Ron Dennis Steps Down as McLaren CEO
Although he was expected to make a final decision – whether to continue to be part of team's F1 operations or not – until after the FIA hearing on April 29th, Dennis today announced he has already handed all his CEO responsibilities to new team principal Martin Whitmarsh. He will now focus all his attention to running sports car independent company McLaren Automotive.
“I passed the role of Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to Martin Whitmarsh on January 16th, the day of the launch of our new Formula 1 car. That day I was asked many times whether I would attend the 2009 Australian Grand Prix. My answer was 'yes'. I duly attended it - albeit not as the person in charge of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. It was, I admit, a strange feeling,” said Dennis.
“The next race, the Malaysian Grand Prix, I watched on TV in the UK – an activity I found surprisingly easy. I'd expected to be more emotional about it, after an unbroken run of attending so many grands prix for so many years. Equally, I was the architect of today's restructure of the McLaren Group. It was my decision,” added the former McLaren boss, who also made a short referral to long-time F1 rivals Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.
“I admit I'm not always easy to get on with. I admit I've always fought hard for McLaren in Formula 1. I doubt if Max Mosley or Bernie Ecclestone will be displeased by my decision. But no one asked me to do it. It was my decision,” insisted Dennis.
In addition, he expressed no regrets over leaving the entire F1 operations in the hands of fellow countryman Martin Whitmarsh.
“I feel enormously enthused about the prospects for the McLaren Group and for McLaren Automotive, and have no qualms about leaving Martin to report to the board regarding matters connected with Formula 1,” concluded Dennis.
Dennis will be joined at McLaren Automotive by Richard Lapthorne, who'll take on new roles of Non Executive Chairman of the McLaren Group and a Non Executive Director of McLaren Automotive.