Formula 1: McLaren co-founder and legend Tyler Alexander dies aged 75

Formula 1: McLaren co-founder and legend Tyler Alexander dies aged 75

Formula 1: McLaren co-founder and legend Tyler Alexander dies aged 75

Written by Staff Writer

08 Jan, 2016 | 10:41 am

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Bruce McLaren

The McLaren Formula 1 team was formed in the year 1966 and is the 3rd oldest team behind Ferrari (1950) and Mercedes (1954), currently competing in Formula 1.

The team was named after co-founder Bruce McLaren who unfortunately died aged 32 following a crash at the Goodwood racetrack, England during an aero test. A sudden loss of aerodynamic downforce destabilized the car on the Lavant straight just before Woodcote corner, throwing the car into a spin, and hit a bunker used as a flag station.

The legacy of Bruce lives on through his World Championship winning team which was named after him, McLaren.

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Tyler Alexander

The team achieved great heights with the support of its second founding pillar, American born Tyler Alexander but breaking unfortunate news, the Woking based McLaren outfit confirmed that Alexander passed away on Thursday, 7th January 2016 at the age of 75.

Tyler Alexander originally joined the team as a mechanic to work alongside founder Bruce in 1963 rising though the ranks quickly through the years. Alexander originally worked on McLaren’s CanAm and USAC racing programmes before returning to Europe to help as the outfit set its focus on F1.

Alexander later spent time running BMW’s IMSA operations before being recalled to McLaren to head up special projects – prior to retiring before the 2009 season.

He recently wrote a photographic book ‘McLaren from the Inside’ which combined his passions for motor racing and photography. Speaking at an event, Alexander once said that his favorite McLaren F1 car is the 2005 MP4-20 of Kimi Räikkönen, who lost the World Drivers Championship that year by just 1 point.

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MP4-20 driven by Kimi Räikkönen – Australian GP 2005

Tyler Alexander said:
“When you look at it, Kimi should have won 12 races that year, but we had a lot of engine reliability problems.

“That meant a situation where Kimi always qualified in the first three, then he went 10 places back, and he would still finish in the top three all the time.

“So you’d think if he’d started where he belonged, where he actually qualified, he would have won hands down. He was on form and the car was good. It was magic!”

He also spoke of the 1998 MP4/13 car of Mika Hakkinen.

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MP4/13 driven by Mika Häkkinen – Monte-Carlo 1998

“There were several other good cars though. When Mika Häkkinen was driving for us in 1998 it was really good. We went to Barcelona to test the car when it was brand new and, after three or four laps, he was 1. 5 seconds quicker than everyone else who had been testing for two days.
“I remember saying, ‘Let’s put the car back in the truck and go home as we don’t want to touch it!’ We went to Melbourne and he and Coulthard were comfortably quicker than everyone else in qualifying.”

One of the keys to Alexander’s longevity in racing was his ability to play a problem down, rein in his ego and not turn into a schemer, unlike some of those he encountered. He saved his ambition for the actual racing.

Alexander was in positions of authority for so long and worked with so many interesting drivers, often at the apices of their careers, that there’s surely not another person on this planet who knew everything that Tyler Alexander knew.

McLaren paid tribute to the fallen legend on their website

“Put simply, Tyler made things happen – quickly and efficiently with his trademark minimum of fuss.

“There were no definitions or boundaries to his role: he directed the mechanics; he machined spare parts; he arranged accommodation; he paid for last-minute airline tickets; he scrounged favours from a growing list of friends and colleagues.

“He pushed and pulled McLaren’s race cars around the world, and, once at the track, made sure they were better engineered and organised than any other team in the pitlane.”

The world of motorsport mourns the loss of an individual who loved, lived and breathed racing in its purest form. Someone who represented the true spirit of racing.

“Tyler’s was a friendship that you could really rely upon; he was a man who would never let you down.

“In fact, Tyler was one of the finest of the old school: hardy, humble and wise, leaving a reputation and a legacy that will remain indelible in the history of international motorsport. – Said McLaren

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