Hamilton not worried by Dennis’ side step

Lewis Hamilton is adamant that McLaren will remain as strong as ever in the wake of Ron Dennis’ decision to relinquish his role as Team Principal.

Dennis announced today at the launch of McLaren’s new car that he will hand over team responsibilities to Martin Whitmarsh in March and take up a less hands-on role as Executive Chairman.

Hamilton, who has been guided by Dennis throughout his career, paid tribute to the 61-year-old’s legacy.

“Ron is a huge part of the team,” Forumula1.com heard him say to the assembled media at McLaren’s launch in Woking. “He has got racing in his blood, so he will never leave the team.”

“He will always play a part, whenever he steps down and chooses to play a more quiet role in the background. I am sure he will do something like that.”

Despite acknowledging the personal bond between himself and Dennis, Hamilton, who famously asked the McLaren chief for a drive when he was just ten, expects the team to be every bit as strong under its new Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh.

“I will always remain close to him (Ron),” he said. “I’ve known him see I was 10-year-old. We have a great relationship, and he has made a huge impact on my life and he still does today.”

“We are great friends. The great thing is we have got great people in the team. It is a huge team, and we are very powerful together. It is not as if when he steps down we are going to struggle. We are very, very fortunate that we will stay a strong team.”