984, has passed away at the age of 68.
McLaren will issue a full statement in due course but did say in a brief press release ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that Mr Ojjeh, one of the original co-owners of McLaren with Ron Dennis ‘passed away peacefully this morning in Geneva surrounded by his family’.
The statement added: ‘All at McLaren Racing mourn his loss together with his family, to whom the team sends its most heartfelt condolences.’
It is with deep sadness that McLaren Racing announces the death of Mansour Ojjeh, shareholder of McLaren since 1984.
Mr Ojjeh passed away peacefully this morning in Geneva, aged 68, surrounded by his family, to whom the team sends its most heartfelt condolences. pic.twitter.com/yAmp4apuYl
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) June 6, 2021
Mr Ojjeh was a very well known figure at McLaren and within the Formula 1 paddock, and news of his death prompted tributes to come in from drivers and ex-drivers alike.
‘This is terribly sad news,’ Martin Brundle wrote on social media.
‘The nicest, most straightforward, and genuine person I’ve ever met in Formula 1. A quality man at every level. Condolences to his wonderful family, and his many many friends, which I’m proud to have been one of.’
1996 World Champion, Damon Hill, said Ojjeh was ‘someone who’s contribution to our sport was in inverse proportion to his ego’, adding, ‘a rare thing. Condolences to the Ojjeh family and McLaren’.
Former McLaren drivers Carlo Sainz and Fernando Alonso also expressed his condolences.
Sainz said: ‘Very sad to learn about Mansour’s passing. He was one of the most passionate and committed people I have ever met. My thoughts are with his amazing family and all the McLaren team. R.I.P.’
Alonso posted on Twitter: ‘So sad for this. One of the best person I have ever met in this sport and a man with a big heart. Will be truly missed.’
Current McLaren driver Lando Norris said he would be racing in honour of Ojjeh at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
‘Gonna be racing for you today Mansour,’ Norris said. ‘A legend within F1 but more importantly a great friend to me and many. Gonna miss your jokes and our laughs. Condolences to all family and friends. RIP Mansour.’
Mercedes duo Ola Kaellenius and Toto Wolff issued their own joint statement to pay tribute to Ojjeh.
‘Mansour was a business icon with a deep passion for racing,’ they said. ‘Together with Ron Dennis at McLaren, he set a new benchmark for how a Formula 1 team could be run, and Mercedes enjoyed iconic moments together with them over many years of partnership.
‘Mansour was also a tenacious fighter – and a true and loyal friend. He will be sadly missed and we send our heartfelt sympathies to Kathy and his family.’
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali added: ‘Mansour was someone with incredible talent, passion and energy and was a giant of our sport. I will miss him greatly and so will the whole F1 community.’
Former McLaren driver, Lewis Hamilton, also paid his own respects just before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
I carry a heavy heart into the race after the loss of a close friend, Mansour Ojjeh. He had the biggest heart and always carried the biggest smile. I am so grateful to have known such a man. This man loved unconditionally. Rest in peace brother, love you always🖤🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/EGGFx2vtlM
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 6, 2021
We would also like to express our deepest sympathy to the Ojjeh and McLaren family following this very sad news. Rest in peace, Mansour.