Motor racing: Monaco full of McLaren memories for Ryan

Fri May 27, 2016 11:48am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) - When Dave Ryan started working for the McLaren Formula One team in 1974, the New Zealander was handed a mop and told to clean the floor.

The job got more complicated over the next 35 years.

The former world champions, founded by Kiwi racer Bruce McLaren, are marking the 50th anniversary of their debut in Monaco this weekend and what Ryan knows about the team could fill a library.

Now racing director for back-of-the-grid Manor, minnows with big ambitions and powerful Mercedes engines, the 62-year-old lived the highs and lows at McLaren.

A mechanic to Britain's 1976 world champion James Hunt, Ryan became chief mechanic in 1982, team manager and then sporting director before leaving in 2009 in the midst of a furor involving Lewis Hamilton and race stewards.

He worked with champions like Ayrton Senna, a six-times Monaco winner, Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen as well as now triple champion Hamilton.

"McLaren's a team that's rebuilding. They've been rebuilding for the last few years and at the moment the signs are looking like they might have found a direction," he told Reuters on Monaco's traditional Friday rest day.

"They are a fantastic team with a huge history behind them and it's kind of sad in some ways to see them where they've been. But I'm sure, given the talent they have, they'll find a way back.   Continued...