London - Eric Boullier's disastrous tenure as racing director of former Formula One giants McLaren ended on Wednesday as he resigned with immediate effect just days before the British Grand Prix.
The 44-year-old Frenchman joined the team in 2014 and oversaw successive years of disappointment with Honda and Renault engines as the once dominant force experienced the worst run in its 52-year history.
Boullier had stubbornly refused to resign in late June amid reports of disquiet amongst the staff - he even had to deny a report in the Daily Mail that the staff were upset at being given Freddo chocolate bars as a bonus.
Zak Brown, the team's American chief executive, said the staff were not to blame and Boullier had to go because of the failure of this season's car - they have just 44 points and are sixth in the constructor’s championship.
"The performance of the MCL33 in 2018 has not met the expectations of anyone at McLren, especially our loyal fans," Brown said in a statement.is is not the fault of the hundreds of committed and hard-working men and women at McLaren.
"The causes are systemic and structural, which require major change from within.
"With today's announcement, we start to address those issues head on and take the first step on our road to recovery.
"I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the entire team to thank Eric for his service and contribution to McLaren and wish him well in his future endeavours."
Boullier accepted it was time to go.
"I am very proud to have worked with such a brilliant team over the past four years, but I recognise now is the right time for me to step down.
"I want to wish everyone at McLaren the best for the remainder of the season and for the future."
Gil de Ferran, a former IndyCar champion, takes up the new role of sporting director, while Andrea Stella, who moved to McLaren with Fernando Alonso from Ferrari, was promoted to performance director.
McLaren have won 20 drivers' and constructors' championships, but have not won a race since 2012, and have failed to finish on the podium in more than four years.