McLaren chief Boullier in Le Mans plane scare

McLaren team principal Eric Boullier and F1 and NASCAR marketing guru Zak Brown were involved in a mid-air emergency.

McLaren chief Boullier in Le Mans plane scare
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director in the FIA Press Conference
Zak Brown, Just Marketing International and Gunther Steiner, Haas F1 Team
Zak Brown

The pair were in a single-engined Cessna owned by racer Richard Dean when it suffered a total electronic failure, which meant the loss of all instruments and communications.

Veteran pilot Alastair Breckon, who was the only other person on board, took the decision to return to Le Mans.

Close call

“We'd just gone for the weekend for some fun and a few meetings,” CSM Group CEO Brown told Motorsport.com. “I was asleep and the next thing they woke me and said we're returning to Le Mans, we've lost all communications and gauges. They were remarkably calm! We were just about to get towards the sea.

“The battery lost charge and everything went. We were hoping the engine wasn't going to cut out. We had to get down low so Eric could call Le Mans with his mobile, and they got the fire brigade ready and closed down the airport.

Favorable weather conditions

“I think in poor visibility it would have been really hard because you fly by the instruments, but fortunately it was sunny and a clear day. The only other problem is the flaps are controlled by the electronics so on landing you're not able to throw the brakes on. Fortunately because the plane is so small and light it doesn't need much runway.

“The pilot was awesome. He hadn't had it happen to him in 30 years of flying, so it was a new one for him. The fire guys came and chased us, but everything was fine.”

Boullier and Brown were able to hitch a ride back to the UK in a friend's plane later in the day.

Cockpit photo courtesy of Zak Brown

shares
comments
Hand of history on Hulkenberg's shoulder as he triumphs at Le Mans

Previous article

Hand of history on Hulkenberg's shoulder as he triumphs at Le Mans

Next article

Vettel the right man for Ferrari - Marchionne

Vettel the right man for Ferrari - Marchionne
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021