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Dennis quits, but what will be the effect?
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Dennis quits, but what will be the effect?
Posted By:   |  16 Apr 2009   |  1:41 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Ron Dennis announced today that he is stepping down as CEO and chairman of McLaren Group and has walked away from all racing activities, a decision he says is unconnected with the team’s current disciplinary problems and which he reached alone.

He will head McLaren Automotive, making road cars, a business which later this year will be spun off from the McLaren Group. He has said he wants to double the company’s value in the next five years. The new chairman of McLaren is Richard Lapthorne, the current chairman of Cable and Wireless Plc. Dennis and Whitmarsh will both report to him.

Dennis says that he found it easier to miss the Malaysian Grand Prix than he had expected and so he has no qualms about relinquishing all control of the McLaren Group business to Lapthorne and full control of the racing team to Martin Whitmarsh, to whom he bequeathed the team principal role on March 1.

There has been widespread speculation about the timing and motive for this move. Dennis has categorically denied that it has anything to do with the Melbourne ‘liargate’ scandal and the FIA hearing on April 29th. It is being presented as Ron’s own work, not the result of a back room deal with Max Mosley, nor of a power play by Anthony Hamilton.

I posted yesterday that he was most likely making this move hoping that it would give the team the best possible chance of escaping exclusion from this championship. McLaren were fined £50 million and lost their constructors’ championship points barely 18 months ago and thus go into a second trial over issues of honesty on April 29th with some trepidation. What is the next stage in punishment, if you are proved to be a serial offender, after a £50 million fine and loss of constructors’ points?

Dennis is the kind of man who likes to be central to things and to take control of a situation and so if this move is not linked to their current problems, it seems odd that he should seek to move away from F1 at a time when strong leadership and experience are most needed.

It is quite plausible that he thinks that by stepping away from the team now, drawing the sting, if you will, that the team will escape the kind of punishment which might cause it’s very existence to come into question, such as exclusion from the 2009 season. I still don’t believe that this will happen, but if it did, it would rupture the relationship with many of the sponsors and would test the resolve of 40% shareholder Mercedes.

So will Ron’s move effect the outcome? The FIA world council on April 29th is seeking to uncover the facts of what happened after the race in Melbourne when sporting director Dave Ryan and Lewis Hamilton deliberately misled the stewards. Whitmarsh said in the press conference on Friday in Sepang that no-one more senior than Ryan was involved at any stage in this plot.

The WMSC will seek to discover if this truly is the case and whether Dennis or Whitmarsh was involved at any stage. Other team principals I have spoken to say it is hard to believe that Ryan would have been sent in an hour after the race without any briefing from Dennis or Whitmarsh, it’s just not how things are done, especially as Whitmarsh had appeared on TV after the race talking about the significance of the stewards’ enquiry.

Some commentators also see the hand of Lewis’ father, Anthony Hamilton in this departure. It is no secret that he spoke several times to Max Mosley over the course of the Malaysian GP weekend and his anger at the way the team allowed the situation to unfold around, and damage, his son was clear. I’m fairly sure he put pressure on the team to agree for Whitmarsh to issue the full apology in that Friday press conference in Sepang and he was instrumental in briefing Lewis what to say in his own press meeting shortly afterwards.

But does he have the clout to force Dennis to step down from the team in which he still retains a 15% shareholding? Did Anthony remove the man who had nurtured Lewis since he was 13 years old and gave him his opportunity in F1?

As world champion and F1′s biggest box office draw, Lewis Hamilton has significant power, but I can’t see that it is sufficient on its own to bring a move like this about.

I think this is a tactical play. Dennis knew in 2007 that if he fell on his sword and walked away the spy scandal would have a less painful ending, but he chose not to do that. Perhaps his reading of the situation now is that this is the only way to avoid obliteration for the team. If so it rather suggests that he believes his role will be uncovered on April 29th and he’s positioning himself and the team for that.

But I don’t know whether it is like that this time. I don’t know whether walking away and saying ‘Max and Bernie will not be displeased to see me go’ covers it. If Whitmarsh was involved in briefing Ryan and Hamilton he will still have to face the music and there is also the question of whether Dennis walking away really means an end to the saga as far as McLaren are concerned.

There is more to come from this.

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  1. Dave R says:

    I think there is also an element of RD trying to protect MW’s role.
    With RD only just handing the helm of Mclaren over to MW, the impact of MW losing his job would just be too high for the team. Who would they turn to when RD has moulded him for the job over so many years?
    This must have played quite a significant part in RD’s decision.

  2. P byrne says:

    Good analysis.

    I think Ron would have liked to postpone this decision for another year or two but the writings on the wall for his tenure in F1.

    It is scary how Mosley has bounced back from an apparently hopeless dilemma last year to now be holding the sword over Dennis’ life’s work. How did it get to this?

    Even scarier is Anthony Hamilton’s apparent role in biting the hand that bankrolled his son to superstardom. Remember it was him that went running to Ron’s sworn enemy in the first place! No matter how quick Lewis is who would want this disruptive influence in their team? Time for lewis to employ Martin Brundle or someone with a more detatched and professional approach.

    I rooted for McLaren back in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Poor old Hakkinen with his big harmless head was such a McLaren die-hard.

    Alas those were simpler times!

  3. Glen D says:

    Very interesting to see how big a part Anthony Hamilton may have played in this. I can imagine his displeasure, anger, rage, annoyance , Whatever word you want to use, with McLaren for putting Lewis in this siuation.
    However Lewis was a little naive in going along with the lie certainly when the game was up and they heard the radio evidence.
    I would be very surprised if McLaren were removed from the championship. World champion sitting on the sidelines?? It just could not happen…could it?

  4. Paul W says:

    I always thought that Max should be careful what he wished for, and now his dreams are starting to come true.
    He has finally managed to drive Ron out of F1 with goodness knows what threat hanging over the team and livelyhoods of those that work at McLaren.
    I really think that these are dark days for F1, when legends such as Ron Dennis are forced to depart in less than auspicious circumstances.
    F1 is entertainment, pure and simple and all this serious “cheating” talk is laughable to anybody that knows F1. Er…what about the rather flexible Toyota wings – “back of the grid lads…..” Ooops McLaren were economical with the facts – and all hell breaks loose. Of course F1 is normally such a bastion of fair play, honesty and even handedness……
    I just hope that the team can survive the next $100m fine.

  5. Scott Brown says:

    I though he stepped down a while ago, the end of Februrary in fact (http://allenonf1.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/why-it-was-time-for-ron-dennis-to-stop/).

    I won’t miss him myself. I know he’s done a lot for the sport in the past and made McLaren the success they are but he also painted the corporation with a kind of boring ‘corporateness’ not found in other constructors.

    Maybe this will be the beginning of a new McLaren – one that lends itself to being more extrovert. It can only improve their public image, currently.

  6. Alan says:

    A very sad day for true F1 fans and Mr Ron Dennis who has played a very important part in building F1 into the most exciting sport in the world. I for one say thank you Mr Dennis for all the brilliant sporting entertainment you have helped true F1 fans enjoy all over the world. Thanks.

  7. BobhereintheUS says:

    Timing of this is highly unusual, why would you announce your leaving right before a big meeting with the FIA with the accusation that they lied to the Race Stewarts?

    My only thought would be that he wants to grab some sort of positive press before all the negative press/facts comes out about his part in this new scandal.

    Oh and I wonder if Mr. Dave Ryan going to be hired somewhere down the line by McClaren Automotive?? This may have eventually been the plan altogether right?

    Bob in US

  8. Kirk says:

    Bye bye Ron. Shame it had to be done this way… what a mess eh.

    You know, this season has everything to be one of the most open and competitive in years – and beating 2008 wouldn’t be easy as that was excellent – and yet F1 keeps shooting itself on the foot with these pathetic behind-the-scenes stories.

    Gold medals, pointless and expensive KERS, DDD saga, McLaren liegate, twilight interrupted races, FIA stewards changing the results every 5 minutes, Max/Bernie shenanigans, new GPs being held in the middle of nowhere etc… frankly it’s probably less stressful to watch Eastenders or some other poxy sopa opera than read the F1 news stories.

    Why can’t they just go back to basics, keep things simple, professional and straight forward? It’s just sad to see the sport we all enjoy on the news for all the wrong reasons almost every single day of 2009…

    We just want to see F1 racing on the track, with teams and drivers giving their all on a level and fair playing field. No more, no less!!!

  9. RichardM says:

    I was wondering whether if Ron is no longer involved with the racing side of the team could he be called up by the WMSC?

    If not then that could be another reason for leaving? I’m sure that may have been part of the reason that Dave Ryan left the team.

    By the way James, love the blog, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us all!

  10. aozinsky says:

    Hi James

    Super blog and good bit on Talksport earlier.
    Please explain how this liargate differs from MS at Monaco Quali 2006…he said he stalled, the stewards said he didn’t.

  11. Mark says:

    Whatever the reasons behind today’s announcement, today is a very sad day for Formula One.

  12. Paul says:

    Good analysis, well written. Have to say I was skeptical when I first saw the blog, but the standard has been excellent – I guess that ITV force the analysis and complexities to be dumbed down for broadcast…

    Keep it up ! :-)

  13. Graeme says:

    So is this restructure to enable Mercedes to take over the racing team? According to the McLaren press release, McLaren Automotive is to be split off as a separate entity that will move to new premises in the UK. What is left behind at Woking is McLaren Racing and the group companies that are directly associated with the running of the race team (marketing, catering, systems etc.)

  14. Andy says:

    Does Dennis walking away mean that, like Ryan, he is not answerable to The FIA?

  15. Our reading is that a major player in F1 currently sees its involvement in the sport as too risky to form the central plank of its business activities – whether for reasons connected with its poor relationship with the FIA or because of the wider economic circumstances.

    Which should make us all, as F1 fans, pretty concerned about the sport’s future viability, rather than getting distracted by the Hamilton soap opera from the more important issues.

    McLaren seems to be diversifying out of racing and into production cars, a business model that is more like, say, Ferrari’s. It’s hard to see how plans on this scale, including the recruitment of Richard Lapthorne could have been put in place in anything under six months.

    Mind you, as Top Gear is pointing out, it is set to be a gorgeous car that Ron’s turning his attention to. If we can’t watch McLaren race, at least we can aspire to the ride…

    More on our take here: http://tinyurl.com/c27vq7

  16. Sea Dog says:

    I have supported Mclaren off and on over the years, swapping between them and Williams. Might make me sound shallow but at least they both be British-ish.

    I feel it could be a good time for RD to step down leaving him with a WDC in his last season, despite FIA freezing some of their development areas. After pouring heart and soul into racing he doesn’t deserve to bow out being mired in spurious politics.

    Love Mclaren or not they do mostly seem on top of the FIA’s hit list.

    Love or loath him, and most of us do alternate, RD has played a significant role in the history of F1.

    Go build some cars Ron and have some fun, thanks for making the sport what it is, or would have been had not Bernie, Max and the FIA screwed it all up again.

    Just dont make the cars too expensive, I think I may well want one!

  17. damianbyrne says:

    To me, this looks very much like the hand of messrs. Mosley and Ecclestone. If you look at the history; the proposed breakaway series, spygate, FOTA, even the Mosley scandal, which some believed was a set-up, there’s always been a power struggle between Dennis on the one side and Mosley/Eccelestone on the other. Something/someone had to give. Both Mosley and Dennis had survived recent scandals.
    I think this latest episode has given Mosley the opportunity he’s been waiting for, especially since Dennis didn’t resign after ‘spygate’, and this smacks of a deal.
    I think Dennis, to use a rather apt term, was made an offer he couldn’t refuse, namely, leave and save the team or stay and sink with it. If not made directly, then certainly implied.
    With ‘liargate’ Dennis has handed himself up on a plate.

    At the end of the day however, history will judge Dennis on the brilliant job he did with Mclaren; creating the blueprint for the modern F1 team, countless drivers and constructors championships, wonderful memories of great drivers, particularly Hunt, Prost and Senna and the evocative red and white cars. Not forgetting the few hundred millon quid he made along the way. Not bad for a one-time mechanic.

  18. Merlew says:

    Despite being a lifelong Ferrari fan F1 won’t be the same without Ron and in the unlikely event he reads this good luck with the road car project. I disagree with my other right honourable contributors about the negative effect of Ron imposing a corporate hold on McLaren. Although it’s undoubtedly he’s always brought some “Dilbert Magic” to F1 with some added warmth and true racing passion. I’ll always remember the “up close” piece done on Ron by ITV in the past few years showing him hoovering the carpet and going to the workshop to check the spanners were lined up neatly. As a manic obsessive boss myself I feel vindicated (if not especially proud) and if the UK had more corporate figures like Ron in charge of companies (or better still public sector bodies)then UK Plc may well be in a better state than it is now.

    Bring on Malaysia! Wouldn’t be surprised to see Nico up front again!

  19. Steve Rodgers says:

    Ryan, Dennis….Whitmarsh…Hamilton???

    Would the last McLaren employee please turn the lights off before leaving the building?

  20. jon says:

    Good luck Ron – you’ve done an amazing job and i for one, do not think your career is tarnished

    Now its time for Maclaren road cars to start stripping sales of Ferrari

    Ron’s revenge will be sweeter than anything tasted before!

    Once i’ve saved my £200K plus, then i’ll be down to Woking for my new motor!

  21. Alastair says:

    I personally believe the Hamiltons dont have anough clout to be behind any of this.

    I believe RD is happy for the media to think this, as he lines himself up for the presidency of the FIA.. what better way to punish mosely (other than the obvious ;-)

  22. rpaco says:

    Ron may be leaving in despair that old fashioned loyalty has been twisted and betrayed, fashioned into a dagger and plunged into his back.

    Ironic that loyalty to the team that has financed and moulded him and made him WD Champion was also responsible for making Lewis commit a huge error.

    Betrayal too, if the reported facts are correct, by Anthony Hamilton who is beholden to Ron for his current lifestyle on the back of his son. I would hope that the above is not true, but no doubt Max will delight in confirmation sooner rather than later

    If not Ron, would another team have invested all the money and more pertinently, the time and care and guidance in young Lewis? Not in the same manner I think. Or would Ron have picked another talented driver from junior karting and been able to achieve the same results?

    From now things will not be the same in F1. With Ron gone we are without one of it’s greatest team leaders ever. He will be missed.
    But the “sport” is changing too, we have already lost the original quest for innovation and engineering extremism are moving toward homogenised vehicles and attacking innovation as a bad thing and the increasing use of the sport’s equivalent of litigation is going to make a mockery of the racing, as it has already started to.

    The lifting of rules next year to allow free flaps and infinite KERS will bring back some competitive edge, but with it, design problems which will need massive funds to solve, sadly these will not be allowed, thus take up of the new possibilities will be slow. Only by developing next years cars now with no budget cap can there be any hope of producing what is required to compete with a future budget cap. (Thus effectively negating the cap for the first year. Future years will no doubt be spent mainly in the WSC court listening to forensic accountants)

    So maybe Ron has the right idea in choosing to go now. (if he did)

  23. Anthony says:

    This situation between the FIA and McLaren has become totally out hand. Yes McLaren and Lewis Hamilton were well out of order lying to the stewards but enough is enough. Max Mosley and the FIA should not have the power to impose fines of $100 million, or force team principals to go. There have been so many instances of other F1 teams spying, cheating and lying without serious penalty, perhaps the way to proceed is to take the FIA to the European courts and sue for all their money back and prevent them from trying to put them out of business. Frankly Max Mosley and his FIA cronies are bringing F1 in to disrepute.

  24. AMS says:

    ‘Max and Bernie will not be displeased to see me go’… that is true but Ron will be missed. He was a real racer one and his retirement leaves Old Papa Frank as the last of the mohicans.

  25. Nick Lynn says:

    It occurs to me that as much as the FIA will impose yet another disproportionate penalty on McLaren, there surely must come a point when Mercedes McLaren might be able to claim restraint of trade. Punishing is one thing; seeking to destroy or bankrupt a team is something else.

  26. JEFF says:

    i really wish the media would start to look at the way the fia does its business.
    for goodness sakes, of course word came from the fia that things would be much easier for mclaren on 29 april if dennis was no longer involved. whitmarsh has only met the new chairmen once….get real, this is deals done in smoke filled room.
    rather than making alegations about who may have briefed ryan before the stewards meeting…which by the way you have absolutely no evidence for whatsoever….how about you really put the same kind of scrutiny on the terrible twins.

  27. Peter says:

    It is sad to see an enigmatic person such as Ron Dennis to leaving and being replaced by someone who hasn’t got racing or automotive background. F1 is F1 because of certain people, brands, circuits with racing heritage. That is what gives value to the sport. Without these “brand values” F1 will be just a motor sport category. Hope they are aware of that, FIA certainly is not at the moment.

  28. Leo Allen says:

    I have a naive question.

    With regard to the speculation about the reasons for the prwemature departure of Ron Dennis….

    What has the internal workings of ANY F1 team got to do with the FIA or WMSC ? The fact that a team attempted to mislead F1 stewards on two occasions over an incident in a race and has been admitted as such by that team surelymakes this an open and shut case.

    The external effects of that team’s attempts to get away with a lie are known. What more can possibly be gained by further inquisition ?

    Or is infinite Inquisition of itself required to exacerbate and multiply the painof any eventual punishment ? Waterboarding by other means.

    How teams arrive at internal decisions about external events is surely their own business and nobody elses.
    If what they decide gets them into hot water, the buck stops at the bosses desk, surely ?

  29. Peter says:

    And all of this has started with Trulli running off track for a couple of second….Haven’t we got a bit too far?

  30. Joe says:

    I went to the Sid Watkins lecture at the Autosport International…how things have changed.

    Ron was asked at the time whether he was going to retire I thought after the Ferrari saga Mclaren and Ron were going to recover. Obviously not.

    Will be interesting now the Mclaren Production car project kicks off…I guess watch this space and anything can happen

    I also see Mclaren are using Twitter perhaps that will help them get their facts straight ;)

  31. virtualmark says:

    There’s been speculation that Ron Dennis would re-focus his attention on McLaren’s road car business for a few months now, certainly since before the recent hearings with the FIA. It seems McLaren want to build up a broader range of road cars than the dabbles with the F1 and SLR, and I wonder if that isn’t something Ron sees as a new challenge that’s more stimulating than battling Max & Bernie for another year.

    I’d be very surprised if Ron’s hand had been forced by Anthony Hamilton. Ron didn’t get to where he is by being a cuddly teddy bear, and I’d expect that if Anthony had tried to engineer a putsch then Ron would have quick to remind him just who was the employee and who was the employer.

    Personally I think this is a move long planned by Ron, with the first moves seen with Whitmarsh’s appointment to head the race team. Sure, Ron’s smart enough to see it might help with the FIA if he clearly steps away. But even then I think Max is such a vindictive bastard that it won’t change much for him.

    I also think that if the FIA take too hard a line with McLaren here (like another swinging fine) then they’re likely to reinforce the FOTA group. All the manufacturers will see any harsh measures as just more reason to be lords of their own destiny and get away from Max & Bernie’s capriciousness. Hitting McLaren too hard here could be an own goal for the two old men.

  32. Nik says:

    Yes one has to wonder how Renault escaped from their own spygate with no punishment yet McLaren will likely be punished again and severely for twisting the truth in a stewards meeting.

    I don’t like to jump on the “FIA are out to get McLaren” bandwagon but when you look at the evidence it’s hard to say that is not what is going on.
    Without a doubt McLaren have left themselves open to this kind of treatment but to see the name of Formula One’s second most successful team being dragged through the mud on a weekly basis is a sad state of affairs.
    It has already been shown that the FIA have lied to get McLaren punished (the Tony Scott Andrews incident) and Whiting’s decisions have proven to be irrelevant when McLaren are involved. We have a man who helps make decisions in the stewards room who insisted that Loeb shave his beard.

    The “bringing the sport into disrepute” charge has become common reference where McLaren are involved, yet the FIA are doing far worse than anything McLaren have done.
    Letting the results of Grand Prix’s remain open to change for weeks is a shocking way of doing business for such a high profile sport.

    Let us not forget the Mosley scandal. Anyone else in a business situation with such public scruples as that man would have been long gone, with his tail between his legs. Yet here we are with Max still in charge, and in my view out to get (and apparently successfully) Ron Dennis for getting his escapades out into the public arena.

    Almost without exception all political parties become stale after 6-9 years, people end up too comfortable in their jobs, and they think they know what the people they are governing want better than said people. Max’s little adventure was stale a long time ago.

    As for Anthony Hamilton, if what has been said is true then Lewis needs to kick him into touch as far as a managerial role is concerned. We’ve seen with Jacques Villeneuve what happens when you let someone who you are personally close to run your career. They will ruin it. For someone to turn their back on the team that got them to where they are so quickly shows a complete lack of moral character. Let us not forget they turned to Williams when Dennis made a decision they didn’t like when Lewis was on the up. If Anthony Hamilton thinks the Hamilton brand is bigger than the team he has a shock coming. No one is indispensable.
    For me it’s not dissimilar to joining the armed forces. You can’t expect someone to pay your way for years and then leave before you’ve paid your dues.

  33. Paul says:

    Good luck to Ron for all his life time achievments in F1, people tend to forget the very few negatives over time, and will only remember the good things that you have done for our sport.

    I get the feeling though that you will have the last laugh?

    I hope so!!

  34. Martin P says:

    The “back story” for me in all this is Anthony Hamilton and driver management. Is he wise to get so close to Max at the expense of Ron Dennis & McLaren, or is it a school-boy error of the type a Weber, Briatore or even Brundle would never make?

    I can’t help thinking Hamilton Snr draws too many parallels with Schumacher. There was no real competition to Schumacher – he was the single most important star in F1 and this allowed both he and his management to “push the envelope” in many ways. But Hamilton, despite his talent and achievements, could find himself eclipsed by Vettel, Kubica or even Button and Buemi within a couple of years unless he has a wise head guiding him.

    Maybe the real change of personnel needed is his manager?

  35. Paddleshift says:

    I beginning to get the feeling that we are all wrong about McLaren’s situation. It takes more than a highly organised team to bring an upgrade to the car which was legalised just two days ago ( they have an interim diffuser now). Yes, McLaren was in trouble two weeks ago, but they have taken advantage of the trouble other teams are having and are now capitalising. Ron is surely the mastermind behind all this, he would not leave something he loved and cared for so long just because of a potential penalty. I’m sure he’s still the one pulling the strings, albeit invisibly.

  36. Peter Freeman says:

    James I think the ‘decisions’ from these hearings are decided outside the ‘hearing’, be it a WMC or ICA or what ever name they wish to give the pantomime. Many elements of the press are presenting the case a now closed baring the show on the 29th.

    In other words a deal has been stuck, all parties are in agreement, there will be a low key hearing and a fine, yes, but life can now go on…

    Are they wrong?

    Do you think a bookie would take any bet at all on anything other than this happening?

  37. I thought Ron had actually laid down plans to step back from F1 when he split from his then wife. I just find it a shame that the focus of attention has shifted from all of his great achievements (Senna, Prost, Hakkinen, Hamilton.. and not forgetting some of the greatest cars on the grid) to a few errors of late.

  38. SeanT says:

    I can’t wait for his autobiography.

    James, any chance you’ll get to ghost it?

  39. Carl Freisacher says:

    In my opinion the reason for Ron’s departure from the McLaren Group is unrelated to F1. He is commited to his McLaren P11 vanity project with projected sales figues way above any realistic expectations. McLaren is not Ferrari. McLaren sold 64 F1′s. The P11 will not be a success and risks dragging down the whole of the McLaren group.

  40. David Palmer says:

    Do some people not read the article, James speculated on the possible role of Anthony Hamilton, that does not make it fact. For that to then be spun out into biting the hand that feeds is nuts.

    I doubt we will ever know the whole truth, I can understand why Lewis feels bad but I think it was the wrong move to do the Max thing. However, could he have escalated it higher up in McLaren.

    Maybe that is the issue, perhaps he did take it to RD and perhaps Ron said do what Ryan says.

    One thing is for sure, the stink from this issue is not going to go away until everyone comes clean, only then can the relationships be repaired.

    I still don’t understand why Ryan bothered to lie, it would have been better to say we gave this advice on this basis and appeal it on that basis. The problem is that the FIA will let Ferrari get away with anything but McL rarely get treated fairly.

    I think RD will be sorely missed, he was a great motivator for the whole team.

  41. jose says:

    Couldn`t it be a deal brokered by ecclestone, and agreed by moesley, to be gentle with mclaren the 29th.
    Moesley would be happy to get rid of ron, and f1 would have the hole grid.
    Who would be moesley`s next enemy? Witmarsh for sure.

  42. JohnBt says:

    Ron is not perfect, but I’d vote for him over Bernie and Max anytime.

  43. Richard says:

    I agree.

    I think the Lewis brand is now too tarnished to be worth having, lying is one thing, but turning against your team and running to max is another.

    The guy either needs to develop some backbone of his own or stop listening to his fathers advice.

    He should remember that the UK press like destroying people they’ve built up and this just gives ammunition to those who say he is selfish and arrogant.

    As a Mclaren fan, Given a choice I’d keep Ron and sack Hamilton – and face whatever penalty the FIA handed out. Obviously not an option due to the shareholders and sponsors interests though.

  44. James Allen says:

    Excellent question. I think the difference is two fold
    1. Schumacher didn’t get out of the car telling reporters that he parked it deliberately and then told the stewards the opposite.
    2. There was no equivalent in Monaco 06 of the radio recordings where McLaren clearly tell Hamilton to let Trulli through. Telemetry told its own story in Schumacher’s case, but he still maintained he did not intend it. The stewards disagreed and thought he did.

  45. nick says:

    One fails to make the observation that schumacher was at least much more intelligent than Hamilton in that he didn’t trip himself up.
    James was right in saying that he didn’t tell reporters that he decided to park it and then tell the stewards “You know what? Yes, I lost control of the car and it stalled. Completely disregard what you may hear from reporters out there.”
    He’s not an idiot, which is more than can be said about hamilton

  46. Stephen Kellett says:

    I think the Lewis brand is now too tarnished to be worth having, lying is one thing, but turning against your team

    Reminds me of Alonso when he was at McLaren, turning against his own team.

  47. Peter Freeman says:

    So James the difference between the Schumacher/Ferrari/o6 and Hamilton/McLaren/09 incidents then is there was less evidence to show up the lies in 06?

    Besides that we can comfortably say McLaren are no less dishonest than Ferrari?

    I would site Hamilton as more honest than Schumacher though for two reasons:

    a) Clearly wanted to ‘tell it like it is’ otherwise why would he have given the true story in the candid interview straight after the race? It was only after he had contact with the team (innocent Dave?) that he changed his story. If he had wanted to lie, then he would have lied from the beginning, yes?

    b) He has at least confessed to his role in this and apologised to all involved, including personally to Whiting. I am not aware of Schumacher confessing or apologising, am I wrong?

    I think that there was no inquiry in 06 is precedent for there not being one now. Disqualification was fair punishment historically, so how is it not now?

  48. aozinsky says:

    Thanks James. I think the first point is the pertinent one.
    Can’t help feeling that the sanctions are likely to be harsher becuase it’s McLaren in question, and not because of what happened last year, but simply becuase the FIA is unquestionably anti the Woking squad.

  49. rdw says:

    So because Schumacher lied and kept lieing it is better than Hamilton telling the truth and then lieing? Ok, whatever you say.

    What about Massa v Alonso at Monza in 2006? Massa lied and said that he was held up by Alonso in qulaifying when he was 250 metres away and on a different line. Not only did he (or his team) lie, in exactly the same way as Hamilton/McLaren but the lie was allowed to stand despite no evidence whatsoever that the lie had any merit.

    This whole affair has been blown waay out of proportion by those with vested interests. The press need to sell newspapers (or justify relevance…hmmm) and Bernie and Max need to cling desperately to their seats of power in the face of the FOTA threat.

    Hamilton lied, he was pinged for it, just as Schumacher was in Monaco. That should be the end of it. There was little or no suggestion of expulsion from championships over Schumachers actions in Monaco and the same should be the case now.

    Let alone Bernies hysterical cries of “fraud”.

  50. Could not agree more. I have zero interest in in any other motorsport, apart from Moto GP. NASCAR is a waste of space as are any of the other “we all drive the same machinery” categories.

    It is about people, designers, the hardware they create and the men (women, one day?) the hire to drive the hardware.

    Ron, love him or hate him, was and is an important part of the history, even if the short sightedness of those that want him gone prevents them from recognising that.

    Regardless of whether Max thinks he has won, he has not. Ron created a powerful racing team and generated a great deal of value (much of which Bernie has benefitted from, if not directly, but indirectly). Max has done nothing even comparable.

    The ideal that the Toffs have beaten the working class boy from Essex (as posited in a previous post) is nonesense. Ron is the victor, even if he bows out early. His achievements will never be matched by Max. That isn’t an opinion, its a fact.

  51. I think Harry Truman once had a sign on his desk that said “the buck stops here”.

    http://www.trumanlibrary.org/buckstop.htm

    Darn right that the guy in charge is ultimately responsible.

  52. If Anthony Hamilton thinks the Hamilton brand is bigger than the team he has a shock coming. No one is indispensable.

    If that was the case, the a couple of years in a Force India may force a reassessment of the situation.

    I think Lewis lives in a bubble. He (or they) doesn’t seem to understand what the other drivers go through. With the exception of Schumacher (who spent one race with Jordan, then was catapulted into Benneton) all other drivers arrive in a team that is usually not the best team.

    So for that reason, Hamilton, you’re fired (yup, been watching iPlayer tonight). Relegated to a team at the back of the grid for at least two years. Then let us hear you talking about the “monkeys at the back”. Some humility would not go amiss.

    And this from someone that really wanted Lewis to win in his first year and was delighted that he beat Alonso in the same car on the first attempt.

    You had the bauble and you didn’t just drop it, you smashed it.

  53. nick says:

    I am not a Dennis fan by any means, but is a shame to see him go this way.
    Nik is absolutely right, the Hamiltons completely lack ,moral character. Perhaps someone should buy them a dictionary with the words “morality”, “loyalty”, “treachery”, and “duplicty” highlighted so that they may learn that conspiring with mosley to get rid of Dennis isn’t something you to the person who put you in f1. the hamiltons would still be living in a council estate in stevanage if it weren’t for Dennis.
    Perhaps it is a more fitting surrounding for them, judging by their recent behaviour

  54. David Palmer says:

    On current form those monkeys at the back are winning races, I am sure BRAWN would love to have him! Imagine that two British drivers in a British team.

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