Former Formula 1 race strategist Bernie Collins has shed some light on the blame culture that she claimed was in place during her time at McLaren.
Having started her career at the Papaya team, Collins worked closely with the likes of former world champion Jenson Button, before going on to work with Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel, first at Force India, later at Aston Martin when the team was taken over.
“I think McLaren were going through a bit of a political time when I left," she told the Beyond the Grid podcast. "I didn’t realise how much I wasn’t enjoying being part of the McLaren trackside team until I left. There was a lot more pressure at McLaren.
“It was more political at that time, it has 100 per cent changed now, I can see it in the people at the track – it's a different culture to how it was then.”
Covering up mistakes
After explaining that at Aston Martin, any strategy mistakes were discussed afterwards with the team pulling together to try to be the best they could, Collins was very quick to point out the difference between that set up and McLaren’s.
“There was a lot more of a blame culture when it went wrong rather than let’s figure it out why it went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again," she said.
“And that was throughout the mechanics and everybody, it was much more ‘Oh let’s cover up that mistake and hope no one finds out’ type thing so it was a very different culture.”
Back then, McLaren were struggling with a poorly performing car – and had been sliding backwards down the order for quite some time.
Their struggles continued after Collins left, with the team only just starting to show glimpses of genuine race-winning form in the recent season thanks to the exploits of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
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