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 condential. 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 reect 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 difculty.
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