Ec­cle­stone stands up for McLaren boss Dennis

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

AUSTIN: For­mula One’s com­mer­cial supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone has spo­ken out in sup­port of Ron Dennis amid con­tin­u­ing spec­u­la­tion that share­hold­ers are seek­ing to re­place the McLaren boss. “If I was go­ing to run a team I’d like to have Ron with me,” the Bri­ton told Reuters at the US Grand Prix, which Dennis at­tended 50 years on from his first in­volve­ment at a race week­end.

“I think he does a good job. Any­one that chucks him out is stupid. He’s ded­i­cated. I think we ought to try and sup­port him so they don’t get rid of him,” added Ec­cle­stone, who will turn 86 in Mex­ico next Sun­day.

“It would be a shame to see him go. He’s one of the good old timers.” Bri­tain’s au­ web­site said in an un­sourced re­port last week that Dennis, 69, would be leav­ing as McLaren chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive at the end of the year when his con­tract ex­pired.

A McLaren spokesman said in re­sponse that Dennis, who at­tended his first For­mula One race as a Cooper me­chanic in Mex­ico in 1966, had stated “cat­e­gor­i­cally” that he is not step­ping down. “More­over, he re­mains con­tracted as chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of McLaren Tech­nol­ogy Group and he re­tains a 25 per­cent share­hold­ing-ex­actly equal to that of (Saudi­born busi­ness part­ner) Man­sour Oj­jeh.”


Mah­mood al-Kooheji, CEO of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mum­ta­lakat, which owns the other 50 per­cent, told Reuters they had “great ad­mi­ra­tion” for Dennis.

“He’s a col­league, an in­spi­ra­tional chair­man who is be­hind all the ideas,” he said. “What­ever he de­cides, we will sup­port his de­ci­sion. I hope he con­tin­ues and I will try to make him stay.”

How­ever, for­mer McLaren driver turned tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tor Martin Brun­dle said he ex­pected Dennis to leave.

“There seems to have been some fric­tion and there seems to be a new di­rec­tion they want to go in,” he told Sky Sports tele­vi­sion.

“I don’t know who they’ve got in mind and (in) which el­e­ments of McLaren they will make changes, and whether they will re­struc­ture. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Dennis, who has been in­volved with McLaren since 1980, stood down as team boss in 2009 but re­turned as group chief ex­ec­u­tive in Jan­uary 2014. McLaren changed their name in 2014 to McLaren Tech­nol­ogy Group, in­cor­po­rat­ing the sportscar com­pany and ap­plied tech­nolo­gies as well as the F1 team.

Mum­ta­lakat agreed that same year to sell some shares to Dennis but there has been no con­fir­ma­tion of that hap­pen­ing.

McLaren have not won since 2012 and strug­gled last year at the start of a new part­ner­ship with Honda. They have im­proved since and recorded their fourth dou­ble points fin­ish of the sea­son on Sun­day. — Reuters

Ron Dennis chats with Bernie Ec­cle­stone (R).

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