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Dennis: Whitmarsh “better than me” at managing champions
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Dennis: Whitmarsh “better than me” at managing champions
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Dec 2010   |  10:37 am GMT  |  91 comments

I was recently sent a copy of a magazine run by an old friend and former commentator Pierre Van Vliet called F1i. Pierre used to be my opposite number on France’s TF1 coverage and in the magazine there was a feature interview with McLaren’s Ron Dennis which caught my eye.

Asked about the relationship between the two world champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button he said, “Managing the co-habitation of two world champions is often a challenge. I have tried it a few times. Martin is perhaps showing himself to be better than me at that role.”


He certainly is. Aside from a tense moment at the end of the Turkish Grand Prix, where Hamilton wanted to know why Button had passed him when he had been told, effectively, that he wouldn’t, the relationship between the two champions has been very well managed by Whitmarsh. The character or Button helps in this, as he is pretty adaptable to all kinds of situations and team mates, but Whitmarsh is by nature a consensus-seeker, where Dennis is a manager who likes to control and can often be devisive. There are some legendary stories of exchanges with Kimi Raikkonen about being “a boy in a man’s body.”

Whitmarsh’s talents for consensus seeking are also proving useful in the wider picture of F1 in his role as chairman of the team’s organisation, FOTA.

Whitmarsh is considered increasingly likely to remain as FOTA chairman for another year and you can see why this is the common sense approach of the teams to take. It will be an important year for the organisation as it engages in negotiations over the new Concorde Agreement, which is due to come into force at the end of 2012. The current arrangement is what was hastily agreed in the aftermath of the FOTA breakaway threat in the summer of 2009.

Ferrari president and founding FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo raised the spectre of breakaway again last week by suggesting that the teams had some strong options when it comes to the negotiations and to the future. This was a piece of positioning more than anything else at this stage, but it shows that the heavy duty stuff is around the corner.

It’s in everyone’s interests to find a long term agreement between FOTA, the FIA and FOM, but Montezemolo raised the question of private equity firm CVC’s role in the sport long term,

“Theoretically speaking, we can have one of three alternatives,” he said. “One is that we renew with CVC. For how many years, we have to discuss. But I am in favour of many years because I don’t want to be back every three or four years. So assume five-to-eight years. Second, we want to ensure that Bernie will remain in a strong position. How long? I hope for a long time. It is not a new choice; it is to continue as it is.

“The next option, theoretically, is that we can find a different company [promoter] and start discussions. Third, theoretically, we can establish our own company. At this point of time we would theoretically offer to Bernie to be chairman. More than honorary chairman – a chairman.

“And put a very strong marketing-oriented mind, nothing to do with the teams, to manage it, as they did in the NBA. Only in the first case would we insist on Bernie, because I don’t want to discuss with people that I respect but who don’t know anything about Formula 1.”

The other strong candidate for FOTA chairmanship Ross Brawn, meanwhile, has said that the role “is not something that I aspire to.” He has spent two years as head of the technical working group at FOTA.

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91 Comments
  1. Bec says:

    Whitmarsh staying on as chairman of FOTA will please Red Bull ;)

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      i have issues with the praise Whitmarsh is getting for his management of McLaren so far. In my opinion, he has been awfull – he has turned McLaren into a chaser rather than a leader team. All the key new managers ie Steffano, Ross and Horner have won titles. Whitmarsh has won nothing. Good PR is just that – what matters in sports is winning titles not hearts and minds. Somebody needs to remind Whitmarsh that Formula 1 is a sport not a PR exercise.

      1. Marybeth says:

        I do not think that it is fair blame Martin. If they had hired Kimi, he would not have cracked under the pressure at the end of the year. Ron is the one who did not want Kimi back because he would be too much competition for Lewis.

      2. CHIUNDA says:

        Just to put some perspective on Kimi Raikkonen – he was with McLaren for 5 seasons from 2002 to 2006 and did not win a WDC. As you say, Kimi did not crack under pressure towards the end of the season but unfortunately he cracked under something else that was much worse and therefore failed to win a championship with McLaren. Dont get me wrong – i really liked Kimi (though sided with Heidifield’s opinions over his move from Sauber to McLaren) but his loss of motivation at Ferrari was just bizarre. Sincerely, a Lewis vs Kimi debate doesn’t motivate much controversy – there isn’t just enough rivalry between those two. If you put them in the same team the political side of things would just be too dull – they would just race and probably never realise they were team mates.

      3. jay jacob says:

        dude, Lewis won in 2008 under Whitmarsh

      4. James Allen says:

        Dennis was still running the team in 2008

      5. Dave Aston says:

        Whether it’s Whitmarsh or Dennis at the helm, Hamilton’s in 2008 was McLaren’s only drivers title in the last eleven years. It’s hardly the statistic of a top team; maybe that of a team that was once dominant, but is now not quite good enough.

  2. six tenths says:

    I have always thought Martin Whitmarsh was a highly impressive individual, the fact that he could successfully take over from a character like Ron says enough.

    No doubt this will be seized upon by Alonso fans ever desperate to show that this “proves” he was somehow mistreated or given inferior equipment when he was so clearly not, but to me it is far better to focus on the fantastic relationship between Jenson and Lewis. MW may well have helped make it work, but fundamentally the pleasant, happy personalities of the two British WDCs shines through, I do not really believe Martin had too much to do there. Personally it is an absolute joy to see, after the unpleasantness before, when Alonso could not stand being beaten by a superior driver, it is very satisfying rubbing his nose in it in the best possible way.

    The 2 drivers are the perfect match for each other as well, the Rapier vs the Foil, a Classic I hope we can enjoy for many seasons.

    1. Irish con says:

      Superior driver ??? Don’t think so. The superior driver finished ahead of your king Lewis this year in the 3rd best car. That is on mclarens own website. It was also alonso’s first year with a new team. Wait and see how good he will be next year.

      Also Martin Whitmarsh is a far nicer guy than Ron Dennis. I hate Ron Dennis but I still respected his work. Too much arrogance.

      1. Steven says:

        Your superior driver always needs help from his teammates. This year it was Massa, remember crashgate?

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Here here, his superior driver has consistently outperformed his team mates since he has been driving on F1, but during 2007, when he was given a #2 status at McLaren. And that year he scored the same points as Lewis and just one point less than the WDC.

        Only two drivers on the grid that are clearly better than all the others – including Seb Vettel, Mark, Jenson…-, IMHO.

        Anyway, it will be easily checked next year. We will see if Felipe is faster that Fernando or not.

        Merry Xmas to all: also to Lewis supporters! :-D

      3. AlonsoKing says:

        As opposed to your “superior” driver who was supposed to destroy Button this year? How did that go for him? Superior hype is all Lewis Hamilton is or will ever be.

      4. Damian J says:

        “Too much arrogance”…..How about Ferarri for the last two decades throwing their weight around as though they own F1 or that F1 would not exist without them!

      5. mtb says:

        Formula 1 would be seriously diminished without the presence of Ferrari [mod]

      6. James Allen says:

        MTB -You are very welcome here, but please leave out the aggressive language in your posts. It takes the moderator’s time up, editing it out and it isn’t necessary. Thank you

      7. ronspeak says:

        So you don’t like Ron Dennis because he’s arrogant?! Do you not think Alonso is? Give me a break. That was a well thought out comment. What about Schumi, Irvine, piquet or Toddt, i bet they made your skin crawl?? But not Alonso , he’s not arrogant! As for comparing Lewis and Fernando this year, Alonso will always do well or even dominate when he’s a number 1 driver. But if you really want to compare them you have to go back to 2007 when Alonso was an equal to ‘erm…. a rookie! Think what Hamilton would do now to Alonso after some experience!!

      8. Irish con says:

        I think you will find that many many fans and pundits think alonso is still the best driver out there. Do u think in Lewis had joined alonso at Renault in 06 with that car perfecting matching alonso’s style on michelins rather that the perfect matched bridgestone shod mclaren in 07. I don’t think so not for one second. I don’t think anybody could have bettered alonso’s achievements in his first Renault career. Was simply best standard of driving I’ve ever seen.

      9. Peter C says:

        Mmmmm – a little Christmas flurry of Good Ferrari, bad bad BAD McLaren breaks out.(again)

        Hey, guys, Peace to all Men (& Lilla)

        Happy Christmas.

      10. Damian J says:

        “Vettel will drive a Ferrari sooner or later” Arrogance?

      11. Galapago555 says:

        Don’t you think that sooner or later he will? It is a fact that many of the best drivers have driven a Ferrari at some stage of their careers, so IMO it is not arrogance from Montezemolo to say so.

        And of course, I would not like a humble guy to be my Team’s Principal or my Company’s CEO!!

      12. Damian J says:

        Do all roads in F1 lead to Ferrari? Perhaps we should rename F1 in their honour and let them win every race. It’s the usual self entitlement stuff that perpetually comes from this Italian team. Can be quite nauseating when there are 11 other teams on the grid (some of which are struggling to finance their operations) and they all in their various ways combine to make F1. So is it a certainty for example that Hamilton as a top F1 driver will race for Ferrari? Isn’t McLaren or now Redbull a worthy team?

        You may have noticed that the title of this thread was Ron making an honest admission about Martin’s better ability to handle champions which shows that Ron still has humility in spite of his achievements in building the McLaren team and its longevity in F1.

      13. Galapago555 says:

        No answer to my question, as usual.

        It’s obvious that many great drivers never drove for Ferrari. Probably Lewis will be one of them. Actually, the vast mayority of F1 drivers never drove for Ferrari.

        Of course, McLaren – and now Reb Bull – are worthy teams. So it used to be Williams. And Renault is, from time to time.

        But, coming back to my original point: are you sure that Seb Vettel will never drive for the Scuderia? Or will you give us some more sarcasm and criticism about everybody but McLaren?

      14. Damian J says:

        Vettel may indeed drive for Ferrari one day but LdM made a statement of absolute certainty as though he has some hold over Seb Vettel‘s future. How can that not be arrogant?

        My earlier comment mentioned 11 other teams in F1 unlike the “F1 = Ferrari” commentary that eminates from one team. I appreciate that it takes more than one team to make F1 and so to imply that I offer “sarcasm and criticism about everybody but McLaren” was unfair.

      15. Galapago555 says:

        Ok, did not mean to offend you, Damian J. If so, please excuse me.

        Re the original question: it’s clear that LdM is not a humble guy. Arrogance? Not sure. Maybe he is simply sincere, and he actually believes that Seb will be driving a Ferrari in the mid term. Or maybe he is simply realistic…

        Finally, It must be hard to be humble if you are the President of Ferrari. I can’t see many “humble” people around the paddock, anyway.

    2. mingojo says:

      James Allen replied to a question by a fan in Formula1 racing that when Lewis and Fernando share team in 2007, Lewis received the best strategies in comparison to Fernando.
      If you check how many last flying laps in Q3 Hamilton had with respect to Alonso, he almost doubled Fernando’s, that year that was decisive to have the last flyiong lap as all we could see in Hungary. In addition, Ron said in China “we were not racing Kimi, we were racing Fernando”, that is a bit weird, don’t you think?

    3. Carlos says:

      As an Alonso fan, I don’t think he received inferior equipment or any blatant mistreatment, but racing performance is often about morale and I do think Ron Dennis did a poor job in that aspect. We’re talking about young racers who’ve been living in a sheltered world and probably a few years behind on the maturity scale… managing their feelings is important. I don’t think RD paid attention to that at all.

  3. Galapago555 says:

    James, will you ever write an insight on the Lewis – Fernando season at McLaren, and all the things that happened? We all know that it will be terribly interesting.

    And I’m not joking, I still hope that you decide to write on that subject some day…

    1. James Allen says:

      I’d have to get a tin hat ready if I did – there’s so much bias on both sides!!

      1. Grabyrdy says:

        I would look forward to it too, and in the light of this article, one wonders how it would have turned out if MW had already been in charge.

        I wonder if Ron is thinking of that, or casting his mind back to Prost and Senna.

      2. Phil R says:

        James, you should create an F1 version of Wiki Leaks for that and all the other interesting things! Bennetton cheating, Ferrari cheating, Rubens/Michael stories, Kimi Raikonnen drunken stories, etc

      3. James Allen says:

        I’ve got enough on my plate. Besides I have other colleagues in the media who are more interested in conspiracies etc!

      4. jonas says:

        I’d like to read that! Just read “Chequered Conflict” on that very subject …. it was pretty disappointing to be honest…

      5. Galapago555 says:

        Maybe you could post it on Xmas Day!! :-D

  4. Michael T says:

    Would love to hear more on the stories of Ron’s exchanges with Kimi!

    The talk of breakaways raises its head again…. is this just more posturing, any breakaway will surely just dilute the sport and be harmful to everyone in the end.

  5. Jo Torrent says:

    Martin is a more likeable person in every sens when compared to Ron Dennis. He’s funnier, more down the earth, more diplomatic and less arrogant while still being a very competitive person.
    The way he changed McLaren’s image straight away is a huge tribute to his capacities. The handling of Hamilton/Button situation is misleading though. Button is a very nice and fair guy. He doesn’t take offence by being beaten by Lewis in terms of raw pace. We saw that Hamilton was annoyed when Button outqualified him and bagged a couple of wins while Lewis had nothing but overtakings. It’s a different matter when the competitors are ruthless and unwilling to accept being beaten. If Button manages to beat Lewis, we’ll see how strong is Martin in managing those situations.

    1. DonSimon says:

      Button really has more chance of eating his own helmet than beating Lewis over a season in the same car. He’s just not quick enough and clearly isn’t in possesion of LH’s killer instinct.

      1. Richard M says:

        I think in 2011 Button will have a good chance of not just beating Hamilton but also winning the WDC because of the new tyres, influence in the car design, race engineer sorted out, settled into the team.
        Plus regarding Button’s killer instinct, just because he appears very laid back out of the car does not mean he does not possess a killer instinct in the car, did you watch Turkey this year, or his pass on Alonso in Montreal?

    2. devilsadvocate says:

      I’m a little bit unimpressed with MW’s diplomatic skills as he never really had to handle a boiling over situation given button only was ahead in china and Australia with Australia being a particularly “Lewis” moment with Lewis chewing out his pit crew over the public radio. I think we would have seen a different situation if button had ever solidly led Lewis for any extended period. Them whitmarsh would have actually been tested. Even if he is a wdc button really is 2nd driver in both attitude and practice. In my personal opinion he really actually spent a lot of time being divisive rather than unifying with all his backhanded swipes at other teams be it their drivers tactics or technical updates. I would be interested in hearing Jame’s opinion on that. I think Lewis and buttons positions in the wdc this year played way more into the stability at mclaren than anyone is really giving credit to

  6. Jo Torrent says:

    Why the team don’t go for a 10 years contract with FOM. It’s like elections now. Every 5 years it’s hotting up and politics restart to dominate the F1. Bernie hits at team owners and DiMontezemolo hits at Bernie and both try to work a deal together as every other team will have to follow afterwards.
    FOTA is strong though and I think that Bernie will have to give them more money and will find it hard to lure Ferrari out of FOTA particularly as he lost Mosley’s help.

    Anyway, another episode of the series Bernie Ferrari and the other teams.

  7. Born 1950 says:

    It seems to me that in the macho world of F1, people who are aggressive and rule with an iron rod are lauded and then others try to emulate them. So it’s good to hear of the success of a man who is a ‘consensus-maker’. Let’s hope he sets a good example to others.

    In business it’s my experience that the aggressive types do well, up to a point; however, it’s the people who take others with them who achieve the maximum possible.

  8. jonrob says:

    CVC is in huge debt according to Bernie, originally presumably from the €1.6B that Kirch borrowed, however, the resultant shares of the three banks have since been bought back. It is probably owed to himself via another of his many subsidiaries and holding companies, Alpha Prema, Delta Topcom, Bambino etc. So though Bernie will claim hardship, he is still the 26th richest person in the UK, There are more convolutions share ratios and gearings than in an F1 gearbox.
    While Bernie could very easily retire in stupendous wealth, he would be bored out of his skull inside a week, though he has bought a football club now (rather stupidly, obviously a tax loss purchase (what’s the annual depreciation on football players?))
    So he will probably want to carry on and negotiate a new Concorde agreement, thus the teams will be in for a hard time, since he has showed no signs of mellowing with age.
    Who else could fill the breach? Both Max and Flav have discredited themselves pretty fully with the teams. Perhaps Luca de Monte fancies it himself, but will a high profile politically active Italian be trusted. (Even my old Italian suppliers kept three sets of Books, one for the tax man, one for the Mafia and the real one)
    In the Sunday Express there was an article which said that Ron was claiming that Bernie had stolen the F1 rights; a feeling that was common for many years amongst teams and fans alike. (at the same time you have to admire Bernie’s business acumen)
    The NBA management team in the USA have apparently managed the profits down into near bankruptcy.

    1. Damian J says:

      The article that mentions Ron Dennis accusing Bernie of stealing the ownership of F1 comes from a biography about Bernie.

      Is n’t it true that Bernie was able to achieve this with 100 pieces of silver for Ferrari and a secret technical veto sanctioned by FIA under the first Concorde Agreement? The other teams that held out for a while, McLaren, Williams and Tyrrell were then ultimately left out in the cold were forced to accept a second class deal for which some pundits criticize Ron Dennis for not falling immediately into line behind Ferrari’s pay off!

  9. Merlinghnd says:

    James, Can you give us a flavour of these allegedly famous exchanges between Kimi and Ron, it would be quite interesting for us who are outsiders. Happy Christmas

    1. Marybeth says:

      @Merlinghnd, Pshaw! You can’t believe everything you read. :) Ron thought so highly of Kimi, his skills & regarded him with such fondness that he was greatly distressed when he could not get a championship for him while he was at McLaren. So he tried to help him win the 2007 championship, a debt paid, the Christmas gifting season, goodwill to men & all that. :)

      1. Marybeth says:

        …& the next year Ferrari returned the favor by running Kimi as their 2nd drvier so Ron could have a championship for Lewis. :)

      2. jonrob says:

        Kimi reminds me a bit of Mike Thackwell, a Kiwi one time BTCC diver of such enormous talent and ability that he was “Schumacheresque” in dragging every ounce of performance out of any car he raced in. But it was too easy for him, boring, no challenge, I remember him being congratulated on an easy win, and him shrugging, replying “yeah so what”. Now Kimi was bored in Ferrari when he didn’t have a car capable of winning, whereas in rallying the challenge is far greater technically, in terms of understanding the last instruction but two, from his co-driver, and not knowing the track/course, keeping it on the course flat out, no gravel trap/armaco/tyres/conveyor belt. only trees rockfaces long drops instead. That gives the adrenalin back where F1 had become a drudge for him, he should have left at least a season earlier.

  10. Andy C says:

    I do think Jenson and Lewis are a little different to Ayrton and Alain though ;-)

    I’m sure if Martin had to try to handle Senna and Prost he’d struggle as well :-)

    Funnily enough, I’ve just been reading a truly excellent book about the Prost/Senna years and the problems Ron and Jo Ramirez faced.

    Its Prost Versus Senna by Malcolm Foley (sorry for plugging someone elses book, but I think you contributed to in in an interview anyway. Hope you dont mind).

    For anyone who perhaps was a little too young at the time to watch F1 and its events in full (like me), its a great insight into the rivalry, and just how bitter a rivalry it was.

    James,

    I’m not sure whether you’ve ever written on the subject, but the key thing that jumps out to me is that Alain being older had perhaps seen more horrible crashes (i.e the gilles villenueve, the didier peroni etc) and that understandably made him more considerate of other drivers.

    Its quite key to see just how Ayrton reacted in the times when there were fatalities, was quite different from his normal uber aggresive move out of the way or we’ll have a crash type moves.

    I would love to be my age now, to rewatch that battle, as they have to be truly the biggest matchup of talents and personalities I’m aware of in F1.

    I think if they had not arrived around the same era (prost first then senna), either one of those drivers could have won as many as Michael.

    And how ironic that Senna and Prost made up to some extent when Alain retired, and even on the Imola weekend.

    I can’t wait for the new film to come out.

    PS. Any possibility of having a books area, or great F1 books that people have read?

    I’m looking forward to christmas in finishing the JA book, and one on Jochen Rindt.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      “Any possibility of having a books area, or great F1 books that people have read?”

      Second that.

    2. mtb says:

      “I do think Jenson and Lewis are a little different to Ayrton and Alain though”

      An understatement if ever there were one!

      I am reminded in many respects of the Hakkinen and Coulthard days – but Hamilton makes far more mistakes than Hakkinen did.

      1. Andy C says:

        Indeed, hence the smiley face ;-)

        I think McLaren have done a good job this year of not being seen to prefer either driver.

        Not sure they handled it quite as well when Mika was there.

        If you think about the pairings that Ron had to manage, I think Martin is fairly well off really.

        Trying to handle a Senna or a Lauda would be a different beast all together :-)

      2. DonSimon says:

        Hamilton does make errors, but he is pretty fearless and over his career is obviously maturing. He’s one of the big guns for sure. Him, Fernando and Seb are right at the top of the tree, with Kubica only a good car away from joining them. I can’t wait for next year when we have all these super-beasts on the grid. Visca F1!

  11. Les says:

    I’m puzzled as to why he wants Bernie to stay in a strong position – I believe he has too much say in the direction of F1, and has not taken it in a direction that has improved the sport, only his bank balance

    1. jonrob says:

      Well better the devil you know, and if not Bernie then who? Remember Bernie was team owner and it was FOCA who had the rights but could not handle them because the members being team owners were not focused on the commercial rights side. (back in the FISA/FOCA/Ballestre wars) Without Bernie being independent and neutral to the teams, but knowing what was wanted (not to mention being one of the cleverest operators in the book) quite frankly they would be in a hell of a mess. Now the only people capable of taking that role are currently either discredited or in teams and would have to leave, but also would probably not be accepted by the other teams.
      The commercial running of the US NBA has apparently been a disaster with outsider financiers not understanding or being able to negotiate with teams or players. (Several strikes spring hazily to mind)
      So just to hand it all over to a bunch of bankers is just not on.

  12. Nando says:

    Ferrari shouldn’t get anything extra for being Ferrari like they currently do. If they want to start with minus points then let them keep their inbuilt advantage. Di Montzemolo last week was touting for an even bigger cut last week.

    1. jonrob says:

      This is something that angers a great many fans, Ferrari refusing to compete unless they have an advantage over the other teams, usually in terms of more money from Bernie, extra sponsorship money from cigarette advertising. Favourable stewards decisions, grossly unequal treatment in punishments. These are there for all to see and yet they get away with it every year, mainly by virtue of the Concorde agreement being secret. It’s a sport and the regulations should be visible to all, but now some are being hidden in the agreement as well as the obviously unequal financial treatment of teams.

  13. Chris Searle says:

    Great posting James. I continue to appreciate all your journalism. Agree with your views re: Martin W, but throughout the 2010 season I sense he and the team (including the drivers)spoke far too often about the ‘expected improvements’ … ‘anticipated progress’, without always producing the results. And they seem to have been unique in this, while other teams just ‘got on with the show’. Already on your pages (and others) there have been favourable reports about the new 2011 car, whilst everyone else seems to be maintaining a healthy silence. Sadly all this does is raise expectations. As far as public statements are concerned (about anything in life, including F1 cars) …”promise only what you can deliver, then deliver more than you promise”.
    Christmas and New Year greetings, James.

  14. Nando says:

    Ron Dennis seems to be mellowing. James, do you know who will manage the planned GTR Mclaren’s?

    1. Andy C says:

      Presumably you mean the gt3 car based on the mp4-12c ? If so they are building them in conjunction with crs racing, but they would presumably focus on a customer based programme.

      Crs has a good track record in gts and various championships.

      I’ve hear rumours of a new f1 as well for 2014. That long tail f1 was a lovely car.

  15. John M says:

    I think Luca di Montezemolo would be a much better choice to be FOTA chairman.

    LOL. Just kidding.

    I highly respect Martin Whitmarsh because he seems to be a very intelligent, rational person that doesn’t make emotional, or hasty decisions. His leadership of McLaren has been well managed. Taking over from such a presence/personality like Ron Dennis is a tall order. Whitmarsh has done a great job, in my opinion.

  16. mo kahn says:

    Ron Dennis made what Mclaren is today. There cannot be any other that will ever equal him at Mclaren.

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      The personalities are different and the challenges to come will not be those that Ron faced, but Martin will continue McLaren in the mold that Ron created, and that’s a good thing.

      1. Andy C says:

        Indeed, it you look back to when Ron came in with Project 4, it was a completely different team.

        In many ways they set the benchmark of modern F1 teams.

        I’m sure Ron wouldnt have put Martin in charge without being fully confident he was up to the job.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Fully agree, Zobra.

        One, and counting :-D

        Merry Xmas!

      3. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Merry Christmas to you as well, Galapago. Let’s see how many we can agree on this year, I suspect it will be a lot more than one. Thanks.

    2. Damian J says:

      How many have achieved what Ron Dennis has with McLaren?

  17. mtb says:

    “Hamilton wanted to know why Button had passed him when he had been told, effectively, that he wouldn’t”

    I suggest that you review the footage from 0:07 to 0:14. “Effectively”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7IiR6Mgwyk

    1. Chris H says:

      Puts a different light onto Nicole’s strop doesn’t it!

  18. Irish con says:

    Question I’d dearly love to ask James is does he truly believe that alonso was given equal status the hole year long at mclaren. I for one will go to my deathbed allways believing that mclaren ( Ron Dennis ) robbed him. No doubts this year was equal but was Lewis v kovi or Kimi v dc or montoya equal. Does anyone else think that if mclaren had of picked alonso over Hamilton they would have won more than 1 out of last 8 championships going

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Fully agree, mate.

      “We are not racing Kimi, we are racing Fernando”

      1. CHIUNDA says:

        who cares about equality – if bias was ok for Alonso in 2010 it was ok for Dennis to make whatever call he wanted to make in 2007

      2. Galapago555 says:

        So… Fernando was hired by Dennis in 2007 to be Mclaren’s #2 driver.

        Quod erat demonstrandum.

    2. hisham ali says:

      The way I see it, Alonso being a two times world champion, he was the main focus of the team before the season started as nobody, not even Alonso himself thought Hamilton will be that fast from the get go. Alonso remained the favorite for the first few races, but it soon became obvious that Hamilton is a match for him. The middle part of the season saw them having equal status until the fallout between Ron and Alonso at Hungary. After that Ron Dennis, being a human being after all supported Hamilton more.

      I really cannot blame Dennis for this, as I said he is human. And after allegedly being blackmailed by Alonso, it is natural to favorite Hamilton. I know if it was me I would have done the same, And I suspect all the angry Alonso fans would have done the same as well. A man who achieved as much as Ron must have an enormous pride, and to be blackmailed by the man who was actually involved in the spying thing, must have really hurt. And I really respect him for not caving to Alonso and going to the FIA even though it put everything he has worked for and achieved in danger.

      1. CHIUNDA says:

        why is there so much obsession to treat Alonso equally in 2007 when the same is not being given to Massa at Ferrari or his other team mates in Renault. This double standards regarding Alonso are tiring to read over and over :(

      2. Galapago555 says:

        If Dennis was actually blackmailed by Alonso, I can’t find any reason not to dismiss Fernando as soon as he started to do that. Dennis obviously went to FIA so… why did not he dismiss the man who was -allegedly- blackmailing his own employer?

      3. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Galapago, I’m going to pass on this one, as we’ve been over this ad nasium.

      4. Galapago555 says:

        @Zobra

        …ok, I will take this as a Xmas present.

        No more comments from me about 2007 season… at least for a long while!

    3. Damian J says:

      You are very critical of McLaren with regard to Alonso’s status in the team during 2007 and yet you are happy to see Ferrari employ team orders for Alonso’s benefit. So it’s OK for Ferrari but not McLaren and provided Alonso does not suffer from team orders.

  19. Tony says:

    The McLaren this year shouldn’t have been in contention for so long. The test of management will be if they can come up with a car that is obviously going tonwin the championship for one of the drivers. You only have to look back at 88. Red Bull had this problem this year and look at the amount of toys being thrown from prams!

  20. Ben N says:

    To those mentioning Fernando vs Lewis… it is irrelevant to the arguement… Hamilton was not a WDC when he was driving alongside/against Fernando!

    I think Ron Dennis is referring to the Senna/Prost incident book!

    Personally I think that Martin Whitmarsh comes over as more of a “people person” than Ron Dennis, but then you look at their respective trophy cabinets and I think that (at the moment) Martin Whitmarsh is far from doing as good a job as Ron did…

  21. kowalsky says:

    being better than dennis, doesn’t make him good. We need to see him in a difficult season like 1989, or 2007.
    Dennis got most of the blame in 2007, but i think wihtmarsh had part of the responsability as well.
    Williams and head have worse history than you ron, if that’s of any help.

  22. Pally says:

    Whitmarsh hasn’t even delivered a championship so lets not talk of his success yet because there isn’t any.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      Thank you

    2. Marybeth says:

      If Martin had Kimi he would have had the championship.

      1. Pally says:

        But Martin wanted Button…it was his choice, that’s why he feels he always had to defend Button last year to vindicate his decision.

  23. R.T. Gould says:

    I’m glad to Mr. Dennis acknowledge MW’s superior “people” skills. I think McLaren have accomplished a brilliant transition, with Dennis where he’s best, leading a team building a car. MW’s vastly better at managing the drivers, team, and, well, FOTA!

    Good job, MW. Now, about that championship…

  24. Stone the Crows says:

    Given what former drivers (Coulthard, and Montoya in particular) have said about working for Mclaren it would seem that Ron Dennis tended to pit his drivers against each other creating two teams within the team in the hope of using one to goad the other to the epitome of performance. Which is to say he didn’t really ‘manage’ them at all, ‘manipulated’ might be a better term. None the less Ron Dennis has the results on his side.
    Whitmarsh is a different sort of fellow altogether and I don’t think its fair to compare him to Dennis. 2010 didn’t start out so well for Mclaren with a minor controversy over Lewis, but Whitmarsh handled it well and got on with the buisness at hand. He is the right man to be at Mclaren with the two drivers that they have, he will get more out of both of them than I think Dennis would, and have better overall results for Mclaren.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      i am willing to bet that if Ron was still in charge, there would have been a second trophy after 2008 by now

      1. Marybeth says:

        Not with Lewis as their 1st driver. He cracks under pressure. Kimi doesn’t.

      2. Trix says:

        Enough already! Grow up. Let’s talk logic here. No need for these sentiments.

  25. Imperfectropos says:

    Very kind assessment that of Dennis. But let’s wait until Martin has two real characters under the same umbrella…

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