Den­nis to part ways mark­ing end of era

The National - News - Sport - - TENNIS -

LON­DON // Ron Den­nis, the chair­man of McLaren’s For­mula One team and sep­a­rate sports car­maker, will step down from his role at the brand and sell his shares, end­ing a 37-year re­la­tion­ship which soured re­cently along­side race-track fail­ings.

McLaren, val­ued at £2.4 bil­lion (Dh11.4bn), have not won a grand prix since 2012 and are last in the 10-team cham­pi­onship this year af­ter em­bark­ing on a trou­bled part­ner­ship with their for­mer en­gine sup­plier Honda.

“I am very pleased to have reached agree­ment with my fel­low McLaren share­hold­ers,” Den­nis said.

“It rep­re­sents a fit­ting end to my time at McLaren, and will en­able me to fo­cus on my other in­ter­ests.

“I have al­ways said that my 37 years at Wok­ing should be con­sid­ered as a chap­ter in the McLaren book, and I wish McLaren ev­ery suc­cess as it takes the story for­ward.”

Den­nis was ousted as McLaren chief ex­ec­u­tive in Novem­ber when the ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers put him on gar­den­ing leave af­ter reports he backed a Chinese takeover bid that other in­vestors op­posed. Den­nis, who trans­formed McLaren into one of F1’s most suc­cess­ful teams, has been among the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in the pad­dock for the past four decades. He over­saw Ayr­ton Senna and Alain Prost’s his­toric tus­sle for the ti­tle as McLaren driv­ers in 1988 and 1989 be­fore Fin­nish driver Mika Hakki­nen clinched back-to­back 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 been dis­as­trous. Mean­while, the fu­ture of their star driver Fer­nando Alonso, out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son, is also in doubt.

McLaren said it will com­bine its track rac­ing busi­ness and sep­a­rate sports car­maker, set up in 2010 to ri­val the likes of As­ton Martin, into a new hold­ing com­pany in a bid to use its col­lec­tive tech­nol­ogy and brand­ing for both firms.

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