F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

1 June 1947, Wok­ing, Sur­rey

Re­turns to head up the F1 team as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

Den­nis steps down as team prin­ci­pal and hands com­plete con­trol of McLaren over to Martin Whit­marsh

McLaren are em­broiled in ‘Spy­gate’. They are found guilty, ex­cluded from the con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship and fined $100m

HM The Queen opens the McLaren Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre

Awarded CBE for ser­vices to mo­tor­sport

Per­suades TAG founder Man­sour Oj­jeh to fund Porsche-built en­gines for the team

Pro­ject 4 merges with McLaren to form McLaren In­ter­na­tional. Den­nis be­comes team prin­ci­pal and or­gan­ises a buy­out of orig­i­nal McLaren share­hold­ers to as­sume full con­trol

Founds and runs Pro­ject 3 and then Pro­ject 4 to race in F2 and F3

Ron­del at­tempts to en­ter For­mula 1, but the pro­ject flounders due to the en­ergy cri­sis

Forms Ron­del Rac­ing with Neil Trun­dle

Works for the Brab­ham F1 team

Starts work­ing in For­mula 1 at Cooper as a me­chanic to Jochen Rindt

The sit­u­a­tion was sim­ple. En­tirely in­de­pen­dent of our opin­ion of Kevin, who we knew to be a tal­ented and ca­pa­ble driver, we’d al­ready de­cided to go with Fernando and Jen­son [But­ton], and three-into-two wouldn’t go. So the let­ter for­malised that po­si­tion, in ac­cor­dance with the rel­e­vant clause of our con­tract, and co­in­ci­den­tally it ar­rived on Kevin’s birthday – and that one small de­tail por­trayed McLaren and my­self as be­ing cold, ruth­less and un­car­ing.

Far from it, far from it. In fact, you can even read the let­ter. I have no prob­lem with you read­ing it, as there’s noth­ing in it that’s conden­tial. In fact, it’s a nice let­ter. It’s just un­for­tu­nate that Kevin re­ceived it on his birthday, but it didn’t con­tain any­thing he didn’t al­ready know.

It should be noted that Mag­nussen him­self never com­plained about the tim­ing of the let­ter; that was done by me­dia. When asked about its ar­rival date, Mag­nussen replied: “Oh, I didn’t re­ally mind. That’s just a de­tail, isn’t it? There’s no need to make a fuss about stuff like that.”

When you take a kick­ing like that in the me­dia, and when times are tough, what do you do when you get home? Do you sit and think about it? Do you reect on how you’re go­ing to act and how you show lead­er­ship?

Of course, of course! I think most peo­ple in the com­pany know what my val­ues and prin­ci­ples are. There are – it’s not for me to say – many, many times I’ve demon­strated, not for any other rea­son than that I’m prin­ci­pled, what the com­pany is pre­pared to do for its em­ploy­ees. And that’s how ei­ther the com­pany steps up to the plate or I per­son­ally step up to the plate in mo­ments of in­di­vid­ual hard­ship or difculty.

There are many ex­am­ples, sev­eral of which have passed into pad­dock lore. At one Aus­tralian GP, the late Daily Mail F1 hack Ray Matts, an ex­tremely pop­u­lar gure, was taken ill. Den­nis per­son­ally in­ter­vened to en­sure Ray’s wife, Val, was own in some com­fort from the UK to her hus­band’s

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