Ron Dennis & Lewis Hamilton Receive Palm D'Or Awards
The McLaren boss (still) received the award during the opening ceremony of the International Automobile Festival, held at the Paris-Hotel National des Invalides this week. However, Dennis was not the only McLaren representative present to the ceremony, as reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was also handed a Palm D'Or award of his own following his impressive performances in Formula 1 through 2008.
The two McLaren members will therefore join notable motorsport figures that have been awarded the Palm D'Or in the past, including Alain Prost (1997), Michael Schumacher (2003), Renault's Carlos Ghosn (2004), Edouard Michelin (2005) and Luca di Montezemolo (2007).
Having guided Team McLaren's footsteps in Formula One from the early 1980s, Dennis has already announced his retirement as company's CEO and chairman last month. His decision is to become effective from as early as March 1st – the very start of the Formula 1 season, in Australia – as Dennis will be replaced at the helm of McLaren-Mercedes by Martin Whitmarsh.
Hamilton, on the other hand, will try to defend his Formula 1 title having a new team manager by his side in 2009. Last year, the Brit became the only black driver to win the Formula 1 title in the history of the sport, while also the youngest. In late 2008, Hamilton also joined Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss as the only British drivers to have been awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.