Dennis: Hamilton Knew About My Retirement

Ron Dennis revealed that he has informed Lewis Hamilton that he is to step down as team principal for McLaren Mercedes team. He said the two had a discussion in late 2008, when Dennis told his protege that he plans to retire from his position within the team. Apparently, he only failed to mention when exactly that will happen.

“After the BBC Sports Review of the Year programme was filmed in Liverpool on the evening of Sunday December 14, Lewis and I flew to Washington DC to visit ExxonMobil, one of McLaren's principal partners. On the flight we spoke openly, as we always do, and I went through my plans with him in minute detail. So he was fully aware of Martin's and my plans,” said Dennis.

“The only aspect Lewis may not have been fully aware of in advance was the exact timing of my announcement, because when he and I spoke together on the plane I didn't tell him I was going to go public on the day we'd be launching the MP4-24,” added the now-former McLaren principal.

Shortly after the unveiling of the MP4-24 last Friday, Hamilton revealed that Dennis' announcement had taken him by surprise. However, he insisted McLaren Mercedes does not stand only on one man and that he is confident the team will keep progressing in the championship even after the “Dennis era”.

“I only heard Ron was standing down a couple of minutes before he announced his decision. The team have never been just Ron, as he says himself. The foundations are here for the team to have a sustained period of dominance,” commented Hamilton for the Daily Mail.

Dennis will be replaced as team principal of McLaren Mercedes by company's CEO Martin Whitmarsh. However, the 61-year old Englishman insisted he will not abandon ship before the start of the new season, as he will take on another role within the organization for the future.
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