McLaren: Tim Goss removed from chief technical officer position

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
McLaren are fourth in the constructors' championship, with Fernando Alonso sixth in the drivers' championship
Azerbaijan Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Baku City Circuit Date: 27-29 April
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Tim Goss has been removed from his position as chief technical officer of McLaren, BBC Sport can reveal.

It comes after the team showed poor pace in the first three races of 2018 following a switch to Renault engines.

A McLaren spokesman declined to confirm Goss was moving from his role as one of their three most senior F1 engineers.

But the spokesman said McLaren was "undergoing a review of its technical operations as part of its programme to return the team to success".

"This is a proactive, ongoing process that addresses a broad range of factors across the organisation," he added.

"More details will be given in due course. Until that time there will be no further comment."

Goss, who is 55 and has worked for McLaren since 1990, had technical oversight of the car's chassis. As such, he led the design team alongside Peter Prodromou, chief technical officer with responsibility for aerodynamics, and Matt Morris, the chief engineering officer.

Tim Goss
Tim Goss pictured on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2012 with McLaren's race winner Jenson Button (second right) and then-Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso (left) and Felipe Massa (right)

McLaren's lead driver Fernando Alonso has scored 22 points in the first three races of 2018 - more than he scored in the whole of last year - and is sixth in the championship heading into this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

But McLaren have fallen a long way short of their ambition of racing directly with Red Bull, who also use Renault engines.

McLaren spent last season saying that they had one of the best chassis in F1 - and their belief that the Honda engine was the only thing holding them back was a large part of their decision to ditch their works contract with the Japanese company and swap it for a customer Renault engine deal.

But Alonso has started 11th, 13th and 13th so far and the car has been on average two seconds off the pace in qualifying.

That performance has led McLaren to realise that they have a wider problem with their design department.

The decision to make changes at the very top is the first big shake-up since Zak Brown was made chief executive officer of McLaren Racing, with direct responsibility for the F1 team, earlier this month.

Serious questions have been asked internally as to how McLaren can have misinterpreted their competitiveness.

It is not impossible that other changes could follow in the coming weeks, but this could depend on the performance of the car at the Spanish Grand Prix, when a major upgrade package is being introduced. Among the changes will be a new nose design.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said that the reliability problems suffered in pre-season testing delayed the introduction of upgrades that had been planned sooner.

He said the problems were caused by McLaren being too ambitious with what they thought they could achieve while switching engines.

But he also said at the last race in China that McLaren may have not been ambitious enough in setting their performance targets for this year's car.