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Motorsport | Formula 1

Jenson Button © Gallo Images

Button backs Boullier appointment



British former Formula One world champion Jenson Button has endorsed the appointment of Eric Boullier as McLaren's new racing director as the restructuring of the team continues.

Former Lotus team principal Boullier's arrival comes hot on the heels of Ron Dennis's return as chief executive officer, who ousted Martin Whitmarsh after McLaren's worst season in over 30 years in 2013 as they failed to make the podium once in 19 races.

Whitmarsh is now expected to also be dismissed from his role as team principal.

Boullier will report to Dennis, who guided McLaren to 10 world drivers' and seven constructors' titles while in charge of the team from 1982 to 2009, with a new intermediary position of chief executive officer of McLaren Racing also to be appointed shortly.

Button believes Boullier's achievements on a shoestring budget compared to McLaren's at Lotus last season bodes well for a more successful 2014.

"I think it is good to have fresh ideas. It's good to add to the team. The team will never be completely changed by one individual, but he does add something and once the management structure is complete we'll be in good shape.

"I have never worked with him. I know him as a friend in the paddock, but I don't know the way that he works.

"Obviously, Lotus had a very interesting and exciting last few years.

"Last year was a very difficult year for the team with what was going on in the background, but it looked like he controlled that issue reasonably well, so I am looking forward to working with him."

McLaren also enjoyed a good day on the track as having failed to debut their new MP4-29 car at the first day of pre-season testing in Jerez, southern Spain, on Tuesday, Button was quickest in Wednesday's practice.

Boullier is not present in Jerez, but will take up his new role from February 3, in time for the second round of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

"First of all, I regard this appointment as an honour, a priviledge and a wonderful opportunity," he said in a statement released by the team.

"The McLaren Racing workforce and the facilities at the McLaren Technology Centre are world-class, and I'm hugely excited about the prospect of joining such an outstanding team."

Until such time as an appointment for the chief executive office of McLaren Racing has been made, the team confirmed that chief operating officer, Jonathan Neale, will be acting in that position.

"Eric's appointment is an integral part of a senior management restructure within McLaren Racing," added Dennis.

"I'm firmly of the belief that, once McLaren Racing's restructured senior management team has been assembled, we'll begin the march back to full competitiveness, quickly and professionally, harnessing the fantastic depth of talent within our organisation."

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