McLaren legend Tyler Alexander, one of the founding members of the team, has died aged 75. The American joined forces with team founder Bruce McLaren in the 1960s, and quickly went on to assume multiple responsibilities. In a tribute on the McLaren website, the team said: “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. e pushed and pulled McLaren’s racecars around the world, and, once at the track, made sure they were better engineered and organised than any other team in the pitlane.”
In the late 1960s and during the 1970s, Alexander had a successful stint working in the United States on McLaren’s CanAm and USAC racing activities – including two Indianapolis 500 victories – before returning to the team’s F1 project. He went back across the Atlantic in 1982, working with former McLaren team boss Teddy Mayer on an IndyCar effort. After briefly working with the Beatrice F1 team and spending some time on BMW’s IMSA operation, he returned to McLaren in 1989, retiring following the 2008 F1 season.
McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis said: “Alongside Bruce McLaren, who founded the McLaren company in 1963, Tyler Alexander was one of the first pillars of our company, working hard alongside Bruce from the very earliest days. “Bruce couldn’t have asked for a sturdier pair of shoulders upon which to help build the team’s reputation. Tyler’s expert yet practical expertise, coupled with his energetic and optimistic attitude, topped off by his infectiously dry and satirical sense of humour, made him both highly successful and hugely popular, whether he was overseeing car-builds in the team’s workshop, running race-winning CanAm and Indy 500 crews, or working with some of the world’s greatest drivers and engineers in Formula 1. Quite simply, Tyler lived and breathed McLaren – and, following his retirement in late 2008, during which season he attended every grand prix and played an important part in securing the team’s and Lewis Hamilton’s world championship success, he remained a much loved and greatly valued chum to many of us, regularly visiting our Woking factory to catch up with pals old and new. 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. So, on behalf of all at McLaren, I’d like to pay heartfelt tribute to one of our team’s founding fathers, and to offer our deepest condolences to his many friends and his ever-loving companion, Jane Nottage, who has always stood by him, valiant to the very end.”