McLaren shareholder Mansour Ojjeh has died at the age of 68.
The McLaren team confirmed the news on Sunday morning, saying Ojjeh passed away peacefully in Geneva surrounded by his family.
Ojjeh was best known in Formula One for his shareholding in McLaren, which dated back to 1984, but he first got involved in motorsport with the Williams team.
His father’s company, Techniques d’Avant Garde (TAG), became a major sponsor of Williams in 1979 and branding was on the car when Alan Jones won the 1981 world championship.
In 1981, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis approached Ojjeh about investing in his team.
The approach resulted in TAG funding the development of a Porsche turbo engine that went on to power Niki Lauda to the 1984 championship.
Ojjeh became a shareholder in McLaren the same year and, although his shareholding was diluted by new investment from Bahrain’s sovereign fund in recent decades, he remained involved in the running of the team.
“The passing of Mansour Ojjeh has devastated everyone at McLaren Racing,” current McLaren CEO Zak Brown said. “Mansour has been etched into the heart and soul of this team for nearly 40 years and was intrinsic to its success.
“He was a true racer in every sense. Ultra-competitive, determined, passionate and, above all, perhaps his defining characteristic: sporting. No matter the intensity of the battle, Mansour always put sport first.
“Mansour was a titan of our sport, yet modest, unassuming and disarming to all he encountered. His easy manner, sharp wit and warm humour touched all those who were fortunate to know him.
“His love of this team was palpable for all to see and those of us privileged to work for McLaren will remember Mansour as an impressive yet humble, human, father-figure who showed us at the most individual, personal level how to fight adversity and be resilient.
“He will remain in death what he was in life: a constant inspiration to all of us at McLaren and beyond. Mansour’s legacy is secure.
“It is woven into this team and perpetual. We race on as he would wish, our resolve stronger than ever, with his memory and legacy forever in our hearts and minds.
“All at McLaren Racing express their deepest sympathies to his entire family.”