Veteran McLaren boss Ron Den­nis forced out of F1 team

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Ron Den­nis, the veteran head of the McLaren Formula One team, has been forced out fol­low­ing a boardroom dis­pute.

The an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day brings to an end Den­nis' 36-year stay with the Bri­tish team, re­lin­quish­ing his po­si­tion as chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of one of Formula One's most suc­cess­ful teams.

Den­nis at­tacked the "en­tirely spu­ri­ous" rea­sons for the de­ci­sion.

"I am dis­ap­pointed that the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of TAG and Mum­ta­lakat, the other main share­hold­ers in McLaren, have forced through this de­ci­sion to place me on gar­den­ing leave, de­spite the strong warn­ings from the rest of the man­age­ment team about the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of their ac­tions on the busi­ness," Den­nis said in a state­ment. "The grounds they have stated are en­tirely spu­ri­ous; my man­age­ment style is the same as it has al­ways been and is one that has en­abled McLaren to be­come an au­to­mo­tive and tech­nol­ogy group that has won 20 Formula One world cham­pi­onships and grown into an 850 mil­lion-pound ($1 bil­lion) a year busi­ness.

"Through­out that time I have worked closely with a se­ries of tal­ented col­leagues to keep McLaren at the cut­ting edge of tech­nol­ogy, to whom I will al­ways be ex­tremely grate­ful."

Den­nis holds a 25 per­cent stake in the McLaren Tech­nol­ogy Group. Saudi busi­ness­man Man­sour Oj­jeh also holds 25 per­cent of the busi­ness, with the re­main­ing 50 per­cent in the hands of Bahrain sov­er­eign wealth fund Mum­ta­lakat.

"Ul­ti­mately it has be­come clear to me through this process that nei­ther TAG nor Mum­ta­lakat share my vi­sion for McLaren and its true growth po­ten­tial," said Den­nis, who has been in­volved with McLaren since 1980. "But my first con­cern is to the busi­ness I have built and to its 3,500 em­ploy­ees. I will con­tinue to use my sig­nif­i­cant share­hold­ing in both com­pa­nies and my seats on both boards to pro­tect the in­ter­ests and value of McLaren and help shape its fu­ture."

Den­nis stood down as McLaren team prin­ci­pal in 2009 but re­turned as chief ex­ec­u­tive five years later.

The English­man over­saw Ayr­ton Senna and Alain Prost's his­toric tus­sle for the ti­tle as McLaren driv­ers in 1988 and 1989 be­fore Mika Hakki­nen clinched back-to-back cham­pi­onships with the Wok­ing-based out­fit in 1998 and 1999. Hamilton also won his first ti­tle in only his sec­ond year in the sport as a McLaren driver back in 2008.

But the Bri­tish team's suc­cess has dried up in re­cent years, and their re­newed re­la­tion­ship with Ja­panese en­gine man­u­fac­turer Honda has failed to pro­vide a re­turn to win­ning ways. Fernando Alonso was only 10th at the re­cent Ja­panese Grand Prix while his team­mate Jen­son But­ton crossed the line in last po­si­tion.

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