What Is Going On With Ron Dennis ?

I have been trying to digest all the Ron Dennis stuff that came out in the past few days. And something does not add up here …

Ron Dennis

First there is the stunning turnaround by McLaren team with the admission and apology and all that. But the name under it is not Ron Dennis but the heir apparent Martin Whitmarsh. And in that apology, there is also a passge:

“Apart from the morale-sapping consequences within the team, its ability to continue its task of generating investment has been made virtually impossible. Consequently, the long-term damage to the team’s previously outstanding record and commercial capability is significantly greater than that potentially envisaged by the fiscal penalty imposed.”

It somehow suggests, that the USD100 million fine hurts more than Ron Dennis has ever admitted.

And as if that fine was not enough, the team will also have to pay £1m bill for the FIA’s investigation into the legality of McLaren’s 2008 car.

It is and it probably will remain unclear how much of the humble aplogy is sincere and how much of it is just there to appease Max Mosley and close the whole matter. But it shows one thing – in contrary to Dennis’ tearful summer words “I live and breathe this team. And there is no way anything incorrect has taken place here”, something incorrect did take place. And his pride and insistence on contrary at the end resulted in the huge fine and unnecessary further costly investigation. He might have sincerely believed his team did no wrong, but he should have done more to make sure that was the case.

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His failure to do so may have another consequence for 2008 season – the car competitivness. If the 2008 McLaren car was truly on course to implement some of the knowledge acquired from Stepney/Coughlan think tank, the proposed moratorium means that McLaren’s car development faces several months set back. Dennis has known since September that the car will be investigated and it looks like he did not do enough to seek the actual facts from within his own team. Or did some people within the team do enough to hide the truth from the team principal ? Either way these are not exactly signs of a man in control…

Then the Heikki Kovalainen signing comes around and same as with the apology it was Martin Whitmarsh who made the announcement.

It did not take too long for rumours to begin. And then it did not take too long for Ron Dennis to re-appear to deny them:

“I’m not going to quit. That is 100 per cent. I know there are people out there who want me to retire, but I’m not. I do not think it would be in the best interests of the team.”

It would be interesting to know who are the “people out there”. Does he mean FIA and Mosley or does he mean people within the team and the team backers ?

Is the fact that the last 2 important annoucements from McLaren came from Martin Whitmarsh something significant or just a normal sign of Ron Dennis having holidays (while the team negotiates with a new driver) ?

And final note – When he talks about the “best interest of the team”, is it in the best interest of the team to continue being run by a person that is unable to communicate with FIA and does not know what is happening within the team ?

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    The politics at play in F1 control the sport. I always thought that McLarens penalty should have been for them to release all their technical data to all the other teams. Imagine if all the second and third tier teams had all the engineering data from McLaren. The playing field would be virtually leveled. But then Ferrari would not have won the constructors, and Ferrari winning is good for F1…and the politics of F1 rules.

  2. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    they released something and somebody to Renault :-)

  3. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    We have a chance to see the best season in F1 in decades this year. Ferrari is probably ahead of the pack, but McLaren is close, BMW is gaining like wildfire, and Renault spent most of 2007 working towards 2008 and now has Alonzo.

    If McLaren, and now Renault had to release all their engineering…then Red Bull, Toyota, and Honda would probably had instantly joined the first tier teams.

    Imagine seven teams fighting for a podium every race…it would finally come down to the best driver. I wouldn’t want to bet against Alonso.

    But of course, Ferrari winning is good for F1…and I say this as a lifelong Ferrari fan.

  4. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    there may not be seven team fighting for wins in 2008, but it looks like there may be 6-7 teams with a shot at podium. And should it rain, no one knows :-)

    I am glad that at least officially all the 2007 spygates are over, although the bad feelings will remain for a some time…

  5. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    Who are your seven…

    Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault appear to be the top teams.

    Red Bull has a chance for a podium if things go just right, especially with the strength of their finish. Williams might get a podium, but again the stars will have to be aligned just right. I don’t see either getting up front without becoming the primary engine source.

    Toyota and Honda just can’t seem to put things together, no matter how much they spend. Even if things come together, they have to be at least two years from moving up front.

    The others just don’t have the funding.

  6. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:





    Red Bull (they are quick already, just need to work out the reliability)

    Honda (they messed up big time last year but I doubt they will do it twice in a row, especially with Ross Brawn now at helm)

    Williams (they seem to be doing things right even on lesser budget)

    Toyota should be there as well, but they are Toyota :-)


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