Dennis ‘fine’ with defectors who don’t ‘bleed McLaren’

Ron Dennis has declared defiantly that McLaren can thrive without those who do not bleed ‘rocket red’ blood.

Still the ‘supremo’ of the entire company, Dennis declared this week that – with Martin Whitmarsh now in charge – he has now “moved on” from his F1-dedicated days.

But the Financial Times insists that Dennis, 65, is still firmly involved; consenting to Lewis Hamilton’s departure and now musing the potential loss of McLaren’s technical director Paddy Lowe, also to Mercedes.

Dennis would not comment specifically, except to emphasise his beliefs about loyalty.

“You cut yourself, you bleed McLaren,” he said.

“We’re about winning, we care about how we win … we want to win with the right principles, the right values.

“If people don’t want to be part of that and want to go and do different things, then fine.”

Referring to the proverb about grass being greener on the other side, Dennis continued: “(But) if they get the hosepipe and the lawnmower out, they can easily contribute to making the grass greener their side of the fence”.


Ron Dennis absent for Hamilton’s McLaren farewell

Ron Dennis did not attend a farewell party for Lewis Hamilton last week in Austin, and he will not be in Brazil for his former protege’s last race for McLaren. The news adds to the perception that Briton Hamilton – who was nurtured through his formative years by the McLaren supremo and brought into F1 in 2007 – has fallen out badly with Dennis over the 27-year-old’s Mercedes switch.

Referring to a farewell party in Austin last weekend, Daily Mail journalist Jonathan McEvoy wrote: “Dennis instead chose to attend what a team spokesman described as ‘an important cocktail reception hosted by Exxon Mobil executives at which he was guest of honour’.” But after Hamilton won the US grand prix, Dennis refused to wear McLaren’s customary ‘rocket-red’ victory t-shirt. And the 65-year-old “has decided not to travel to Sao Paulo for Hamilton’s farewell race”, McEvoy revealed.

Dennis said in Austin last week: “Obviously the media thinks there’s some issue between Lewis and I — there’s absolutely no issue between us. Sometimes the circumstances in a relationship don’t balance, don’t match,” he told the British broadcaster Sky.

But there are rumours Hamilton and Dennis fell out very badly over the negotiations for a new driving contract for 2013 and beyond.

“I do know what has happened,” an unnamed ‘senior figure’ told the Daily Mail. “Everyone makes mistakes and Ron made a mistake. Everything went pear-shaped and I don’t think it would be fair to say any more than that.”

A McLaren spokesman responded: “Ron and Lewis plan to get together socially in the near future, as they’ve both said a number of times recently.”


Hamilton says Dennis supports Mercedes switch

Ron Dennis is supportive of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes next year, the 2008 world champion insists.

Earlier, it was believed the pair were not even on speaking terms, with Dennis reportedly furious Hamilton had decided against staying with McLaren in 2013 despite his long connection with the famous British team. But it later emerged that they would meet for dinner ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi grand prix; the third-last in Hamilton’s McLaren career.

“We have spoken on the phone already,” Hamilton confirmed, according to the Mirror.

When asked about their recent problems, the 27-year-old answered: “Us? We didn’t have a problem before. He’s said it’s no problem, he said change is good for both of us and we will always have great history, which is the truth,” added Hamilton.

He insisted he does not feel guilty about leaving McLaren, agreeing that he has ‘repaid’ any ‘debt’ he might have owed the team for its long support.

“Yeah. I feel like I have,” said Hamilton. “How much and how far do you go? Listen, it’s not something I want get into, it’s absolutely insignificant. It doesn’t matter.

“We have won a world championship together, had an amazing journey together and I want to have a change and that’s going to happen. And I am happy about it. End of story,” said Hamilton.


Hamilton hits back after Dennis’ contract jibe

Lewis Hamilton looks set for a round of feisty negotiations with McLaren, after supremo Ron Dennis weighed back into the saga about the 2008 world champion’s new contract.

Dennis, formerly McLaren’s team boss but now the company’s executive chairman, sounded on Thursday as he though he is confident he has the upper hand in the talks about Hamilton’s 2013 deal.

“It’s a question of whether we employ him, not the other way around,” he told BBC radio.

When told about the jibe, Hamilton insisted that – on the one hand – he had not even seen Dennis’ comments. And on the other hand, “It has nothing to do with me particularly,” the 27-year-old Briton said. “Martin (Whitmarsh) is my boss.”

To seasoned paddock observers, the spat is regarded as little more than negotiating ploys designed to affect the eventual dollar figure on Hamilton’s deal. The five-week August break will be a good chance to end the saga.

“We are relaxed at the moment,” Hamilton said, also referring to his manager, Simon Fuller. “At some stage he will sit down and speak to me over the summer.”


Dennis pretty sure Hamilton will stay at McLaren

Ron Dennis has said he is pretty sure that Lewis Hamilton will stay at McLaren in 2013. However Dennis, who as team boss in 2007 brought the former world champion into F1 100 grands prix ago, took exception to the common view that it is 27-year-old Hamilton who is wielding the most powerful hand in the negotiations over his next contract.

“There’s no reason Lewis won’t be driving our cars in the future,” Dennis told BBC radio. “I think people get the wrong impression though, as when I last looked at the contract I was paying him. It’s a question of whether we employ him, not the other way around.

“But if things pan out the way I expect them to I’m pretty sure he will be sat in a McLaren next year.”


Dennis hints money at heart of new Hamilton deal

Ron Dennis has hinted the hold-up regarding a new contract for Lewis Hamilton is a disagreement about money.

The Montreal winner and new championship leader’s existing long-term deal runs out this year, but so far the two sides have been coy about the likelihood of a new contract for 2013 and beyond. McLaren, however, has hinted it definitely wants to keep the 2008 world champion, while 27-year-old Hamilton has hinted he wants to stay, triggering speculation the dispute is over the details of the new contract.

Dennis, McLaren’s executive chairman who was in Montreal on Sunday, suggested to Sky Sports that money is indeed a factor.

“He’s on the end of a contract which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat different and now there has to be a balance,” he said.

Asked if that means a pay-cut for Hamilton, Dennis answered: “He’s very highly paid. He’s certainly paid more than I am!”

Hamilton has been linked with moves to Red Bull and Mercedes, and Dennis confirmed that McLaren also needs to look at its options on the driver market.

“You’re obviously going to look at what’s available; where can he go – he’s going to look at that – (and) we’re going to look at who’s available,” he said. “At the end of the day, hopefully, the fact that he’s been part of this team from the beginning of his career will pay a significant role in whatever decisions both sides make.”


Lewis Hamilton Fails To Win Dream Car

Lewis Hamilton McLaren F1 LMLewis Hamilton may have secured the 2008 F1 Drivers’ Title on Sunday, but he narrowly missed out on winning his dream car, the McLaren F1 LM.

In March, The Sun newspaper reported that Ron Dennis had promised Lewis the factories own car, on the basis he won both World Championships.

At the time, Hamilton explained that owning a McLaren F1 had been a childhood dream. “The LM has always been my ultimate dream car since I first saw it when I was 13. When I first went to McLaren it was there and I fell in love with it. There are only five LMs in existence and the normal ones the GTR are worth around £1 million so the LM must be double that.”

However, all is not lost for Hamilton. Should he pick up another two titles he can still win the car, based upon an agreement he made when he first joined the team.

“I want to win this car, I want to get this car off Ron. I will definitely work as hard as I can to get to number three,” stated Hamilton, having won title number one. “We made a deal: three world championships and it’s mine.”

“It s a car that I ve always wanted. I got a car book, a nice book for Christmas years and years ago when I was about 10, and it had the orange McLaren F1 LM on the front of it. It was my dream car then. Then I got signed up by McLaren, I went to the factory and saw it and ever since I ve gazed at it every time I ve walked past it.”

“Still today, it s the only car I ever really stop by apart from Ayrton’s 1989 car. I stop by it and I always open it up and just smell it – carbon, fresh, new. It s No 1 out of five and the most expensive and beautiful car in the whole world. It s the one that I want.”

The LM spec McLaren was created to mark the McLaren F1 GTR s victory at Le Mans 24 Hour in 1995. The car, with it’s V12 engine, accelerates to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. With just five examples in existance, the rare car is estimated to be worth several million pounds.

‘We will be competitive,’ asserts relieved Dennis

McLaren SingaporeA relieved Ron Dennis warned that McLaren will be competitive in Sunday’s historic Singapore Grand Prix, despite being outclassed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in qualifying.

The McLaren team principal could do little more than watch and wait in the second qualifying session as Lewis Hamilton battled to escape elimination after making a mistake on his first flying lap.

“After I ran wide in the second part of qualifying I decided to play it safe on the one remaining run,” explained the British ace, “At the last sector I was really fast, but I still have to improve in the first two sectors; particularly at turn five I lost a bit of time.”

The Briton scraped through into Q3 by a mere tenth of a second where he hustled his McLaren onto the front row of the grid, albeit a full half a second behind Felipe Massa.

“That was a pretty stressful qualifying hour!” exclaimed Ron Dennis after the ordeal was over. “Lewis was hampered by a yellow flag on one of his runs and by traffic on another, which made things a little too close for comfort in the second session, but then did a very good job in the final session.”

Dennis also hinted that McLaren have adopted a competitive fuel strategy with Hamilton: the 61-year-old was quick to point out that Singapore’s long three mile street track carries a hefty fuel weight penalty, and he seemed happy with Hamilton’s performance in light of this.

“It’s all about race strategy,” he said. “Fuel weight is a very significant factor in terms of lap time on this circuit, so let’s just say that we’re looking forward to a close and competitive race tomorrow.”

“Fantastic” Singapore GP gets the thumbs up from Ron

Singapore 6Ron Dennis has given the stunning new Singapore street circuit a firm seal of approval.

The Singapore Grand Prix has been on the cards for almost twenty years, but it was only recently decided that it would also become the first ever night race after Bernie Ecclestone successfully pitched the idea to the team bosses and race director Charlie Whiting.

“Along with everyone at McLaren Mercedes, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Singaporean government, and to Bernie Ecclestone, and to everyone else who has made this event possible,” said Dennis after opening practice.

“It’s a fantastic circuit, and the added attraction of racing under floodlights has been very well achieved,” added the McLaren Team Principal.

“It feels a little strange to be at the circuit so late, well past midnight in fact, but overall I would describe the advent of night-time grand prix racing as an excellent new development in the ongoing history of Formula 1.”

The cars ran in anger around the sweeping Marina Bay street circuit for the first time on Friday under the illumination of some 1,600 light projectors, and the breathtaking backdrop of Singapore’s night sky.

“Atmospherically probably the best pictures ever seen in Formula 1,” commented Ron Dennis’ opposite number at Mercedes-Benz, Norbert Haug.

“Here the World Championship does in my view a step forward and interested viewers from all over the world will recognise it in the international television broadcasts.”

“On the track our first day was okay with good laptimes during our planned Friday programme. Compliments to the organisers, the FOM and Bernie for making this remarkable event happen.”

Dennis: Mercedes won’t take over McLaren

Ron Dennis on the pit wallRon Dennis has ruled out German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz taking control over the McLaren team in the near future. There have been persistent rumours around the F1 paddock that Mercedes-Benz are looking to increase the 40 percent shareholding that they currently have in the team however Dennis has said that the manufacturer are happy with the current setup and are not planning to make increase their stake in the F1 team.

When asked by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera whether Mercedes were looking to increase their stake in the team, Dennis replied, “No I don t see the point. Things are fine as they are. Each year, we discuss our plans together and we are agree on everything.”

Dennis has also revealed that despite contemplating retiring or decreasing his involvement with the sport at the end of the season, he will not be changing his current role.

“In early 2007 I was thinking of becoming less involved in the races. Then what happened, happened, and I didn t want to leave on those terms. Sooner or later something will change because I have other things planned. But I will not give up the team totally I ll just change my role in the team. McLaren is in my blood, and I am not an employee so no-one can fire me!”