Dennis to part ways marking end of era
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.