Ron Dennis has vowed to work even harder to promote and grow the McLaren group despite announcing today that he will relinquish his role as Team Principal.
McLaren-Mercedes unveiled their new car, the MP4-24, in Woking today, but the launch was overshadowed by Ron Dennis’ decision to handover team responsibilities to McLaren’s Chief Operating Officer, Martin Whitmarsh, a change which will take effect on March 1, before the start of the new season.
Dennis, who has been the architect of McLaren’s success for almost three decades, insists that he is not retiring however and will continue to build the McLaren group in his capacity as Executive Chairman.
“Let me make one thing clear: this is very definitely not retirement,” Forumula1.com heard him say at the launch. “In fact, I intend to work even harder from now on.”
“It’s because I intend to work even harder that I’ve decided to pass the role of Team Principal of McLaren Mercedes to Martin. In any case, this announcement won’t change a great deal because, in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Group, Martin and I already jointly take all the major decisions that affect this company.”
“What today’s decision means is that Martin will now become solely responsible for the performance of McLaren Mercedes and will be entrusted to ensure the team remains a competitive force in Formula 1 motor racing.”
“As for myself, I will continue to expand and develop my role as McLaren Group Chairman and still intend to go to some, but not all, Grands Prix because I remain a diehard enthusiast. Motor racing is in my blood – and nothing will dilute my passion for either the sport or the success of this company.”
Martin Whitmarsh paid tribute to Dennis’ contribution to the team and said he was excited about stepping into the new role.
“Ron and I have had many discussions about this over the past few weeks and months, but eventually it became clear that Ron’s decision was final. Everyone knows what an incredible career Ron has had to date; his legacy is huge.
Whitmarsh added that he hoped to continue to work with Dennis having spent the last 15 years building McLaren into one of Formula One’s leading powerhouses.
“As such, I remain hugely mindful of the responsibilities I assume as team principal – it’s a daunting yet exciting prospect. Despite today’s announcement, I hope we will still continue to work as closely together as before.”