Eric Boullier  France

  • Full name Eric Boullier
  • Birth date November 9, 1973
  • Birthplace Laval, France
  • Current age 46 years 279 days
  • Teams DAMS, Lotus F1, McLaren, Renault
  • Other roles Principal
driver portrait

Team principal

Eric Boullier's no-nonsense approach to team management served him well when he joined Lotus in 2010 and caught the eye of Ron Dennis for a move to McLaren in 2014.

His first team boss role in F1 came after Renault's sale of its Enstone-based team at the end of 2009. Boullier was drafted in due to his close ties with Genii-owned Gravity Sports Management and his experience as team principal at DAMS in GP2. He is young and fresh faced, but by no means lacking in ability. In his first year in the job he turned Renault from also-rans facing a financial meltdown, to a threat to the big three and an attractive proposition for sponsors.

Having graduated from the French Institut Polytechnique des Sciences Appliquees in aeronautical and space craft engineering, Boullier immediately took a job at DAMS working in F3000 and Le Mans. In 2001 he was appointed as chief engineer for Racing Engineering in the World Series by Nissan and just two years later he returned to DAMS as managing and technical director. He took control of the team and oversaw its projects in a number of series, including France's championship-winning A1 GP team.

In 2008 he was appointed CEO of Gravity, placing one of the management company's prospects, Jerome d'Ambrosio, at DAMS. He also launched the Formula One career of Kamui Kobayashi, who took his first win in GP2 with DAMS and in 2009 was poached to race for Toyota in the top flight.

Then, in January 2010, Boullier was made team principal of Renault despite never working in F1 before. At just 36 years old many observers saw it as a risky appointment, but Boullier proved his worth when the season started and Renault was consistently one of the most improved cars at each race.

The environment Boullier created at the team persuaded Robert Kubica to commit his future to Renault until 2012 and Vitaly Petrov was brought in as a pay driver to balance the books. However, the team's driver line-up took a severe hit during testing in 2011 when Kubica suffered life-threatening injuries in a rally accident. Boullier drafted in Nick Heidfeld to replace his star driver but the team's results tailed off during the season with its novel forward-exiting exhaust design failing to live up to expectations.

Bruno Senna was brought in to replace Heidfeld at the Belgian Grand Prix but it was all change in 2012 when Boullier managed to persuade Kimi Raikkonen to make a return to F1. He paired the 2007 world champion with DAMS GP2 champion Romain Grosjean and the team scored regular podiums during the season. Raikkonen took the first win for the newly named 'Lotus F1' team at Abu Dhabi that season and then won the season opener in 2013.

Boullier's success at Lotus impressed Dennis, who returned to McLaren in the wake of its first season without a podium since 1980. Part of Dennis' shake-up saw Martin Whitmarsh leave the team as team prinicpal and he was replaced by Boullier, albeit in the new role of racing director, ahead of the 2014 season.

It proved to be a year of transition as Boullier deconstructed McLaren's complex matrix management system and enforced a more holistic approach among the design team. Honda's arrival as engine supplier in 2015 marked the start of a new era at McLaren with Boullier close to the centre.

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