Tyler Alexander – 1940-2016



Tyler Alexander has passed away at the age of 75. He was one of McLaren’s unsung heroes and played a large part in the founding of the team after being recruited by Bruce McLaren. He was described as having “McLaren running through his veins” after spending more than 40 years with the British outfit. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

In memory of Alexander, we look back to 2013 when Simon Taylor met him for lunch. Here’s what he found:

Wonder, if you will, the sheer speed of change in Formula 1. Not just the relentless progress of technology, but the galloping growth in global reach, in circuit facilities, in media attention and in the expectations and earning power of the protagonists. It’s been rapid enough, goodness knows, on a year-by-year and decade-by-decade basis. So what about half a century? If a motor racing Rip van Winkle had dozed off in his chair in a 1963 paddock and woken in the same place in 2013, he would simply not be able to recognise where he was. He would not comprehend what had happened at all.

So here’s a man who is in the almost unique position of having witnessed every step of that growth, and indeed has been a part of it himself. He was in at the very birth of one of the greatest Formula 1 teams of all time, and he was still there when it was winning its 162nd Grand Prix and its 19th World title. Tyler Alexander is no Rip van Winkle: in fact he probably got rather less sleep over that half-century than most. He has been mechanic, engineer, team manager, trusted lieutenant and general factotum, not just in F1 but also in Indycar and in Can-Am. Now he has retired from his final role as Special Projects Manager at McLaren. When he joined, it was three men in a smelly shed; today it employs thousands in its gleaming, futuristic Technology Centre. And now, finally, Tyler can pause and look back. He’s produced a wonderful book of his superb photography, McLaren on the Inside, which is reviewed on page 22. Meanwhile, I’ve persuaded him to let me take him to lunch…

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