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Ron Dennis retakes control of McLaren: What next for Whitmarsh?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Jan 2014   |  7:06 pm GMT  |  471 comments

The future of McLaren’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh is in question tonight after former team boss Ron Dennis retook control of the company as CEO, promising changes to make the team win again.

In a statement issued by the team this evening Dennis said that he would conduct a thorough review of track activity, after McLaren last year registered its worst performance since 1980 with not a single podium finish.

At the end of last year Dennis and Whitmarsh were engaged in a struggle for power, but a shift in shareholder sentiment seems to have swung things back Dennis’ way.

The news follows the transfer of responsibility for Mansour Ojjeh’s shares and his seat on the board to his younger brother in recent days. Mansour has been ill with cancer.

At the end of last year it appeared that the majority shareholder the Bahraini investment vehicle Mumtalakat, sided with Whitmarsh as did Ojjeh, but Dennis has clearly engineered a change in sentiment.

The question will now be, who will Dennis hire to replace Whitmarsh, given that he is unlikely to want to run the team himself on a day to day basis? One candidate currently sitting on the sidelines is Ross Brawn. The Englishman has moved on from Mercedes and he has good connections with Honda, McLaren’s engine partner from 2015 onwards.

The news makes it unlikely that there will be a place for Fernando Alonso at the team, as had been mooted last year. He and Dennis fell out spectacularly in 2007.

Dennis said in the statement tonight, “My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance.

“Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.”

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471 Comments
  1. Gareth says:

    relief for Button, disaster for Mclaren and would Ross Brawn really want to work for Ron Dennis???

    1. ian says:

      Ron Dennis IS McLaren. He is an incredible man.

      A great shame if Martin Whitmarsh does leave all the same.

      1. David Hope says:

        During Ron’s time they had exactly the same issues as now with total inconsistency from one year to the next. Compare 2003-2004 or 2005 to 2006 or 2008 to 2009.

        Yes they aren’t doing great under Whitmarsh but they also lack the Mercedes backing they had before so I am not entirely surprised they are struggling a bit pre Honda.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Strange – as all the years you mention – they were the Mercedes works team..

      3. jay jacob says:

        Dennis/Brawn combo is awesome ! It wont be perfect but Ron will be eager to jump-start McLaren’s resurgence.. Ross maybe be the only available candidate in the market.

        Ross brings Mercedes’ technical hindsight which is invalueable to an upcoming power unit supplier like Honda, aiding McLaren’s 2016 title challenge.

    2. Chris says:

      Brawn will be heading back to Ferrari or maybe Williams in 2015, I could never see him at Mclaren but glad something is changing at the top Whitmarsh maybe a nice guy and that’s all he is really.

    3. Gudien says:

      Why relief for Button? It was Whitmarsh whom kept the underperforming Jenson Button on while deleting Sergio Perez. Does anyone seriously think Ron Dennis will see in Jenson Button a man capable of leading McLaren to a winning future in F-1?

      1. Costacoffee says:

        Gudien are you sure about Whitmarsh wanting to get rid of Perez. There’s a number of reputable sources that are reporting Whitmarsh wanted to keep Perez and that it was Dennis who wanted Perez out and that the fact that Perez was ousted was the first move in the coup.

      2. Dane says:

        Last I checked Button beat Perez last season.

      3. Doobs says:

        Button will retire soon. Perez could have had one or two seasons to get up to speed. He was sacked prematurely imo.

    4. Anthony says:

      relief for Button? Button is Whitmarsh golden boy

      1. Deeno says:

        My Thoughts exactly – If Jenson was 6Tenths faster mclaren would at least had 1 Podium. He rather concentrated bad mouthing Checco to keep him behind.
        After throwing away 2012 Martin should have had a stiff warning already.
        Anyway I fell out of love with mclaten after how they treated Checco

      2. WJohnson says:

        Were you ever really ‘in love’ with McLaren if you can get so upset about the team making a driver decision that didn’t favour Perez…

      3. Brace says:

        You’ve been a Mc fan for how long, a year or two?

    5. Joel says:

      If Dennis is in charge, Button can’t even think of any relief.
      Why is Dennis a disaster for McL?

      1. Gareth says:

        my odds were Alonso to replace Button in 2015. With Ron back there is no way Alonso will return. Although I agree Whitmarsh was not the man needed at Mclaren, apart from Ross Brawn who else is going to lead the team? Sam Michael???

      2. Joel says:

        Dennis is such a guy who wouldn’t mind running it himself until he could get confidence on someone who he feels can lead the team better. Currently, he may be looking at Ross who is the only one capable at the moment.
        Regarding drivers – I don’t think Alonso will go to Mcl if Ron is around. Also, if Magnussen performs well, or even slightly exceeds expectations – remember Alonso is in his twilight may be only a season or two in his peak, while Magnusses is very young.

      3. Andrew C says:

        Agreed. How on earth is Sam Michael still there. Hasn’t he been at the helm of two previously leading teams as they declined? Surely he’s absolutely on his way out first.

      4. Polomint says:

        Alonso put Dennis into the wall, he was the one who phoned Dennis and said if he didn’t make him number 1 at McLaren he would go to the Fia about the Ferrari Data. Dennis called Max right after that call ended, so you might want to rethink your statement about Alonso. This was confirmed by Max Mosley as well years after his FiA step down. Also regarding the comment “under performing” Button to the other poster! You have counted the total point since he has been at McLaren right? He scored 10 less points than Lewis over the three years together (a driver some think can walk on water) and beat him by 35 in one of those three seasons. Last year chassis was the issue, after over ten decades of front end changes for a lower CoG front end, kicking a decade of setup data out of the window, what did you expect?. Button isn’t the fastest qualifier on the grid, but I’ll tell you for those who are blind to the facts, he can race a good car and when fighting with his weakness of setup instability on his side, not many, if any can beat him on the day, you only have to look at the states to see are there are more races where he moved that car up the grid rather than backwards on race day. Besides, Dennis will look to keep JB, Magnessen has this year to prove himself and to some degree so does JB if Magnessen out performs him over the year if the chassis is not proving to be an issue. Honda love JB, and I think if likely Ross Brawn will take control of running McLaren upon arrival (it’s going to happen the writing is on the wall) with a McLaren Honda works deal and the huge Hugen R&D has Honda over small block turbo engines e.g. with their race winning HI13RT series engines now being run through LMP1 series (even with energy recuperation system in place), it’s a win win, will JB be number at McLaren? No perhaps not, but whoever is there, JB will scoring point and pushing for wins all the way to the end of the season.

      5. Charley says:

        @ polomint : jenson didnt throughly thrash lewis in any way shape or form.. Lewis had issues behind the scenes in 2011 and his mind wasnt in the game. He had an off year clearly and the death of two friends was the icing on the cake. Then in 2012 lewis lost like 70+ points or more due to failures and accidents that werent his fault. 2012 could have been a special year for lewis. the stats dont explain the story theyre just face value digits for casual fans.

    6. rich says:

      Yes if given free reign.

    7. bruno says:

      Wow ! Darth Vadar returns ! next we will here that Max Mosley is to replace Bernie.

      1. JCA says:

        Ironically, Max is probably the most qualified candidate ito experience, personality type and having a high enough profile. It’ll never happen, though.

      2. J.Danek says:

        Well yeah, and Max actually has too much foresight and integrity for post-FOTA F1.

      3. Doobs says:

        Perhaps Flavio..

    8. heinzman (fan of: ALO) says:

      Opposite actually, Button will be gone and McLaren will be whipped into sharp by Dennis. Good times!

    9. Quade says:

      Disaster for Witmarsh, you mean. Its gonna be a night of the lomg knives. Jenson too will be gone within a season, because Ron doesn’t do politics.

      1. Simple says:

        Ron doesn’t do politics? Might want to dig a little deeper there :) politics is exactly what Ron does.

      2. Hoarsewhisperer says:

        “Ron doesn’t do politics”

        What do you call his takeover? It was a long political battle that led to him being CEO again.

      3. Quade says:

        I mean Ron would NEVER become the victim of the sort of politics that would see a driver draping an arm around his shoulders (on TV), instead of the other way round. Things like that.

        Ron is definitely not the sort to waste smiles on any driver or other employee.

      4. radohc says:

        Ron doesn’t do politics – easily contender for quote of the year…

      5. Rich M says:

        Ron and Jenson get on great… They do joint charity events for Christ’s sake… Long knives… Let’s see.

      6. aditya-now says:

        “Ron doesn’t do politics?”

        “We are racing Fernando!”

      7. Storm says:

        haha. True. +1

    10. Supersi says:

      Who wouldnt want to work for Ron.
      Ron is one of the few people in this world who puts effort into their work. These days there are far too many people in the work place with a “it’ll do”, attitude.
      For me and obviously Ron too, anything but the very best is unacceptable.

      1. Rich M says:

        …he says writing on an F1 forum at 11:15 on a Friday morning…

      2. James Clayton says:

        Lucky that the every country in the world shares the same time zone, and very job is a 9-5 Mon-Fri deal. Otherwise there’d be a severe risk of you having made a lot of assumptions in your post!

      3. Bring back V12's !!! says:

        @Rich.. Wow what an arrogant comment? Who’s to say he doesn’t shift work or work on weekends? Total d!ck move there.

      4. Doobs says:

        Very good ;)

    11. Rupert Richardson says:

      Mmmmm… I really can’t see Ross working for Dennis

  2. Youngslinger says:

    As much as I like Martin, it is long overdue and Ross has always seemed to be the logical choice to replace him.

    1. Owen says:

      Yes, Martin comes across as “too nice” and has not really excelled I think – this year was a disaster and it’s time Mclaren stopped the slide. Looking forward to seeing how this develops!

      1. Krischar says:

        What makes you to say Whitmarsh has not excelled ?

        Mclaren turned around a hopeless machinery into race winner in the second half of 2009 season.

        Mclaren have produced much better cars in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Indeed two of them are potential WDC winners (10&12).Whitmarsh is clearly the better man when it comes to team management.Whitmarsh have managed the conflicts well between Lewis and Jenson. Dennis has much better public appeal and aggressive.

        Whitmarsh made two masssive errors under his reign 1.He let lewis go 2.Mclaren should have won the WDC in 2012 (Reliability and operational errors have costed them WDC in 2012)

      2. J.Danek says:

        Krischar I agree w/ the general thrust of your post. It’s far from cut-and-dried that the Dennis years were markedly better or more consistent than the Whitmarsh years, notwithstanding Lewis’s 2008 WDC.

      3. James Clayton says:

        By ‘this year’ I assume you mean last year?

        Even so, I’d say 2012 was a bigger disaster – Last year they designed a bad car – well that happens to the best of teams from time to time. It’s tough – but they seemed to maximize it’s (pretty poor) potential throughout the season.

        In 2012, failing to win the championship with a car that was the fastest out there for most of the year, due to a string of operational errors, is a much big failure – in my eyes, at least.

      4. Owen says:

        Yes I was referring to 2013! I agree, besides a disastrous 2013, despite having the fastest car at times during both 2011 and 2012, things never really came together over a whole season – too often they would start on the back foot only to drag themselves to the front – but it was always catch up – and of course the operational errors. Change is needed!

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Hmm, Ron the micro managing obsessive alongside Brawn who dislikes having authority over his position? It may be some peoples ‘dream team’ but Brawn has already got out of Mercedes because he’s not the ‘focal point’ – not sure he’d enjoy having every decision analysed, second guessed and wrestled with by Dennis.

      Even Ron’s biggest fans at McLaren admit he’s a total obsessive and won’t take a hands off approach no matter what.

      1. gpfan says:

        So true … Brawn shall be all Honda’d soon.

      2. bobster says:

        I disagree. Dennis did not interfere with Whitmarsh’s running of the team. He may not have liked it or thought things were done the way the he himself would have done, but he didn’t interfere, allowing Whitmarsh both authority and responsibility. All this whilst he was still CEO of the group that owns the F1 team.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        Err that is because Dennis was NOT the CEO and he’s been trying to get back into that role so he CAN interfere again. And he certainly waded into the Hamilton negotiations which was a cause of friction at McLaren racing. I don’t think you realise quite how autocratic and obsessive Ron is.

      4. Cliff says:

        Ron Dennis had no choice, he had to let go following the headlines in 2009. He had no power or influence over the race team not long after Australia 2009. He was not CEO of the group, that job title belonged to Martin Whitmarsh, Ron was Executive Chairman with a remit to develop the road car operation.

      5. Darren says:

        I see your point bobster but will counter that by saying thats exactly why Dennis has regained control, because he was not happy with the way things were happening.

      6. bobster says:

        Ah, I stand corrected. Dennis was not CEO of the group, just chair and he doesn’t seem to have been an executive chairman (which he was at McLaren automotive).

        OK. I stand corrected. I still don’t see it in that bad a light. He was reinstalled by the board, so it’s not an autocratic decision. He has only 15% of the group stock, so he had to find other shareholders to back him, which means that people owning a majority of the stock in McLaren think that Ron should have that job.

        One might disagree with that judgement, but Ron has got a mandate from the shareholders. He has not seized power.

    3. RobertS says:

      I agree. It feels like this was going to happen sooner or later (Martin being replaced).

      1. Peruvian says:

        Also agree, I have wrote many lines in this webpage about getting rifd of Whitmarsh, the guy count not even get a process running without fault, I am refering to changing tyres, MClaren was slow and full of mistakes under whitmarsh comand… come on, a simple process like changing tyres was not perfect, unscusable… so long Martin, you had your change, but it was not for you.

    4. J.Danek says:

      It will certainly be interesting to see if Martin gets the chop, and how much failure is formally attributed to him directly.

      Agreed though, Martin seems very likeable and McLaren F1 team w/o Ron has never quite seemed as focused and stable as before.

      1. From the ‘discussion’ in 1 and 2 above, one is reminded of the witches in “McBeth” tending their caldron. . .

        Perhaps folks might need to be reminded why it was he was pushed aside in the first place?

      2. J.Danek says:

        Like I said, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Whitmarsh and if he’s scapegoated or not. I purposefully didn’t suggest that he should be b/c I think it’s far from clear that he was markedly worse than Dennis as team principal.

      3. James Allen says:

        I don’t think you will see Whitmarsh in McLaren guise again

  3. TheBestPoint? says:

    nice

    1. W Johnson says:

      Welcome Back Ron :-)

      1. D@X says:

        Easily the most sophisticated man in F1, I admire his passion and drive. Never underestimate lord Vader! The force is certainly coming back stronger after years in exile…heads will roll.

      2. Tim says:

        Sophisticated??
        I don’t disagree with the general thrust of your post, but I am somewhat confused by your reference to sophistication.

  4. Rogelio Carballo says:

    Don’t bet against Formula 1. This sport is well known for making possible what is pure imagination. Alice in wonderland. I’d say there is more chances for this to happen now Dennis is on command.

    Just my two cents.

    1. Mitchel says:

      Too true.

      I also heard that Dennis is also going to bring back Lewis, and is playing tennis doubles with Montoya.

      Meanwhile, Anthony Hamilton and Simon Fuller are working on some lucrative title sponsorsip from Tango to bring back the classic orange livery..

      1. Simple says:

        I chuckled :)

      2. D@X says:

        Falling of the chair…laughing!

      3. Random 79 says:

        I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but this is patently a lie – Montoya is more than able to play doubles all by himself.

    2. Random 79 says:

      All I’ll say is that if Kimi can go back to Ferrari then anything is possible.

      1. bobster says:

        Different circumstances. I think that the objection against Alonso would be that he did not stand or fall with the team but set himself against them in a way that was very difficult to reconcile. That didn’t happen with Kimi and Ferrari.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Ferrari actually paid Kimi to leave. I imagine that was pretty difficult to reconcile ;)

      3. Kimi4WDC says:

        This.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Best. Comment. Ever. :)

  5. Nika Wattinen says:

    James, please could you remind us of the circumstances around Ron Dennis’ departure?

    This news follows hot on the heals of an easing of Bernie’s grip on F1 in light of his ongoing legal wrangles in Germany. Is there any correlation here?

    1. Nika Wattinen says:

      … and by ‘departure’, I refer to his handover to Martin Whitmarsh a few years ago.

      Thanks

      1. Luke says:

        He left the role as part of a deal with the FIA following the spying scandal

      2. Doobs says:

        Actually it was after Lie-gate; Lewie was told to lie to the stewards, some dude in the team was made the scapegoat and got sacked, Ron had to fall on his sword as Maccas were on a suspended disqual’y from Spy-Gate the previous year.

      3. Timmay says:

        noone wants to be team manager forever, growth in road cars was desired, and Hamilton (his protegy) had just won the title. No big story back then – this current news is more significant after Mclarens wretched 2013 & sub standard 2009-2012 leading to it (zero world titles).

      4. AuraF1 says:

        There were a lot of elements – partly Ron’s family felt he needed to take a step back and wanted to see a little more of him, partly he was expanding the overall McLaren group and had a lot of calls on his attention back in the UK and partly his personal animosity with half the FIA including Max were causing a lot of issues – exacerbated by the poor 2009 start to the season (remember whitmarsh haters that Ron oversaw the last dog of a McLaren it’s not been a steady decline with Whitmarsh…) and Lewis’ ‘lie gate’ about Hamilton pretending he hadn’t heard the instruction to give the place back. I also think there was something of a ‘handshake’ deal that Whitmarsh was due to take over at some point. Whitmarsh was a ‘fresh start’ for McLarens relationships with the FIA is the biggest reason I think. Though James may be able to correct me there!

      5. Ross Dixon says:

        He did but he also saw to it that that 2009 car would win races by the end of the season.

      6. AuraF1 says:

        He had less input into 2009 than the next year oddly enough as he was basically on home leave that year.

      7. Gabrielle says:

        Dennis wanted to be focused on others activities of the McLaren group, mainly their raod cars and things like that. And as Whitmarsh being Ron Dennis’s wing man, it was just a natural promotion.

      8. IJW says:

        He stepped down as a result of the $100M fine that McLaren got hit with by the FIA due to them being caught having Ferrari secrets in their possession.

      9. JEZ Playense says:

        Exactly. Being caught with his pants down in the Ferari fiasco, bad blood with the FIA/ Max M meant Ron had to go.

      10. Quade says:

        Ron left in what many believe was a deal with Max Mosely. According to this theory, it was either McLaren got the chop or Ron took it on the chin.

      11. D@X says:

        Ron just like Putin, leave for a while and put in a man you can easily brush aside when the time is right!

    2. Youngslinger says:

      Max Mosley!

    3. JCA says:

      Iirc, it was rumoured that his departure as TP was one of Max Mosleys demands in the settlement after Spy-gate. Max having a bit of a vendetta with Ron at the time.

    4. franed says:

      It was part of the McLaren punishment along with the $100m fine. Ron had to disappear from the limelight after Alonso tried to blackmail him, but instead reported to the FIA. Why Alonso was never punished we don’t know.

      BUT if McLaren do well in 2014 it will be Martin’s achievement not Ron’s most of the work is already finished.

      1. bobster says:

        Alonso wasn’t punished because FIA offered an amnesty to any McLaren driver who co-operated fully. Having done that they couldn’t then impose any sanction against Alonso. This might not be to everybody’s taste but it was all disclosed ahead of the 2nd spygate hearing.

        I don’t think there was any insistence from FIA or Mosley personally that Dennis disappear. After spygate he ran the team for the remainder of the 2007 season and the entire 2008 season before handing over to Whitmarsh early 2009. If FIA wanted him gone then why did he stick around for so long?

      2. Doobs says:

        He stepped down after the LieGate scandal.

    5. Joel says:

      More than BE, I think it has more to do with Max Mosley.

    6. DonSimon says:

      If I remember, he went to spend more time on the road car etc.

    7. heinzman (fan of: ALO) says:

      Did it not have something to do with lying to the FIA after the Australian GP in 2009?

    8. dazjstuart says:

      Was it not rumored to be something to do with spygate, a bit of a bargaining act with the FIA where they got off a bit lighter if he fell on his sword? It was always his intention to eventually hand over to Whitmarsh though.

      Did he not actually leave after Lewis Hamilton’s “liegate” in the Australian gp in 2009? Mclarens sporting director (i forget his name) got sacked and IIRC Dennis got dragged through the whole thing too so made himself scarce after that.

  6. Sanky says:

    wow great to see Ron back…great news for us Mclaren fans…Whitmarsh had almost made the team a joke…

    1. Yona says:

      You couldn’t say it better. And we would never have lost lewis had rron been around

      1. Davexxx says:

        Surely part of the reason why Lewis left McLaren was he was feeling his hands were tied too tightly with mighty McLaren’s Control obsession – of which Ron is harder and tougher than Martin.

      2. JMji says:

        Ron was probly harder but i believe since the button arrivals martin changed a lil bit and wasn’t and remember lewis was ron boy you couldnt see much care from martin in i bet it was partly cause martin and ron relations got sower a lil bit. martin did all he could to make lewis feel like ha wasnt part of that team and i can only see one reason “MARTIN” ron is tough i know but this wasn’t him beeing hard that why lewis left

    2. Joel says:

      Share that sentiment.

      1. DB4Tim says:

        Sad RD is tyrant…at least MW gave it class

      2. D@X says:

        Well Ron comes with his bags of tricks, be warned!

    3. Krischar says:

      @ Sanky

      Whitmarsh never made the team a joke

      In fact it was a Dennis who made the team a complete mockery in 2007. 2008 WDC was the most luckiest title mclaren have ever won in the history (NO disrespect to lewis. He deserves the WDC due to his own performances)

      Whitmarsh manged the expectations well since 2009. Mclaren have produced a competitive cars in 2010,2011 and 2012. Indeed 2010 and 2012 cars were good enough to win the WDC. Mclaren have also changed the tide in 2009 season from medicore car to a race winner in second half of the season.

      I expect a successful season for Mclaren in 2014. However this news will be a blow for them

  7. Ian N says:

    James, is it that unlikely Ron would want to run the team himself on a day to day basis? I would have thought he could only see himself running it. The only reason he stepped down as team principal was he was forced to.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think so. He has overall responsibility for McLaren Group now and the car operation needs a lot of work

      1. Prudence says:

        James, what needs work at the McLaren car business?

      2. gpfan says:

        Running the darn company!

      3. Mad Kiwi says:

        Running the business!!! Companies don’t run themselves you know!

      4. Timmay says:

        Making & selling cars.

      5. Joel says:

        @gpfan,Mad Kiwi, Timmay – May be Ron found an excellent salesman (cough..Bernie..cough) who may lose his job anytime to sell his cars
        :)

      6. C Lin says:

        I think you are right James. But I would love to see him back as TP.

      7. James Clayton says:

        Would he not be better off delegating the road car operation to somebody who has a successful history in that market?

      8. Joel says:

        I think an excellent salesman is about to lose his job and may be a nice match :)

      9. Leslie D'Amico says:

        Exactly James, I see Dennis this time around as the Montezemolo of McLaren. I also see Whitmarsh as the Domenicali of McLaren. Ross Brawn’s phone will be ringing for sure.

      10. hero_was_senna says:

        That will hurt Ron, he see’s himself as Mclaren’s Enzo Ferrari..

      11. Leslie D'Amico says:

        guessn he doesn’t remember a man named Bruce???

  8. Jeb Hoge says:

    Brawn also has had a bit of luck with one Jenson Button, currently at McLaren as well. McLaren + Honda + Brawn + Button…wouldn’t that be something?

    1. TheBestPoint? says:

      yes but Button did not leave Brawn in the best of circs…

      1. Hoarsewhisperer says:

        Well, if you mean after giving Brawn a title in a car they couldn’d afford to develop in season, paying his own travel, and taking a pay cut he he went for the best ride available. Yeah he left them in a bad way. It was surprising, but I don’t recall anything like Alonso/Dennis going on.

    2. Sebee says:

      Yeah, not hard to connect the dots.

      Mercedes cannot be happy. There are many bright sides, but this McLaren organization headed by Ron is something. May we review?
      At this point:
      McLaren has whipped Mercedes 3 seasons to 1, even if they keep laying low in 2014, it’s still 3:2
      If Ross is coming, as appears to be the case, he’s bringing all the Mercedes knowledge with him.
      Schumi, Mercedes brand ambassador is critical.
      Lewis, their expensive hire is even with Nico, and as James has expressed in his expert opinion, maybe not quiten.
      And heaven forbid 2014 Mercedes get their engines handed to them by Ferrari and Renault – a real possibility of course, and then what?

      This is quite interesting. I thought Mercedes devistated McLaren with the run on their team staff and driver, but it appears the pheonix may be rising from the ashes.

      1. W Johnson says:

        I hope Mercedes won’t be happy……after poaching McLaren’s top driver and Chief Designer.

        What goes around, comes around.

      2. Joel says:

        Nice story, or dare I say dream !
        Too early to write an obituary either way.

      3. KRB says:

        I don’t really get your point. That McLaren will bounce back? Anyone that’s watched at least 5 years of F1 will see that they always do.

        I never expected McLaren to be as bad as they were last year, even with all the poaching hitting them. I would be shocked if they were the same this year, and especially when Honda comes on board.

        Brawn at the end of 2009 was a shell of a team, and Merc at first were reluctant to pour in the necessary monies. Plus McLaren’s driver pairing was better from 2010-12. Now Mercedes have the better driver pairing, and the monies/resources are now there.

      4. Sebee says:

        My point was that in deed they will bounce back. But there is more to that bounce back. It’s that they will bounce back after what is without doubt the loss of their biggest partner plus driver. And not only did they lose that partner, but that partner became an agressive enemy. Top that off with having to remain in that partnership as this is happening. (Which is why I honestly think 2013 McLaren submitted to Mercedes by choice, it was not a fluke that they performed as they did)

        Honestly, when Mercedes relationship turned like this, I was thinking that McLaren will fall down like Williams. Yet they appear to issue a few big blows back at Mercedes. Fascinating that it is possible.

        It was also to point out that the balance of good news and bad news at Mercedes F1 has been about even.

        Finally, it’s mighty interesting that Brawn is being spoken about here at McLaren. I say interesting, because after all, much of the McLaren damage done by Mercedes happened on his watch, while he was being beaten by McLaren with Schumi/Nico – a very good pairing. I’m not sure he was a big part of the 2013 moves, and even if he already had his foot out the door before first Gp of 2013, it was on “his watch”.

      5. H.Guderian says:

        You forgot the main point, the driver. Do you think Dennis will hire Alonso again??? They need a top driver.

    3. sean says:

      Errrr….no. If it was, Brawn wouldn’t have ejected button from his championship winning team.

      1. Random 79 says:

        It was my impression that Button left Brawn/Mercedes by his own volition.

      2. Joel says:

        Well, Button wanted more from Brawn to stick around – not remembering that it was Brawn’s ideas (DD) along with the entire team’s hardwork (against the pull out of Honda) that helped him win it. Meanwhile, the “over-enthusiastic” Matrin swooped down with a BIG paycheck and the deal was done.
        Brawn gave the team a great gift by laying-off quite a few but thats a different argument.

      3. Andrew J says:

        Button made his own way to McLaren. He wasn’t pushed.

      4. Cliff says:

        Not quite, contract talks were going slows and the doors to McLaren opened for JB. Ross Brawn stopped negotiations when he heard that JB visited the MTC whilst negotiations were ongoing.

      5. Doug says:

        Brawn asked Button to stay and offered him more money than McLaren.

    4. furstyferret says:

      Your right, apart from the last name, button is not a dennis type of driver, a good team man, and on his day very quick, but those days a getting fewer and fewer, dennis likes a bit of mongrel in his main man, if whitmarsh does go, its bad news for button, he wont be at mclaren when the honda deal kicks in..

      1. Quade says:

        You don’t think there’s a mongrel in Jenson? There’s got to be a mongrel in every F1 driver, maybe even a bit of goat – its that animal edge that makes the special; the more the animal, the more the driver.

      2. Andrew J says:

        JB has a good relationship with Honda from days of yore, and is popular in Japan. I’m not sure you can dismiss his potential presence at McLaren in 2015 so easily.

      3. Joel says:

        1. How is JB’s great relationship with Honda going to help either Mcl or Honda – he is not in the weeds on the engine. It doesn’t make him faster either.
        2. “and is popular in Japan” – this is the type of popularity contest that Ron doesn’t entertain, while MW may.

      4. Kimi4WDC says:

        Wishful thinking.

      5. AndyK says:

        Who is the longest serving McLaren driver of all time? David Coulthard. Never won the title but Ron Dennis employed him for 8 years. I don’t know how you figure that JB isn’t a ‘Dennis type of driver’

      6. Kimi4WDC says:

        If Magnusen turns out to be a Champion, Ron might keep Button as Kevin’s side kick. Otherwise it’s a cut – as people mentioned Button’s days when he is fast are fewer and fewer.

    5. Sri says:

      Of that four, the weak link is Button and that matters a lot as it would be defining the difference between a super team and a good team.

  9. John Wainwright says:

    Interesting times ahead at McLaren it seems. I can’t say I’m surprised. Martin comes across on TV as a very likable chap but this doesn’t make him a good leader. Ron’s attention to detail is both well known and staggering. I remember hearing stories a few years back that he even gets the gravel on his drive washed frequently. True or not, it is testament to his talent. I don’t think that the disasterous pit cock ups and general tardiness of 2012 that arguably cost Hamilton a WDC…or at least given him the opportunity to fight for one. And yes Jenson lost points too down to team cock ups. Maybe if his points tally had reflected his performance he would not be sometimes regarded as a ‘flukey WDC”. I personally don’t subscribe to this view. I think Jenson is a very good driver just not one of the elite drivers. I can’t think of many better team leaders than Ron but I’d hate to live with the bloke.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “I remember hearing stories a few years back that he even gets the gravel on his drive washed frequently. True or not, it is testament to his talent.”

      I’d really like to know how you equate washing gravel to talent.

    2. ian says:

      All good points, but Jenson is most definitely an elite driver -
      there just happens to be a few drivers who could be termed the elite of the elite.

    3. Erik says:

      Yeah, would hate to live with him. But whilst he’s not well liked in terms of personality I think he is very much respected and feared. Kinf of like Montezemolo at Ferrari but take out tthe flamboyance and substitute with attention to detail.

      I have a feeling that Dennis (along with others) was somehow caught up in Mosley’s sad vengeance seeking political game after he was humiliated publicly. It was never really made clear by the media why he left in the first place. Reeked of politics.

      Anyway perhaps this will be McLarens revival, boy do they need one.

      1. Joel says:

        “after he was humiliated publicly”

        who got humiliated here – RD or MM. Can you please refresh my memory? Are you referring to the crazy party that MM was having and got leaked out?

      2. Erik says:

        Yeah thats it.. MM was humiliated in public, after which he made it public knowledge that he was out for blood. Not in those words exactly but it was very clear. Geez I’m glad he’s gone…

    4. David H says:

      I agree. And following up on your last sentence, I bet there are a few big bosses in McLaren that will have trouble reporting to Ron and he knows it.
      He may persuade Ross to shorten his sabatical.

      1. Joel says:

        Ross to MCL is quite a possibility, inspire of the naysayers. Remember a few weeks back it was reported that Ron met with Ross? Although Ron dismissed it as routine, there may be some substance there.

    5. Chris Ralph says:

      I think we might see a much more effective Jenson this year. He has had huge changes in the recent past with the death of his excellent papa and now the return old the olde order which would be reinforced if Mr Brawn returned. In a way the new engines/regs can play right into his hands. He now has the chance to claim his place in the hall of the greats.

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        Maybe, but obviously it depends on the car as well. I remember Berger coming back, I think after a family member death and sinus illness, and tearing up Hockenheim to win for Benneton again…completely out of the blue.

      2. Joel says:

        “new engines/regs can play right into his hands.”

        Care to explain how?

      3. Chris Ralph says:

        Because the counter is being reset. The unknowns will shuffle the pack (and yes of course the usual suspects will probably shine through) but it has the possibility of being Act II for Jenson. The death of a father can often cause a new sense of purpose and determination as a son finds new resolve to excel further in honour of his father’s name. Add the impact of change at McLaren plus the different equipment and he could rise to the occasion. Or not. I was deeply sorry to hear about John Button, he seemed the sort of bloke who may have said this sort of thing himself. Jenson can rise to it I think in this make or break situation.

      4. Jeremy J says:

        Also, on a more concrete note, I would expect that, given his driving style, Jenson will be able to drive quicker in ‘fuel-saving mode’ than many other drivers, and ‘fuel-saving mode’ might become a synonym for ‘grand prix’ if some of the direr forecasts come true.

        (wow, that was some sentence, more clauses than UN resolution)

      5. Quade says:

        He is good on his day when things are just right, but he has never been a great.
        This years cars will be particularly difficult to set up (Jensons weak spot), so I expect it to be another poor year for him.

        We will see if Magnussen has any F1 feel or skill as well.

    6. Random 79 says:

      “I can’t think of many better team leaders than Ron but I’d hate to live with the bloke”

      Maybe, but at least you wouldn’t have to worry about having a dirty driveway ;)

      1. mzgd says:

        If the talk about the driveway, is true, it is classic obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Nobody would want to either live or work alongside a guy like that.

      2. Random 79 says:

        He’s not that neat and tidy: Whenever he cuts himself he drips McLarens everywhere.

    7. Rockie says:

      “I don’t think that the disasterous pit cock ups and general tardiness of 2012 that arguably cost Hamilton a WDC…or at least given him the opportunity to fight for one.”

      This statement is just funny 2 retirements and 3 pitstop mistakes, same as most it just like when Vettel was called the crash kid in 10 because of the race at spa!
      What of when Hamilton himself messed up in ’12 its not talked about just when team messes up!

      1. Elie says:

        Singapore and Abu Dhabi he was leading the races. Two of the 3 pitstop failures were when he was challenging for the lead. His fuel penalty also cost him a certain pole and a strong chance at the lead.
        We all know its hard to hear, but its the truth- he had the speed in the car and was one of the best drivers in 2012. He was certain to challenge for the championship. Why do you think he left. He could not waste another 5 years at Mclaren. Same thing happened to kimi and he won in his first year at Ferrari!

      2. Rockie says:

        His main pitstop error was in Bahrain he was already beaten by all apart from Alonso and won’t have finshed near the front also Vettel had the same underfueling issue in Australia he was n pole n finished 3rd in Germany he had a puncture n wanted to retire whennthing was wrong with the car in the two races he retired it was early in the races.

      3. Torchwood Five says:

        The reason the team failures are talked about more, are because points that a championship contender loses that are outside his control, are more significant to most observers, than those lost because the driver himself ****’s up.

        When a driver is top of his game in Friday Practice, Qualifying, and is ahead in the race, surely you must see, Rockie, that what the team does to trip him up, matters more to the rest of us, who want to see someone get something out of trying hard.

      4. Quade says:

        Hamilton did not mess up in 2012 and should have won the title if not for McLaren’s vast bank of errors.

      5. Rockie says:

        Same way Vettel would have been untouchable if he didn’t have failures!

      6. Quade says:

        What has Vettel got to do with this topic? Or am I missing something?

      7. Elie says:

        Most of the world know this to be true. Everything, team, car & driver has to be aligned fir domeone to be champ.

      8. Joel says:

        In 2012 the only mistake on Hamilton was when he and Maldonado came together – that too I would blame Maldonado more for it than Lewis. Can you recall any other?
        There was an article in this same website doing the math – you may want to take a look at that too.

      9. Rockie says:

        Maybe you need to watch a review of the 2012 season in Australia he qualified on pole and finished 3rd Button won that race car failures he was not alone Vettel had failures as well so did Button!

      10. Joel says:

        “Maybe you need to watch a review of the 2012 season in Australia he qualified on pole and finished 3rd”

        You call that as a mistake? I call that as your teammate being sly in finding something and not sharing, all the while feeding on what you shared to the team.
        Thats why Lewis in 2012 categorically said he learnt nothing from button, despite button feeling otherwise.

      11. Rockie says:

        This is the funniest opinion I have read in a long time!
        Button being sly is why Hamilton lost from pole, what next?

      12. Sean Hastie says:

        Hamilton fans make me laugh with all this jenson bashing

      13. Bryce says:

        Turkey was the “crash kid”s best effort.

      14. Rockie says:

        That was ’10 Hamilton still makes that kind of mistake case in point Brazil ’13 vs Bottas.

  10. Craig says:

    I assume it is not guaranteed that Martin will be sacked?

    He seems like one of the most genuine and likeable people in Formula One, and whilst some would argue that’s the last thing you need to be to run an F1 team I would be sad to see him go.

    If I were a driver I’d much rather drive for Martin than someone like Horner or new Merc clan.

    1. Joel says:

      Likeable bosses are usually bad for the business.

  11. Tim says:

    ….and if that is not enough in one day

    ….. the best politics to follow anywhere year-round

    …….and every two weeks a race breaks out to keep ya entertained…sweet

  12. kfzmeister says:

    “The news makes it unlikely that there will be a place for Fernando Alonso at the team, as had been mooted last year. He and Dennis fell out spectacularly in 2007.”

    How so? Wasn’t it Dennis who mentioned something along the lines of water under the bridge?
    I could completely see Alonso going there again in 2015, especially if this year turns out to be a pooper again!!

    1. Joel says:

      Yes, but did you hear what Alonso said of that incident as recent as late last year? You will change your mind as I remember him particular calling out Ron (without using his name obviously) as the reason for the fallout.

  13. Matt W says:

    Excellent news for Mclaren. Whitmarsh seems a nice guy but results show he never really stepped us as team manager. F1 tends to stay away from knee jerk sackings like in football, but Whitmarsh stepping down now is the right time.

  14. JoeW says:

    I expect that Ron’s Emotion Control Centre is currently registering above average levels of Smug.

  15. Stephen Taylor says:

    Next Mclaren team principals = Jeremy Clarkson , Richard Hammond and James May.

  16. Anil Parmar says:

    What does this mean for Jenson Button? A driver in the latter part of his career who, whilst loved by Whitmarsh, isn’t on the level of Vettel/Alonso.

    Ron knows that to win the titles, they need the best drivers.

    1. H.Guderian says:

      “Ron knows that to win the titles, they need the best *DRIVER*”.

      YES!!!

      How many top drivers (CAPABLE OF LEADING A TEAM) are available???

      8-)

      (ONE)

  17. Richard says:

    Well I guess Martin Whitmarsh has had his shot at running the team, and it makes dismal reading. The best performance was potentially 2012 when had McLaren not made so many operational errors and technical miscalculations Lewis Hamilton could have won the championship again. Personally I’m glad he’s back in control, and while I don’t necesarily agree with everything he did, hopefully there will be an end to the slack way Whitmarsh ran this team. As to who will be the new team principal is anyones guess. I think Ross Brawn is getting too old for the cut and thrust so let’s wait and see.

  18. Truth or Lies says:

    Tough on Martin Whitmarsh, though I imagine the news brought a smile down Mexico way.

    Be interesting to see what Ron Dennis does next, its a bit like back to the future ! But in fairness McLaren need some new direction and a title sponsor and someone has to answer for the awful car decisions made last winter.

    Ross Brawn ?? I haven’t a clue, but maybe he’d be a better fit at Williams that’s assuming he even wants to get back in at the sharp end. Maybe Paddy Lowe should have stayed in Woking after all.

  19. goferet says:

    Well it’s about time.

    Welcome back Big Ron and ironically Ron Dennis joined the team first time round in 1980 and turned them into a power house that they are now.

    Only difference now is that Big Ron is not a young 33 year old upstart that’s burning with new ideas for now we have a 66 year old battle weary boss which is tantamount to Michael Jordan coming out of retirement to play for the Wizards.

    As for Whitmarsh, am not sure his position is under threat for numerous times in the past we heard Ron Dennis backing Whitmarsh and giving him the vote of confidence so we wait and see.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the team fairs in the coming years considering they will be ending their partnership with Mercedes >>> Will it be a case of you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.

  20. Dmitry says:

    Hmmm, one more unexpected piece of news.

    I really hope Martin won’t get completely sacked, he is a nice guy, but possibly not the best team boss.
    Never thought I would say so, but – Ross Brawn will be great in McLaren!

    And what more can I add… It’s great Ron is back! Many don’t like him for many reasons, but I always was fond of him!

  21. Anne says:

    About time! Ross Brawn would be ideal (Honda and Button)But I could see him clashing with Ron.

  22. D Vega says:

    Dennis speaking of Alonso during Dec. 2013 said, “One has to recognise [that] the first objective of any grand prix team is to win races. Whatever obstacles sit between a team wanting to win and winning, be it engineering, fiscal or human issues, you resolve them. [One] never says never.”

    1. James Clayton says:

      Yea. But I doubt Alonso’s thoughts on the issue are as clear cut.

    2. Rockie says:

      That statement does not infer in anyway he would employ Alonso, as he says whatever it takes to win, its not like Alonso is winning for Ferrari!

      1. Krischar says:

        [mod]
        Without alonso Ferrari would have easily Finished mid-Table all the season from 2010 to 2013

        Alonso is the real deal and a WIZARD. I repeat it a genius who knows how to deliver.

        I do not care whether RON or mclaren hire alonso anyways. Yet Ron himself clearly knows he can get the results and WDC from Alonso if the oppurtunity is provided.

      2. Rockie says:

        Alonso had the fastest car at Mclaren was a 2* WDC but couldn’t beat a rookie hence his championship drought.
        He is no WIZARD like you say, when you qualify a car that has better race pace behind you look good passing slower cars! ’14 would show us what we need to know about Alonso and also Bottas.
        For me he’s over rated as in this era of F1 if you can’t qualify well you are toast.
        He’s in a team all resources diverted to him and can’t still perform, if he wins its his skill if he fails its Ferrari that built a crap car truth is he has made his bed at Ferrari so he should lie in it.

      3. D Vega says:

        Ba-zing!

      4. KRB says:

        That statement can only IMPLY that he might again employ Alonso (I’ll believe it when I see it) … it is the reader(s) of that statement that would INFER.

        Besides that, another altogether tiresome post.

    3. Quade says:

      Haha! Thats classic Ronspeak! The robot era is back! The year of the TerminatRon.

  23. Mattij says:

    Wasn’t McLaren supposed to announce a new title sponsor at end of 2013?

    Didn’t happen & Whitmarsh therefore out?

    1. Chris NZ says:

      The announcement was delayed. Vodafone has been taken off the mclaren website. Probably expect an announcement before the car launch.

    2. Cliff says:

      Apparently later this month for the Title Sponsor. Vodafone were still in place until 31.12.2013. Contracts tend to dictate that you cannot announce your new Sponsors/acquisitions until your current agreement runs out.

  24. EMG says:

    I do not like Ron. But against my feelings he is the best CEO in F1. Whitmarsh is like Domenicali, smart but too light for this business.
    Ron loves his Mclaren tho. The spy saga, the 2009 australian issue etc. forced him to pull back, yet he did it in the interest of the company, if not it would have dragged it to the hell. With Whitmarsh they hoped to reestablish the group but it is simply not enough and yet again money are talking and everyone agrees that things needs to go back where they belong.
    Mclaren are not a Williams, but with Williams being a mid field for a long years it clearly proves that F1 is not F1 without those teams.
    Who thinks Ferrari is F1 is wrong. Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams, even Sauber ARE F1. Without any of those it is game over.
    Red Bull, great company, but that’s it, when the top isn’t achievable they will be gone. They are simply a huge investment for a bigger investment.
    Who ever things Ron getting back is a mistake makes a big mistake. Just as in real world…when money are taking over…everything turns upside down. I don’t think it is the case here…

    1. James Clayton says:

      “Who thinks Ferrari is F1 is wrong. Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams, even Sauber ARE F1. Without any of those it is game over.”

      The same would have been said of Lotus, Tryell and Brabham years ago.

      If any one of those teams were to disappear tomorrow, F1 would still go on. Ferrari and McLaren may take a sizable following with them (I think you over estimate Willams’, and certainly Sauber(!)’s modern-day impact on the sport) but the show would go on.

      So – a big team dropping out suddenly might make a reasonable sized splash in the sport (if not enough to bring it anywhere near close to its knees), but if a team like McLaren slowly fizzled out, dropping down to mid field, then backmarker (the way Williams sadly have been doing in the last few years), and finally bust, the impact would be negligible by the time they finally dropped out.

    2. Rockie says:

      “Red Bull, great company, but that’s it, when the top isn’t achievable they will be gone.”

      Redbull are heavily invested in F1 compared to any other team so where does this nonsense of them leaving come from?
      They own half of Toro Rosso despite only winning one race since they invested there he has not pulled out from the team but you believe that the team that has won the quadruple and would more than likely match Ferrari this year by winning its 5th championship would pull out now that its making money is beyond ridiculous.
      Redbull sponsor a lot of extreme sports and they have not pulled out!
      If you can send a man to space for the fun of it investing in F1 is the least of their problems and they also own the A1 ring now which is part of the F1 calender.

  25. Robert in San Diego says:

    Like him or not, Ron is a leader. Martin is easy to like as a bloke but does not appear to have the leadership gene. I am a Jensen fan but I think he will do better with strong taskmaster like Ron or Ross behind him.

    Jensen will also benefit from strong leader now that John has gone on to pastures new.

    Great news for McLaren who seem to have lost direction over the last couple of years. Who knows? Lewis May still be there with Ron’s hands on leadership.

    1. AlexD says:

      They guy that you are a fan of is Jenson

      1. Robert in San Diego says:

        Hate those automatic spellers. I put in Jenson but it changed it. I just had to override it!

  26. Chris McMahon says:

    It always struck me that Ron Dennis fell on his sword when he stepped down & he was never ever able to let the F1 team fully go. He has been turning up in the pits regularly for someone with ‘nothing to do with the F1 team anymore’…
    I can imagine the pressure & intimidation Martin Whitmarsh must have felt as a result.
    I can only see Dennis having a bigger involvement now. Probably good for the team as a whole but I’m not sure for everyone else.
    A complex chap. Never at ease with the media or being plain speaking. ‘Ron-speak’ is the norm :-/

    1. James Clayton says:

      I look forward to hearing about a “very disciplined race” in which the drivers “could have gone faster” next time McLaren get a 1-2!

  27. Paul D says:

    It’s been clear for some time this needed to happen and Ron’s made it happen. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s a leader and a winner.

    Hopefully Mclaren can now halt the slide and get back to the top.

    Di Montezemelo needs to do something very similar in the near future.

  28. Richard says:

    Nothing at MCL should surprise anyone?? Like most people MW comes over as a nice guy but come on MCL not getting a single podium?? I wouldn’t,t let Whitmarsh run a bath!!

    1. Scott D says:

      Bit unfair to judge him on last season without considering all the wins/podiums in previous years under his management.

  29. Gustavo says:

    Feel bad for Martin Whitmarsh as he seems a very likable person, but F1 is business and business take no prisoners. As a McLaren fan, I must confess I’ve lost a huge amount of interest in the F1 team over the past few years. The Automotive division is more exciting now and In my view, the team only has itself to blame for losing two world championships in the past five years and that’s ultimately the responsibility of the guy running things. I still cannot understand why it is so difficult for McLaren to simplify its structure and to effectively leverage the extraordinary resources it has.

    Regardless of whether you like the man or not, Ron Dennis IS McLaren. He’s built it into what it is and from the outside nobody else there seems to have even a fraction of the passion he has for the brand and that to me is key. I just hope Ron hires a very good personal coach who can perhaps help him manage communications and relationships much better than he has been able throughout his career.

  30. Dale says:

    Bring Hamilton back for 2015, top teams have to have a top driver and Alonso won’t go back now and Button just isn’t one.
    Give Hamilton the car at least equal best and he’ll be faster than the rest.
    I would imagine Mosley is not a happy man this evening!

    1. Rockie says:

      So the Merc is not fast enough!

      1. Dale says:

        Well it wasn’t compared to Vettel’s Redbull was it?
        Maybe this year’s Mercedes will be just as fast though I reckon Newey will still design the best car although it may be a little fragile till he gets to grips with the new cooling requirements.
        The point re McLaren though is a top team needs a top driver and McLaren don’t currently have one.

      2. Rockie says:

        As far as I recall Button is a WDC just like Hamilton so he’s a top driver.
        Not to start a Button v Hamilton debate bth in same team wins 8 vs 10 so I don’t see a difference between both.
        From a cnstructors perspective Button was more valuable than Hamilton!

      3. Quade says:

        Dude, give it up. Most people don’t do the But vs Ham thing, because it is ridiculous. One is among the top 3 drivers, the other is not… And there the story ends.

      4. Sean Hastie says:

        I’m sorry this Hamilton things bugs me his not as good as people think and button is in par with him I can name at least 3 better drivers than Lewis people need to get a grip

      5. Quade says:

        No, Lewis BELONGS in a McLaren.

      6. Dale says:

        In a winning one :D

    2. Elie says:

      Right on Dale & Quade-Hamilton IS a top 4 driver- Button top7 at best. But your talking to a brick wall on this subject..

  31. Ashboy says:

    Exciting times are coming to Woking! That roundabout will be lit up red a lot next year!

    I wouldn’t bet against Alonso rejoining them or even Vettel, and Ross Brawn is definitely joining. They have already agreed it, but he had to take a “break” to give Dennis time to re take controll.

  32. Peter says:

    In all the years you’ve been working within f1 James, would you say that Ron’s management style was the most dictatorial?

  33. Toronto Joe says:

    Hmm…
    There is a lot more going on here, it seems it must be under the surface.
    Has there been any statement indicating that Whitmarsh is going?
    Currently, my read is (a temporary) no change; so a dismissal or re-confirmation is pending.
    Since Ross Brawn is out until mid-2014, I can’t see how they could swap to him for 2014.
    Perhaps someone could do whatever is possible to validate the Ross Brawn working constraints; i.e. could he come back anytime, or, does he likely have contractual constraints associated to his settlement with Mercedes?

    As for “The news makes it unlikely that there will be a place for Fernando Alonso at the team, as had been mooted last year.”
    I don’t understand why this is even suggested.
    Let us assume that Ron Dennis will NOT be taking day-to-day direct management control at McLaren racing operations.
    Ron wouldn;t have a problem if the team director selected the best available driver, even if that driver was Alonso; I think he’s over that.
    On the other side, if it looked like McLaren were competitive this year, and the best information Alonso could get about the Honda engine was that it is going to be very competitive, does anyone really think that Alonso would NOT go to McLaren-Honda.
    If those conditions were in place, Alonso CERTAINLY would go the McLaren, if he thought it was the best drive available!!!
    (don’t kid yourself – everything is water under the bridge if the a team has the best option and wants you to drive – based on past behaviour, Alonso has a high probability of going to such a situation regardless of the team principle, even if it was Dennis!)

    As the threats fray at the team that beat McLaren into the top four last year, I reckon their very well demonstrated proficient team principle would be high on the list of Whitmarsh replacements, even if French is his first language.

    1. Flying_Scotsman says:

      I thought McLaren allowed Paddy Lowe to join Mercedes early.
      Surely the least they can expect is Mercedes to release Ross early in return.

    2. Joel says:

      If Alonso/Ron could forget and move on, so can Alonso/Luca. There is no reason for Alonso to leave Ferrari.
      Ferrari is well known for building bullet proof engine and now with a strengthened aero-team, Ferrari is his best chance for his 3rd crown.

      1. H.Guderian says:

        Come on!!!!
        Ferrari is a *huge* mess.
        They will never win with LdM and Dom.

        On the other hand, McLaren+Ron+Brawn+Alonso+Honda+Santander(with a ton of money)….. UNBEATABLE

    3. Toronto Joel says:

      Namesake – Jan. 17th, 2014 at 4:32am

      If it turns out that Ferrari have the best prospect for machinery, I couldn’t agree more that Alonso will most definietly ‘get over’ the Luca spat.
      Of course, at Ferrari 2014, he’ll still has to best the driver, whom many, including myself, think is the faster racer, to take the top step.
      However, though optimism about Ferrari’s hope for improvement for 2014 abounds, their history, as it has been pointed out to me on these pages, is not so good in turbo-charged eras. Definitely NOT bullet-proof.
      Also, the very high number of new variables means that any trend analysis about this year’s comparatives is only hot air, at the moment. It’s too variable, there could be fantastic outcomes far outside what would have been reasonable for 2013.
      So we just don;t know where his best chance of a third WDC is yet.
      But if YOU do, please send the coming Saturday’s winning lotto numbers for the national lottery here in Canada.

  34. Mark Boyers says:

    Good to see Ron back and I think it would be great for Ross to join Him…… They need everything they can to beat Red Bull…… Good luck McLaren!

  35. David says:

    I had understood that Dennis said sometime last year that as far as he was concerned, Alonso would not be unwelcome at the team in the future. Is that right?

    1. Joel says:

      While Dennis seems to have moved on, based on his comments towards the end of last season, Alonso wasn’t. Alonso’s comment said something like MCL is a great team with wonderful engineers with whom I have no problems with – it was just with one man (implying Ron). Underneath the hood, I still don’t think that Alonso and Dennis will have a working relationship, although nothing is certain in F1

    2. H.Guderian says:

      Exactly.
      He said that on Autosports two months ago.

  36. Dave Deacon says:

    I recall they had the fastest car in 2012… and made a mistake in 2013. I recall JB finished 2nd in 2011. MW is not then so bad at it. Luck plays a part too. Maybe he will get this year to get it right. Maybe JB will be pushed by Mag enough to win often – hope not another Perez. Perhaps RD will simply add a direction and purpose behind the scenes. Exciting times.

  37. Erik says:

    Hmm, if true Whitmarsh and Dennis kept their spat last year pretty quiet.. I always thought Ron was a big fan of Martin’s..

    Got a feeling Button doesn’t have a long future at McLaren then. Dennis always made sure there was a rockstar at McLaren – Prost, Senna, Hakinen, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso. Button won’t be measuring up to Ron’s standards AND Button very much seems to be Whitmarsh’s man. Would be interesting to see what Button thinks of all of this.

  38. Grant H says:

    About time

  39. Rich B says:

    whitmarsh hasn’t covered himself in glory by far and his choice of perez when hulk was available wasn’t smart but is he mclarens main problem?
    was the disastrous 2013 whitmarsh’s fault by poor organisation or the designers and technicians for producing a duff car. I guess he could’ve stopped them being too adventurous and just developed the ’12 winning car.

    dropping him is understandable but under ron’s guidance McLaren didn’t do much better between ’92 & ’97 and ’00 & ’06

    1. mzgd says:

      I stand corrected, but the choice of Perez over Hulk was alway related to a possible long-term deal with Telmex. So, it was a business decision which eventually did not work out.

  40. jay dee says:

    I may be wrong but has Ron ever realy stopped running Mclaren in the first place,,? I always felt that him leaving the race team to concentrate on the sports car project was because Mosley and Ecclestone pushed him out after the whole spygate debacle. Now with Bernie in the doc for bribery and Max long gone I find the timing of his return very amusing.

  41. zombie says:

    I hope Ross wont make the mistake of joining Mclaren. Ross’ future lies in FIA, and Ron Dennis’ nature of being a bit of a control freak is exactly the reason why Ross quit Mercedes in the first place. Another guy who needs to be immediately replaced is Stefano Domenicalli. He seems like an amicable guy, but he is no leader. I dont know what Montezemolo was thinking when he let Ross go. Ross should have naturally been the principal for the entire Scuderia Ferrari, Jean Todt leading the car business, and Michael continuing in a marketing/advisory role. It was such a perfect situation, and LdM ruined it all.

  42. David Hope says:

    Well hopefully Ron won’t take over again. People seem to have short memories – he was just as bad as Whitmarsh. 1992-1997 they never looked like total contenders. 1998 – 2000 they were good but that was because they had just got Newey. 2001-2006 were one year good one year bad, just like recently then 2007-8 they had 2 good years before another bad one in 09.

    So really for a very long time Mclaren have had some big problems in the way they approach the car given they continually seem to lurch between being a good team and an average one.

    I suspect someone external is essential. Brawn would certainly fit and I’m sure many others could too who aren’t in the media spotlight right now

  43. Andrew Carter says:

    Are you saying he’s definitely out? Autosport are reporting that Whitmarsh is still team boss and any decision on his future will be made in February (I suspect they want to see if the new car is any good or not first).

    1. Paul D says:

      Ron will no doubt call it a ‘phased restructure’ or a ‘realignment of management focus with built in transition smoothing’ but to anyone who doesn’t speak Ron, basically he’s gone.

      1. Quade says:

        “realignment of management focus with built in transition smoothing”

        Ha! My friend, you speak fluent Ron!

  44. JEZ Playense says:

    The cost in prize money, Macca sports car sales and pride has finally reached the point where Ron cannot stomach it anymore.

    Martin will be the sacrificial lamb (rightly or wrongly) but the interesting part will be what happens in 2015. Nothing that happens this season can fairly be attributed to Ron’s return. The car is already built, the drivers and team in place.

    1. Bryce says:

      No doubt Ron will be out front and chest thumping if they are going well. Seems the only reason he is back in charge is due to political maneuver and illness of an aging man.

  45. Andrew J says:

    I like Martin Whitmarsh but McLaren have not been the force in F1 that they were a few years ago. That’s not all down to Whitmarsh, of course, but I think they could do with someone more stern at the stern!

    And maybe it’s being fanciful to think of Ross Brawn running the team on a day to day basis, but oh my, what a sweet treat that would turn out to be.

  46. IP says:

    I think Brawn would be the right man if he was made team principal and ron stayed out of it!

  47. Michael says:

    Thank God! This was way over do!

  48. Hudson says:

    Interesting development. This certainly rules out Alonso for McLaren in 2015. But it opens the door for a Hamilton return to McLaren if Mercedes doesn’t work out. Feel happy for Ross Brawn if he happens to take over. One door closes, another opens. If he takes over he would be one of few team principals to have managed several different top teams. Benetton, Ferrari, Honda, Brawn GP, Mercedes then McLaren. (OK, three of the teams are one team in various incarnations, but still some record!)

    1. Joel says:

      Hamilton’s return to MCL depends on Magnussen’s performance. If he turns out to be another Perez, the door will be wide open @Woking

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Well, let’s hope the Mercedes story is a big hit in which case Lewis just stays put and starts reeling in championships.

  49. Kirit says:

    Any guesses on who might be the new team
    Principle if Whitmarsh is ousted? He’s been there a long time although the ‘team decision’ to build a car from the bottom up in 2013 was a risky move and the last nail in the coffin before Ron probably decided enough is enough. Ron is no spring chicken (nor is Ross Brawn) therefore I cannot see either of them wanting to fly the globe to all race events.

    If Macca wanted Alonso back , this definately not going to happen now!!!!

    If I were a betting man, I’d have a cheeky punt on Sam Michael as team principle.

    Whitmarsh would leave out of pride if he’s not given another top job within the Macca establishment but will wait and see.

    My two English pennies worth! Cheers

    1. Joel says:

      Sam – no chance under Ron.

      1. James Allen says:

        He was a Whitmarsh hire but I wouldn’t be so sure he’d be out here

        He’s operations

        The problem is the car

    2. David hope says:

      They have always built a car from scratch unnecessarily after a good year!
      Lets not forget as well they no longer have the mercedes backing they did

  50. Omniprescient says:

    Wonderful news. Wonderful. Long time overdue. Oh how dearly I missed Ronspeak etc. And it’s good LH moved away, in the meantime.

    1. mr sneff says:

      +1 to the return of Ronspeak!

    2. Torchwood Five says:

      Reading between the lines, you sound happy that Ron is back.

      And frankly, so am I.

      *High fives*

  51. Rossi @more says:

    All of a sudden big Ron holds all the cards again. Not long ago there was talk of him being squeezed out altogether; but the man gas got himself planted nicely it seems.

    Feel a bit for MW as the dominance of RB and emergence of Mercedes have come at the worst time for him. I’m not sure he will leave; he is a talented individual who probably helps buffer Ron Dennis’ over bearing personality with employees. Just maybe not cut out for team principal.

  52. Shdowzzz says:

    to be honest I don’t think this change has anything to do with pit cock ups or any minor incidents whatever, the effect. it is for sure the combination of things. one reason might be the delay of sponsorship announcement. if the sponsorship is not going well that could have help the axe to fall. I don’t think in Ron’s mind Martin ran the team to Ron’s high standard.

    That being said, I hope better things are in horizon for Martin. He is a real genuine person which is rear in F1 (or at least that is how he appeared to me).

  53. Andy says:

    Absolutely the right move. Ron will bring a focus and passion that has seemed sadly lacking over the past season.

  54. Random 79 says:

    Dennis might have looking to make this move anyway, but for Whitmarsh making the decision to abandon the MP4-27 for the MP4-28 was almost certainly the final nail in the coffin.

    Kind of a shame in a way: McLaren seemed to me to be a much more friendly and approachable team under Martin, but on the other hand seems to have been been missing that killer instinct that Ron brings to the table.

  55. Joe B says:

    … And an off season that had been thoroughly depressing improves thoroughly. What a difference a day makes! No more tardiness, let’s hope the real McLaren are back.

    1. KRB says:

      And then out comes a story saying McLaren are in danger of missing the first test. Some residual tardiness, perhaps.

      1. Joe B says:

        Indeed; so much for writing 2013 off to concentrate on the 2014 car. I may have been a bit hyperbolic, but there’s no doubting that the team pretty much became known for stupid, critical errors in recent years. I’d love to see that gone from their operation.

  56. gazz says:

    Why the hype????? Lets look at the facts….. Ron Dennis, in the last 10 years he has lead McLaren to 1 WDC and that was won by 1 point against Massa who many dont rate at all. This smacks of desperation and I look with interest to see how it all pans out.

    1. Steven M says:

      People forget the win gifted to Felipe, and stolen from Lewis, remember Spa that year?

    2. Sanky says:

      dude because in those 10 years , if you consider 2000, 2003 , 2005 ,2007 Mclaren atleast fought for the championship and looked a serious contender …under Whitmarsh it has been a complete mess with lots of operational and strategic errors even though they had good cars…Plus 2013 Mclaren fielded a very average driver line up who couldnt get even a single podium…in 2006 with a dog of car Kimi still managed podiums and a pole position…so all in all Mclaren was going down under Whitmarsh and desperately needed a strong leader …Dnt forget that this is the guy who built the team and got star drivers like Prost, lauda, Senna, Mika, Kimi and Lewis to drive for the team….Whitmarsh got Button, Perez & Sam Michael!!!!!!!!!! Hoping for Macca revival once again #ForzaMclaren

      1. Raul says:

        Spot on!

  57. Serrated_Edge says:

    This news in my opinion will bring in what is needed at the race team…Ross Brawn.

  58. MikeS says:

    What a coincidence – Ron Dennis stood down as Team principle/CEO of the Mclaren Racing Team on 16th January 2009, exactly 5 years to the day.

    Ah the intrigue in F1 – Because of ‘Spygate’and to satisfy Max Mosely, I believe Ron probably agreed to stand down for a period of 5 years so as not to have Mclaren disqualified from F1 for a period along side the finacial penalties. – If this is so his reappointment would have been pre-arranged with Martin Whitmarsh, who will now probably go back to his old job and Sam Michael will take over as Team Principle until Ross finishes his sabbatical.

    1. Simon Lord says:

      Well spotted – sounds highly plausible.

    2. StillwatchingAATY says:

      Good spot..interesting.

      Sam Michael had a pretty poor record with Williams and I was surprised to see him join McLaren, even in a lesser role to br honest.

    3. Kimi4WDC says:

      “Sam Michael will take over as Team Principle” – Judging by various comments, most McLaren faithfully had a heart attack when you dropped that line :)

    4. KRB says:

      If that were true, the secret deal with Mosley for 5 years, and he comes back after 5 years plus a day, that is Putin-esque. Does anyone remember the dude who filled in while Putin did his Pres-PM-Pres shuffle?

      1. James Allen says:

        Medvedev, now prime minister

  59. Paul says:

    Great Ron speak at the end there, James!

      1. Quade says:

        Haha!

  60. Agent Orange says:

    Despite appearing a nice guy Whitmarsh has appeared weak, dithering and in affective on his time as leader. Whether Ron returning is the right move remains to be seen but Whitmarsh going is a step in the right direction.

  61. Sri says:

    If only Luca does the same thing with Stefano in Ferrari, it would have the super team: 2 very good drivers, Ross, Rory, James Allison and loads of money.

    1. H.Guderian says:

      Ferrari – LdM = Dream Team

  62. radi says:

    There are four events in recent f1 history and today, mclaren 100mil fine, max mosley scandal,bernie going to court/stepping down and ron coming back to f1 on the same day.

    I am absolutely certain these events are all connected.mclaren did survive a holocaust and is back to flourish…

  63. StillwatchingAATY says:

    This has to be good news for the future of McLaren F1. Martin’s record is poor and he has to pay the price; I imagine the settlement terms are under negotiation. The interesting questions for me are:
    - Can Ron operate in ‘hands off’ leadership mode with the likes of Ross Brawn? …. and wouldn’t that be the perfect solution if it could be made to work?
    - Jenson was Martin’s choice I think? Where does Ron stand with JB? Who decides the line up in any new structure?

    (JB plus a hungry fast starter sounds just right to me)

    Can’t Wait.

  64. Gareth says:

    If Sam Michael returns, can the last person at woking Switch of the lights

    1. StillwatchingAATY says:

      ….probably pretty quick about it though…

  65. Tickety-boo says:

    This is great news for McLaren, the team has been all at sea these past few years. Not withstanding some of the scandal that afflicted the team on Ron Dennis’ watch, his attention to detail is such that he already knows who is taking over from Martin, nothing will have been left to chance. With the poison dwarf distracted by impending jail time, and now this, what a great and belated start to 2014! Bring it on…

    1. Bryce says:

      Whilst I don’t agree that the second coming of Ron is necessarily for the good of the racing team, I love the term “poison dwarf”.

  66. JB says:

    I think James is right about this!

    Ross Brawn is coming back and replacing Whitmarsh.
    It all make sense especially when Whitmarsh screw up so much. Loosing Lowe and Hamilton. Thought that a Mexican can replace Hamilton LOL!!! The fact that Mclaren has been going downhill since Ron left is a clear indication that something is wrong.

    I think Brawn uniting Mclaren-Honda and Jenson Button will be one of those heroic fairy-tale. Much like the amazing Brawn-GP story. I always laugh thinking about how Ross Brawn bought the Honda team for $1 and sold it to Mercedes for £110 million after one year.

    The battle of the two titans (Brawn vs Newey) continues!

    1. Joel says:

      I don’t think they both have the same line of work.
      Neweys of other teams don’t even hit the news. Newey is in the news only because he is Newey :)

    2. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

      So a Mexican can’t replace Hamilton?

      I suppose one’s nationality has a lot to do with one’s driving ability.

      1. Jb says:

        No one can replace Hamilton. He is a brilliant talent.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Someone did replace Hamilton, I fail to see your point.

  67. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – isn’t the typical gardening leave in F1 6 months? Therefore how could Ross join McLaren now? Perhaps only with Mercedes’ consent?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well they eased him out so I doubt he has any restrictions on him.

      We will see

  68. gpfan says:

    Dennis is a disaster.
    McLaren is about to enter
    a whole new era of failure.

    Hamilton is gone, and now,
    Alonso is not coming back.

    Yes, they have Button, but
    he is very fussy about set-
    up and car.

    Add Brawn? Good move, but no
    Alonso or Newey means no points.

    1. JB says:

      Brawn and Newey are two great men who can turn team any team into championships wining ones. In fact, they are both on-par in terms of achievements. Please do your research!

      1. gpfan says:

        Really?
        (Also, one should be more civil
        if one is to display such egregious
        language usage.)

    2. Jb says:

      I have already said please. And I meant to advise you to do your research.. How much more polite can I be?

  69. gpfan says:

    Ron is a mistake.
    McLaren shall never
    be where they were.

    Brawn will not answer
    to RD. AND, Honda shall
    make it clear that
    Ross is the reference.

  70. Ahmad says:

    Well done McLaren! At last, you have understood that Whitmarsh, however nice, does not cut it, and something had to be done to stop the ship from sinking any further.

    I hate Dennis, but that’s probably the best compliment for a team principal to be feared and be able put his team under pressure to deliver, and go forward.

    It’s quite obvious that Brawn will be back for either McLaren or Williams. Having secured the right hand man of Adrian Newey from RBR and an exclusive deal with Honda, it’s looking likely that McLaren will be able to recover some competitiveness by 2015-2016.

    And as long as Dennis is not running the F1 team directly, Alonso will be welcomed back because they are desperate. Dennis himself mentioned last year that the door is open. They badly need someone of Alonso’s caliber to push the team forward, because Button, however nice/talented/clever he is, does not have the speed/consistency/killer instinct required to deliver a title unless the car is very dominant as in 2009.

    1. Joel says:

      If Newey ever leaves, he would be out of F1 to lead the British challenge to America’s cup. This dream of his would be expedited if he falters in the next year or two at RBR. He may still need RB money for his next endevour so he is likely to stick around.

      1. Ahmad says:

        Sorry, I didn’t say Newey is leaving RBR, but his “right hand man”, Peter Prodomou. Sorry for the confusion.

        Newey has no reason to leave F1 now, especially with the great challenges offered by the new regulations, and the fact that Ainslee’s dream of a British team featuring in America’s Cup is only in its infancy.

        The new F1 regulation swill be the biggest challenge for Newey because they are clearly aimed against RBR to give the engine manufacturers (Ferrari & Mercedes) a clear advantage.

  71. Bones says:

    It was about time.
    Withmarsh does not know how to run the team.

    1. Ahmad says:

      Fully agreed. When a team principal can not deliver any title with the best car on the grid as he did in 2012, and not even be able to take any title fight to the last race, this is clearly a very poor performance for an ambitious team such as McLaren. When you add to that how they went from having the best car in 2012 to a midfield car in 2013, there could not be bigger humiliation. McLaren would have done much better under Dennis or even others such as Brawn.

      1. Bones says:

        Exactly.
        Not to mention the rookie mistakes like Spain’s qualy that hurted Hamilton’s chances.
        At least Domenicalli has taken the team to the last race as a serious title contender.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        “When a team principal can not deliver any title with the best car on the grid as he did in 2012″

        Isn’t delivering the title in the best car more to do with the drivers?

      3. Ahmad says:

        In general, it can be, but in McLaren’s case, they have a history of screwing up titles, with poor race/strategic management and a below-par reliability record.

        Hamilton hardly made any mistakes in 2012. McLaren screwed up his pole position in Spain by mistakenly underfuelling him. A certain win gone. Then he had car failures in Abu Dhabi and Singapore when he was clearly leading ahead of Vettel. When the team’s operational mistakes lead to giving away 75 points like that, you clearly have to put the blame at them.

        Also, remember 2005 when McLaren had the fastest car but ended up losing to a more reliable car. At the Nurburgring for example, they kept Raikkonen go on with vibrations on his tyres, which led to a tyre failure and DNF. They nearly lost in 1998 and 1999 despite their car dominance and had to win titles at the final race.

        In 2007, they kept Hamilton too long out in China, let their drivers take away points from each other for too long, and Hamilton’s car had gremlins at the last race in Brazil.

        So it’s no surprise that the likes of Raikkonen and Hamilton left. Top drivers don’t want just wins, but titles.

  72. Kirit says:

    There’s a lot people here talking about this great ‘button , honda , brawn’ winning formula.

    Let’s not forget button did NOT win his championship in a honda powered car but a merc. Furthermore Honda have left the sport abruptly twice if I recall correctly , once with Macca at the height of their game and the latter with brawn when they only had one race win.

    I know business is business but let’s see if honda are still in the sport in 5 – 7 years time and don’t decide to leave at short notice … Leaving Macca to lick their wounds and go to Peugeot or some other B rated engine supplier!

    1. Andrew J says:

      I don’t think anyone has forgotten. The team that was Brawn was formally Honda, and whilst the engine may have been Mercedes the car design and the technicians were formerly Honda employees. The focus is on the team personnel, not the brand.

      1. James Clayton says:

        “and the technicians were formerly Honda employees. The focus is on the team personnel”

        McLaren are getting Engines from Honda, not personnel (most of whom work for Mercedes now…)

    2. Ahmad says:

      There was no great “Button+Honda+Brawn” formula, because it was only the “Brawn” formula in 2009, as he took advantage of a technical clause (the double diffuser) to win titles with the better of his two available drivers.

      As mentioned by the others, the Honda engine was not used. And on top of that, the “Honda” personnel was mostly ex-BAR personnel.

      As for Button, Brawn was no big fan of Button either as he tried to lure Alonso to the team and even Schumacher for the 2009 season. Both refused and missed a golden opportunity. Even after the titles, Brawn made no serious attempts to keep Button.

  73. JE says:

    James,

    If there was a power struggle going on at McLaren last year, how come you haven’t reported on it until now? It’s come as a surprise that Whitmarsh is gone, but not as a shock given the performance of the team the last few years.

      1. Arnie S says:

        :) Nice comment

      2. JE says:

        Ok, my mistake then.

  74. Adam says:

    Ron has been dying to get back in for ages. This was just an opportune moment. Ron’s McLaren tossed away a number of championships, so don’t expect miracles – he doesn’t have a Newey to give him a second per lap advantage. Even when he had that they struggled at times against Ferrari.

    I don’t like Ron Dennis.

    1. Joel says:

      Well, at that time, Newey’s McL was so fragile that they wouldn’t even start from the grid. Also, during those times, with Ferrari having unlimited testing at their own track and with FIA in their pockets – it was a big accomplishment to even run close to that Ferrari. Apart from McL, was any other team able to achieve that? Compared that to now, where we now have 4 teams (1 & 3 to be precise) regularly competing.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      You’re not alone. I’m quite sure Bruce McLaren wouldn’t have liked Ron Dennis either. Denni$ is an executive businessman whose investment happens to be a Formula 1 team. He’s not a racer.

      1. Elie says:

        Well if your a racer and you are a weak leader that doesnt know how to get / keep the right people in the team – your not going to succeed as a racer.

        If your a clever business man with a strong grasp of people incl what makes a racer, your strong leader ( amongst a 650+’workforce)- you will have my vote first any day whether I like your style or not.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        One can be a strong competent leader who is also passionate about the sport, without the overarching priority of making money as the key reason for everything one does. Enzo Ferrari created a very successful business however the original purpose of selling his cars was so he could fund his racing pursuits. He made money to race cars whereas Ron Dennis races cars to make money.

      3. Elie says:

        Right now & back then – if you dont make money- you dont go racing- end of story.! The 2 go hand in hand. If you think Bruce Mclarens vision was not racing and every executive that has taken control of the racing team is any less so- you have serious blinkers on- they all live and breath it.!! Its just Ferrari have been around much longer.

        The F1 business these days it is just one huge marketing campaign for the big manufacturers & fizzy drink co to promote their automotive products and fulfil an ethos or passion -this part applies to the smaller teams also. Its not a profit making venture within itself – quite the opposite !-but the harsh realities are that unless you get lots of money from wherever -you are not going to be successful- this is what drives obsessives like Ron Dennis. Mclaren are not car manufacturers anywhere near the scale and history of Ferrari and therefore they are not as internally (and as a result externally) funded .The road car program is only one method of very many they grow to go racing- therefore all their businesses have to be successful otherwise they risk being a Lotus or a HRT or the other many teams that have left F1. Exactly why Mclaren knew they needed greater automotive presence to create this.& why Ron has helped grow this side- now hes back doing what he does best.. I cant fathom anyone not being driven by the money if they want to go F1 racing- given that budgets are over £250million pa..where do you think that money comes from…certainly not idle talk and nostalgia !

    3. Ahmad says:

      I also don’t like Ron Dennis, but if I was a McLaren shareholder, I’d rather have him as the boss than Whitmarsh. Dennis never lost so badly titles as Whitmarsh did in 2012 with the best car on the grid. And Dennis has always been good at pillaging other teams, with ironically Mercedes doing the same to them.

      McLaren are in a pretty bad shape and clear underdogs for this year, so having Dennis could help push the team and help salvage some pride.

  75. RA109 says:

    While 2013 was a disaster on track, Whitmarsh has really set the stage for some great things in 2014 and 2015. Now Dennis will be getting the credit, plain and simple.

    1. Ahmad says:

      I don’t think there will be great things in 2014 from McLaren, it’s damage limitation, and that’s probably why Dennis was able to make a comeback now. Also, even if Whitmarsh had produced the best car on the grid for 2014, he has already demonstrated in 2012 that he’s not good enough to bring any title even with the best car. Dennis or Brawn would do a much better operational job getting results, because Dennis brings pressure from his ruthlessness and Brawn has more brain and will attract more respect based on his achievements. I like Whitmarsh as a person, but as team principal, forget it…

    2. jake says:

      “Whitmarsh has really set the stage for some great things in 2014 and 2015″
      I have seen nothing that indicated McLaren are in a good position for 2014. They will have minimal support from their engine supplier (due to the Honda move), their driver line up is questionable and they still do not fully understand how the 2013 car turned out so bad. I would argue that puts them in a weak position for 2014. Hope I am wrong! I think 2014 will be a development year for the Honda powered 2015 title challenge.

  76. Bearforce1 says:

    Wow. Anything positive that makes a team stronger is fine by me and good for F1. It wil be good to see a more competitive Mclaren. Honda and Brawn and a top driver would be heaps cool.

    I think RD and MW are a good match. Good cop bad cop kinda thing. Having both types of personalities works really well and I think would be good for the team.

    I feel a bit sorry for MW sure he made a couple of big mistakes (I know many others think they are sackable offences) like the new car for 2013 but I think Mclaren had other problems like losing factory Mercedes support. Also it is not like the other teams could compete against the RedBull juggernaut either.

  77. Mr Brooksy says:

    Yes put Sam Michael in as team principal. Let him do what he did at Williams as chief designer. Ruin it.

    I’d suggest Whitmarsh is 100 times the leader Sam is.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Reasons for this?

    2. Joel says:

      McL is not a mom & pop store to promote the next in line heir to the top. Sam may be MW’s hire and he may even be grooming him. But, I doubt Big Ron sees anything in him to be a TP particularly during turbulent times.

    3. Ahmad says:

      Ross Brawn is coming, forget Sam Michaels. Hiring Sam is the quickest way to go from top dog to the midfield. Just ask Frank Williams.

      I am not 100% sure Ross is coming to McLaren, but it’s 50/50 with Williams. Both teams had their worst seasons for years, so they are desperate for somebody like him.

  78. John says:

    Sounds like McLaren is clearing house this year and going through a rebuilding phase. Seems that their main focus will be on 2016 with Honda.
    Would make sense to bring in some new blood form that direction.

  79. Leslie D'Amico says:

    Ross Brawn can take all the time he needs, there are a number of positions open or soon to be open, with his experience and relationships with car builders,engine manufacturers and drivers he is the man of the future.
    I’d love to see him start his own team again.

    1. Ahmad says:

      He did NOT start his own team from scratch the last time, but bought (on the cheap) the remains of Honda who had enough of F1.

      So it’s probably easier to try to revive the fortunes of McLaren or Williams, as he did with BAR/Honda. I am sure he could buy a significant share into Williams or McLaren given how much money he made of selling his team to Mercedes.

  80. DanAbnormal says:

    This is going down exactly as I predicted on this very site.
    It was is the cards when the Honda deal was made.
    Ron, Ross, Jenson, Honda – Bob’s yer uncle. Spend next year doing what can be done with the car, and consider it a test bed for 2015. Expect a red and white car in 2015 too.

    New prediction: Sam Michael will soon go off to curse yet another team. That guy’s ability to fail upward in F1 amazes me. I suppose Ron would like to deal him off to RBR, and watch him work his magic there next.

  81. Wade Parmino says:

    “shareholders”, “businesses”, “identifying new areas of growth”, “capitalise”, “investing”. This is what Formula 1 is to Ron Dennis. McLaren must be the only team in Formula 1 where working for them actually feels like work. Sounds like a very depressing corporate atmosphere to work in. No cracking jokes on the factory floor at Working, I mean Woking.

  82. Steven M says:

    A year too late… I think the one to go last year would have been Jens instead of Lewis if it weren’t for Whitmarsh.

    1. Joel says:

      There was no need for Jens to leave Mcl, now or even last year.
      Just that MW went to “extreme” length to support Jens and leaving LH to fend for himself. Ron would have put both of them in their place and supported the one who has the best chance to win trophies which can be display @ MTC.

  83. Stone the crows says:

    “Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.” Nothing like a little Ronspeak to start the new year off right.
    The loss of Lewis Hamilton was the handwriting on the wall for Martin Whitmarsh. Its no surprise that Dennis has stepped in to take control, to spend as much as they spend and get the dismal results of 2013, plus a constant drain of talent meant something has to be done quickly.

  84. Elie says:

    I have no issue with this whatsoever. In fact for Mclarens sake its a god send. You can say what you like about Ron but he is a true leader. Martin a terrific a guy that he is- and he has done some wonderful things in F1 has not led the team well and lost the many key people and opportunities by not being strong enough.

    In hindsight the inner wranglings between Ron & Martin late last year were soon followed by Brawns departure from Mercedes. Ron is a very clever pragmatic leader that wont think twice about putting someone like Brawn in full charge if he feels its in the interests of the group. Sure he will be involved but Ross is very much a details man and obsessive that way – so automatically they have common ground. Since 2011 Martin has lost top people with his handling of Lewis and Jenson on many occasions.Lost the opportunity to take Raikkonen from Red bull and Ferrari and the team has failed to capitalise on winning opportunities in 2012. The drive to win is simply not there the way it has been in the past.

    People wondering why Dennis left – just look at Mclarens road car program over the last 5 years with MP4-12C and P1. There is no hidden agenda there was no running and hiding – he is successful at whatever he does, even if the embarassment of spygate made the move all the better. Im glad too this blocks that black mailing rat return to Mclaren- I wouldnt let that guy anywhere near Woking ever again!

    1. Ahmad says:

      I agree with what you said, except the last bit: Dennis wants to win so bad, he’ll HAPPILY take the “blackmailer” again, especially since the blackmailer is one of the best two drivers on the grid who was able to take title fights to the last race on two occasions with a dog of a car.

      But the real question is whether Alonso will come, as it depends on how good McLaren are.

      For 2014, it it very likely that Ferrari will perform much better than McLaren with the help of Allison, and the fact that the new regulations help engine manufacturers.

      The arrival of Honda in 2015 also brings unknowns/uncertainties about their competitiveness , so it seems unlikely that Alonso will leave Ferrari for McLaren, even if Brawn and Prodomou arrive before 2015, unless Ferrari produce an uncompetitive car, unable to fight for podiums/wins, which seems unlikely but we’ll found out soon enough…

  85. Ashhab Zaman says:

    The biggest mistake Mclaren made in 2013, was to completely change the car, whilst other teams like Red-Bull simply upgraded the 2012 car. Mclaren had one of the quickest car in 2012, and i dont think there were any reasons for a complete overhaul, given that there will be one in 2014. As team principal the blame has to go to Martin Whitmarsh. I like the guy and it was important for Mclaren to have some one like him after the Spygate and Liegate and what not. But now that they are stable politically, Mclaren need a ruthless team principal to take the fight to RedBull. Same for Ferrari, Domenicalli and Whitmarsh hasnt do not have that aura as the lights of Jean Todt and Ron Dennis

    1. BrwanGP says:

      I have a crazy theory :) perhaps Mclaren were using 2013 as a testing ground for the new regulations. 2014 is a major change in the and if 1 team has the formula correct then there is potential for a 4 or 5 year streak of championships. Perhaps they are gambling on this, which could explain the poor performance last year. as Ashhab mentioned the car was completely overhauled with no logical explanation as to why they would have done that especially since they had the fastest car on the grid end of 2012.

      1. Quade says:

        In that case, they learnt nothing, because there is no parallel between 2013 AND 2014 cars.

      2. Ahmad says:

        Well, it is a crazy theory, and it will remain a theory, because the regulations are so different, it’s not a plausible theory.

        They had the best car (overall) in 2012, but thought there was not enough potential in the 2012 design to take it forward. Once they ran the 2013 prototype at Jerez, they saw how bad it was, and instead of reverting to a 2012-based spec, they thought they were so good that they could make it progress really quickly. In 2009, they managed to do it late in the year, but in 2013, total flop…No wonder Whitmarsh gets to pay for this mistake and arrogance. It’s always better to start strongly and finish poorly, than do poorly the whole season as they did in 2013.

      3. BrwanGP says:

        Ok yes the regulations are totally different but to be more specific they may be testing certain parts or testing areas of the car that may give them some insight or a slight edge at the expense of 2013 or not!

    2. Elie says:

      Ron is definitely a win at all costs kind of guy. But if he wanted to do that – wouldn’t he grab Vettel or Hamilton. Raikkonen first !.. Besides their all locked in till 2015/6 anyway. I bet you anything the thought of Whitmarsh talking to Alonso after loosing Hamilton and casually dismissing Raikkonen would have made him furious..especially when Raikkonen all but won them 2 titles in 03/05 but for that cursed Mercedes engine.

  86. Peter O says:

    Sam Michael, – why was he even hired ?
    The guy had no pedigree with Williams and has been responsible for some grave operational mistakes at Mclaren (pitstops, poor set up changes, etc) and I never understood why the team went so radical in 2013 on design in the final years of the regs. Why didn’t they just go back to ’12 car when it didn’t work? Crazy.

    1. Monza 71 says:

      I was very surprised when Martin recruited Sam given the way Williams went downhill when he was close to the top at Grove.

      However I assumed that Martin was a shrewd judge of ability and knew a lot more than me.

      While results have gone backwards, Sam Michael was credited with helping McLaren to be the team capable of the fastest pitstops.

      The jury is still out on Sam, in my view.

      1. Peter O says:

        Tend to agree with most of that, but getting the fastest stops also meant making some horrendous blunders in fumbled pitstops, dropped wheel nuts, etc, not to mention the bad tyre strategies and blundered qualifying runs timing. These errors lead to bad grid slots and many lost points places. I do not see what talent he brought to Mclaren, – Mr Michael needs to go…

  87. Peter O says:

    … I should also add that to all the Jenson critics out there, the last time Mclaren had a winning car (2012), Jenson was very competitive and won the last race of the season in Brazil. When he had a really good car (Brawn) he won the WDC. He didn’t fluke in on the last bend of the year like Lewis did… Sorry, I like lewis but he is no more capable of winning a WDC in an average car than Jenson is. Fact.

    1. Quade says:

      Are you talking about the very same 2012 in whic Jenson was “lost” in setup and didn’t know why?
      Please, pick another year, 2012 was the lowest point in Jensons career.

      1. Peter O says:

        He won Spa and Brazil.
        Lowest point in Jenson’s career? Don’t be silly.
        Try the Honda years…

      2. Ahmad says:

        Spa was a good win, but Brazil was lucky because Hulk hit Ham.

        Anyway, I agree with Quade, in 2012, Lewis destroyed “no-grip” Jenson and made him look average. Just look at Lewis quali performances, wins and dominant drives hurt by McLaren’s operational mistakes/unreliability as in Spain, Singapore, Dubai.

      3. Quade says:

        Nah, in the Honda years, he was too busy being a playboy to be “lost and confused.”
        He wasn’t a World Champ.

    2. Raul says:

      Button was lapped by Hamilton in Canada, dcimated by Hamilton in Barcelona while Hamilton started from the back etc. etc. Button only won because Hamilton taken out and he drove on Hamilton’s set up. In 2013 he had only his own set up and he failed hard mate, 2014 will be the same for him.

  88. Grant says:

    Thanks Ron this is long overdue.

  89. David Woodthorpe-Evans says:

    It seems to me that people have not read the statement properly. Ron has been appointed “GROUP” CEO. This role oversees all operations within the McLaren group, not just the racing arm. Martin is still the CEO of McLaren Rachin and is also Chief Operating Officer (COO) of McLaren Group. So yes, Ron will be taking a higher level of control in the Raching arm (as he will with the other McLaren companies). But he has not replaced Martin who still appears to be CEO of McLaren Racing.
    We will all need to wait for the outcome of Rons “Group” review to see who keeps their jobs.

    1. lord horn says:

      Doesn’t matter.

      Whitmarsh ‘reports’ to Ron Dennis. And that’s enough. The ‘racing’ CEO has to report to the ‘GROUP CEO’.

      And boy, is Ron going to put some pressure on Whitmarsh.

      Nice to see this move. We need ‘effective’ people on the team.

  90. Michael Grievson says:

    Watch out stefano. You’re next

  91. All revved-up says:

    “In 1981 Ron Dennis and partners bought out the then shareholders of McLaren”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Dennis

    I’m not in a position to judge if Ron is a difficult person; but I always have some respect for the ability of people who put their own money where their mouth is.

    I think the issue is whether the skills and talent Ron had turning the team around in the 1980′s remains just as competitive in 2014/2015.

    Another fascinating F1 story to follow in 2014/2015.

    I suspect 2014 is another transition year – only when Honda come on board will McLaren be competitive against the “factory teams”.

    F1 will be a poorer place if McLaren goes the way of Williams. Hope McLaren rights the ship by 2015.

  92. Chris says:

    And isn’t the timing just right on the day that Bernie stands down from the board? Dennis doesn’t hide the fact that he and Bernie do not get on. Perhaps he is taking a calculated risk that Bernie will disappear from F1 with 3 court cases hanging over him. That would put McLaren with Ron at the helm in a much better negotiating position for a bigger slice of the money cake

  93. Supersi says:

    Well I suppose its all about the Maths. Statistically speaking the last time Mclaren took the championship was in 2008,arguably the last time they had a decent championship challenge too. I like Whitmarsh and I think he leads well, but I have to say that Ron has Winning DNA and he has won many championships for the team. He knows what Mclaren is about and what it takes to win. Mclaren has been very proffessional and clockwork under Rons leadership in the past and I have to say as a Mclaren fan,”Ron its nice to have you back at the helm”.

  94. Dame Vera Lynn says:

    Let’s say goodbye with a smile, dear,
    Just for a while, dear, we must part.
    Don’t let the parting upset you,
    I’ll not forget you, Whitmarsh.

    We’ll win again, don’t know where, don’t know when,
    But I know we’ll win again, some sunny day.
    Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
    ‘Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

    So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
    Tell them I won’t be long.
    They’ll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
    I was singing this song.

    After the rain comes the rainbow,
    You’ll see the rain go, never fear,
    We two can wait for tomorrow,
    Goodbye to sorrow, my dear.

    1. John says:

      awesome this deserves to go to the top of the page.

    2. gpfan says:

      You are such a lovely chanteuse.

  95. James McNulty says:

    My first thought when I read this story was that Mclaren have built the 2014 car done some initial tests, run the numbers and its a dog. And thats whats prompted the change.

    I think everyone is looking at the Alonso part from the wrong perspective. The question more would be, would Alonse rejoin Mclaren with Ron at the helm?

    1. benji8080 says:

      I beg to differ or rather add to your comment.i feel all this development re Ron Dennis is down to finances.mclaren may possibly not have secured a title sponsor for the coming season.in that case whitmarsh will have to fall on his sword as the amount from a title sponsor is huge even for a supposedly well funded team like mclaren.if the numbers don’t add up,then sadly Ron had to move martin aside and stabilize the team before they start being a Williams or lotus type team.

  96. fox says:

    McLaren will continue to degrade like Williams. They lost best engineers and drivers. Unless they guess best design for 2014 rules, they are doomed to mid field for several years for sure.

  97. Witan says:

    Haven’t Honda basically offered a free engine to McLaren? Which suggests a determination to win and a willingness to put cash in.

    Honda worked with Brawn and it seemed amicable if the ‘buy out’ is anything to go by.

    Someone is needed at McLaren to get a grip who is comfortable with the current technology and can exploit it, is proven to have good relations with the major engine partner, has a strategic understanding of racing and knows the business inside out, someone who knows the current Mercedes power pack and will enjoy working again with Honda to develop the replacement power pack.

    So the money has to be on Brawn, and if Honda are not pushing that way then I would be amazed.

  98. Scunnerous says:

    Well something drastic had to be done. It’s been all downhill with Whitmarsh, further accelerated by the arrival of Sam Michael, who repeated his dragging down of Williams.

    Honda has been hard at work in Woking for months now and I wonder how much they influenced Ron’s decision to resume the reins; they’ve undoubtedly had much dealings with Whitmarsh and you commented that they had “good connections” with Brawn-san so perhaps this is all falling into place.

  99. James McNulty says:

    I see Whitmarsh out and Brawn replacing him.

    I can also see Whitmash taking up a position with CVC after all the trouble with Bernie. Whitmarsh has always has struck me as a good mediator and liked by all but never seemed to come across as having that killer ruthless streak. Traits I think could go down well if he were to take over from the little man. Wasnt he also chairman of FOTA?

    1. Paul D says:

      Not sure Whitmarsh has the capability or skillset for that role.

      I agree on the mediation qualities though, strikes me as a very pragmatic man.

  100. Paul D says:

    Could we see Davey Ryan back (?) – great guy.

    1. Darren says:

      I didnt go through the posts till now but id suggest Baron Von Ryan may well be back stood by the sword …..

  101. John S-R says:

    Hi James,

    Do you have any idea what the relationship is like between Ron and Jenson. Everyone goes on about Jenson being Whitmarsh’s signing. Surely Ron would have had some say?

    Is Jenson in the firing line. If so, would that signal the end of his F1 career?

    1. John S-R says:

      Just to add, if Ross Brawn did come on board, would that give Jenson more of a chance of keeping his seat for 2015?

    2. James Allen says:

      No driver is safe if they don’t perform – Massa at Ferrari the last few years being an exception

      If the car is quick and he gets results then he’s safe unless they feel there’s someone better

    3. Dave Emberton says:

      I wonder about the situation with Perez vs Magnusson. Maybe Whitmarsh wanted Perez but Ron was pushing for Magnusson and that was the first sign of the way things were about to go.

    4. Goob says:

      Jenson is the primary reason McLaren are a laughing stock.

      Ron will throw him out with Whitmarsh, if he is sane.

      1. Raul says:

        Absolutely right, in 2012 he did not anything better while having a good car. He was decimated by Lewis in Barcelona, lapped in Canada while Lewis won, simply bad in Valencia, Monaco, UK, Malaysia etc..

      2. Paul D says:

        And simply sublime at Spa the ultimate ‘drivers’ circuit.

        Some of your points are quite true, but keep it balanced.

    5. Torchwood Five says:

      I have always said Jenson was a Whitmarsh signing, but if the current issue of F1 Racing is correct, I could have been completely wrong all these years.

      It says Whitmarsh negotiated to have Nick Heidfeld partner Lewis, and went on holiday before signing the contract, and that Ron Dennis and other McLaren seniors snatched up Jenson.

      That doesn’t feel right, given Whitmarsh’s one-sided support for Button up to 2012, but who knows?

  102. F1CP says:

    It was not McClaren’s decision to go for a radically different car last year that has brought this about. I recall the explanation at the time was that they wanted to bring in certain new technologies ahead of the 2014 rule changes to give themselves more development time. Risky, of course, but not illogical.

    Unfortunately the decision backfired because they were not able to develop the 2013 car relative to their rivals during the season, and they finished pretty much exactly as they started. That was supposed to be one of their strengths, so the fact they struggled throughout the year says a lot more about the current state of the team than the fact they started with an uncompetitive car. I think RD’s return is a consequence of that.

    Having said that, the 5-year gap is surely more than coincidence!

    1. Goob says:

      That was a lame excuse…

      Tha car was designed with Jenson’s input… it made them into a back marker team.

      Everything after is justification for people like Whitmarsh to keep their job for as long as possible…

  103. Ivan says:

    It was high time for Whitmarsh to go. May be a nice guy but definitely not an achiever.
    I’m not a McLaren fan but it was a shame what they delivered last year. I wish the best of luck to Ron.

  104. Monza 71 says:

    I can’t see Ross Brawn working with Ron Dennis.

    Ross walked away from Mercedes because he was no longer going to be allowed complete control.

    Now he’s back with responsibility for the race team, that’s something Ron will never allow and Ross knows it !

    I can see Ross working with Williams in return for equity rather than cash. Sir Frank would be far more willing than Ron to leave it to Ross to manage without interference. But where does that leave Pat Symmonds ?

  105. Triangle says:

    Surely with Ron back in charge McLaren will be trying to prise LH back from Mercedes eventually? I would’ve thought McLaren would want him rather than FA, since LH is McLaren through and through

    1. gpfan says:

      Yeah. Odd, eh?

      I mean, if one lusts for a pilote,
      it should only make sense to wish
      for FA, or Seb. Heck, I’d take Kimi
      over LH, but Ron has an obsession
      with Lewis.

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        You would honestly take someone who blackmailed your team because you refused to back them over the rookie?

      2. Kirit says:

        Have Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton kissed and made up?

        I understand there was (still is??) some bad blood amongst the two and we’re not on speaking terms to the point RD snubbed LH’s leaving party in Brazil and did not stick around to celebrate his win in Austin of last year?

        Can you blame RD? Ron doesn’t seem like a soft touch and showed his human side when he took LH under his wings at an early age and nurtured him… Only for him to say skedaddle or the put it another way “Foxtrot Oscar” to you Mclaren… (And RD)!

      3. gpfan says:

        I think Ron is probably willing to
        forgive and forget.

        And, I agree with your last paragraph.

  106. panagiotis says:

    Why people forget the fact Ron is Macca?!?!? Great news for the corporation, great things happen when founders return back, just like Jobs did for apple Inc. Moreover, Ross should go back to Ferrari ASAP, and then you ll have the foul paddock.

  107. spactus says:

    Mclaren has build bad cars and has had bad years before but the market place namely sponsors and advertisers always had confidence in them bouncing back big.No one thinks they gonna bounce back big this yr

    The problem is under Witmarsh and Button the brand has been devalued to the point where they having trouble securing sponsor and demanding the kind of value they use to for Mclaren advertising real estate.
    The facts are that Witmarsh let go arguably the biggest star in f1 and fastest driver in Lewis for a journey man in Button who stumbled across a championship.
    Button has one pole in 4yrs under suspicious circumstances,and in those 4 seasons where Mclaren has had the fastest car he has never mounted a tittle challenge.
    Those stats are important to the investor who cant wait for one wet race gamble win every 2 yrs.

    The nail in the coffin for Witmarsh was Button gleefully rejoicing for scrapping into Q3 while the team endured its worst season in 20yrs.

    The downfall of Witmarh was his delusion that Button was a top elite driver and that all he had to do is give him the right car.so in 2012 he ditched the high performing 2012 car which was the fastest of that yr,but Button could driver,to design a car specifically to Button Likening,the result was the wosrt result for Mclaren in 20yrs.
    The emporer has no clothes and we all can see it now……Its time to gooo

    1. marc says:

      oh dear @spactus…oh dear oh dear oh dear. its always entertaining to see someone writing from a personal/not liking a driver point of view as opposed to looking at and using anything like factual evidence. Did either drive mount a full title challenge in those years? Pole positions are great for the history books, but wins speak a lot louder… If you have a problem with Whitmarsh, then feel free to write something constructive back up by facts. Dont use it as a sounding board because you dont like a driver…

    2. Bryce says:

      So it was Whitmarsh that did not provide a competitive car to your Lewis when he was there and then let him go as they were already designing the 2013 car to suit Jenson. Now I understand.

    3. Peter O says:

      Oh dear me, what utter drivel… JB won his championship in 09 fair and square, unlike LH who in is the one who ‘lucked in’ in 08, only taking the title because Timo Glock slid wide on the last corner. Hamilton career is strewn with stupid avoidable crashes… With Massa, Kobayashi, Alonso, Maldonado, the list goes on.
      JB in a good car is unbeatable as we saw at brawn. Lewis is an over rated celeb brat…

      1. Goob says:

        2009 WDC was won by the double diffuser… Button had next to nothing to do with it.

        Vettel and Button are disrespected by most.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        …and of course as we all know “majority rules” works so well.

    4. Longy says:

      Yep , and that would be me done…I’ve had enough of this “button bashing”. The man won the world championship, through talent and hard work. I suppose you ignore the fact that he out scored Hamilton (who I would say is a top, world class driver with no bones about it) during their time together as a fluke?
      Getting sick of armchair pundits saying how a dog of a car makes Button less worthy when he doubled the points of a young, fast driver. Give the man some respect, in my eyes a true champ.
      Having said that, I have never been as excited as the pairing of Button and Hamilton at McLaren and genuinely hope that the return of Ron can make this a repeat reality,this time without the operational errors and playing catchup to Red Bull which in my opinion would have made both British stars double world champs in their years, taking nothing away from Seb, the jammy git!!!

    5. Goob says:

      Agreed – it always made me laugh out load, when people said Button was a “smooth driver” – what does it mean? Smooth means slow steering reactions…

      Fluking a win when it rains, and then doing nothing else for the rest of the season is not a skill…

      He made far too much money for the utter lack of talent that he has displayed. Whitmarsh is devoid of sense.

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        “Fluking a win when it rains, and then doing nothing else for the rest of the season is not a skill…”

        Well, you say that, but 2013 for instance, seemed to have A LOT of wet races, so if you give him a good car, and if most or a good proportion of the races are in Button’s skillset, you cannot really sweep that aside so easily.

  108. ferggsa says:

    Maybe Ron can get the team back in business with new boy Kevin
    As for Martin, he shoul ask Perez to help him get a job at Force India

    1. Aura says:

      This is quite mean but I still laughed.

  109. m says:

    one announcement and all the backstabbing fans come out the woodwork. Im sure mw will be there in some sort of role , its not like he designs and makes the car on his own. some reorganizing may happen. Wonder how much imput big ron had on the ejecting of perez.

  110. Richard says:

    I wonder what Honda has to say about all this.

  111. stger says:

    great news.
    With Ron they will finally get their sh*t together again. Then the stronger focus on the power unit will play into their hands with Honda at their side.
    And their next lead driver will be Vettel, because he wants to win over the hearts of the anglo-saxon part of the world.

    WDC 2016: Vettel on McLaren-Honda – mark my words

    1. StevenM says:

      Vettel wouldn’t fit in with Ron, What with all the crying he’s done for the boos. Ron would tell him to grow a pair and act like man.

      1. Random 79 says:

        “What with all the crying he’s done for the boos”

        Last I checked it was the media making a big deal – Vettel more or less shrugged his shoulders and said “whatever”.

        Would you or I handle it so well?

    2. Andrew says:

      I think its pretty clear Ron likes to create champions than hire them. See lewis/Alonso or Prost/Senna.

  112. Curro says:

    Some people just can’t let go, can they.

  113. shri says:

    what about stefano dominicali as he has also not managed to win

  114. Ace says:

    To my mind, this has ‘Honda expectations’ written over it. Honda thought that Dennis is the kind of person they’d rather be in business with rather than Whitmarsh

  115. Goob says:

    Whitmarsh, Button amd Sam are walking disasters… any team in F1 would be wise to avoid them.

    Ron needs to get another Hamilton and
    Newey… a real racer and engineer.

    Whitmarsh love of Button was the downfall of McLaren.

    1. dren says:

      Button scored Mclaren several victories and a large amount of points. I don’t see how you can say that. Button is a solid support driver. Their screw-up was losing Hamilton and picking Perez as a replacement.

      1. Goob says:

        Button also turned McLaren into a laughing stock in one year… that is a record.

        He is a ball and chain at best.

      2. dren says:

        You’re delusional if you think Button is the cause of their poor 2013 season. Mclaren is a team, not a driver. If Button designed and built the MP4-28 I might agree with you.

      3. Peter O says:

        Really ? Which year was that? 2013?
        It’s Jenson’s fault that they developed a crap car?
        What about Lewis in 2008/9 … 09 car was a disaster and yet Hamilton helped develop it. Work that one out.

  116. Goob says:

    Good to see Ron back, and Max Mosely and Bernie gone… maybe F1 can refocus on racing, and get away from the bore fest it has become.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      It would be better if we had sensible fans instead of people wanting their favoured driver to win everything just because he deserves it.

      Long may the bore fest continue…

  117. Peter O says:

    I get so amused by the anti-Button sentiments on here…
    In 2009 Jenson won 6 races, four in a row… When did Lewis achieve that? Lewis is a spoilt, over hyped kid that has not radically developed his driving from Kart racing.
    Rosberg blew him away in 2013 against all predictions.
    Watchin Jenson against Lewis is like watch Prost against Mansell. Wake up people… Lewis lacks maturity and self control… if Button had enjoyed a car like Vettel, it would be him breaking all records.

    1. Limelee says:

      In 2009, Jenson had a car that was a second a lap faster than anyone else, when has Lewis had that? Lewis is a the only driver ever to win a race in every season he has been on the grid, Throughout some pretty huge regulation changes over his six seasons on the grid. Id say that pretty radical development over the years considering how F1 rules are radically different to 2007, both in technical and sporting aspects. At no point in 2013 was Lewis blown away, it was just tighter than predicted and as far as I remember, Lewis scored more points. Jenson is not in the same league as Alain Prost, so it’s silly to compare the two. Whereas Jenson drives the car underneath him to its best result, Alain Prost would use any advantage he could to win races and championships. Lewis is a lot like Mansell though as both want to put on a show and push like crazy. I don’t see why lacking maturity and self control is a bad thing. Maturity and Self Control are generally synonyms for boring, something you could never accuse Hamilton of being. Aggressive, precise, passionate, determined, improvisational. These are the qualities of an exciting racing driver. Not self control! And if Lewis was in a red bull with a team mate as placid as Webber, I’d be surprised if he didn’t win every race at a canter aswell!

      For someone who finds such hilarity in Anti Button sentiment, it’s ironic you make such a laughable attempt to support him. You would be better pointing out that Jenson is only seen as a second rate driver because Mclaren have a rich legacy of some of the greatest drivers of all time, but because he isn’t a maverick like Some of his predecessors, he gets put down. We are in a golden age of drivers at the moment, and Mclaren would be foolish to ditch someone who is such a seasoned performer, unless it was for Vettel and Alonso double act!!!

      1. Peter O says:

        Lewis Hamilton had a title-winning capable car in his rookie year in Formula one. Something almost unique in recent history. He didn’t serve an apprenticeship with a back of the grid team like all other drivers do. This hugely distorts his level of achievements and leads to the rose-tinted view his fans [mod] seem to have. JB had to endure years of uncompetitve cars and at least managed a win despite that. Lewis has thrown away countless wins by stupid errors. If he spent less time with his rapper mates and absurd celebrity girlfriend, and tweeting his teams set up details to the world. A fast and talented driver but one that allowed fame to obscure his talent. The way he repeatedly tries to associate himself with Ayrton Senna shows breath taking arrogance and defies logic. Perhaps he should actually apply himself like AS did and then he might actually achieve much more.
        Don’t blame JB for Mclarens worst run of car designs in their history. Even Jackie Stewart thinks Button has a similar talent to Prost…he just wasn’t gifted with as many opportunites as others.

      2. Tim says:

        Lewis Hamilton had a title-winning capable car in his rookie year….

        To hold that against Lewis seems a bit odd. Looking at it another way, Ron Dennis (a man who knows a thing or two about top drivers)selected Lewis to drive one of his top cars during his rookie year. Remember, he could have selected pretty much any driver he wanted and yet he chose Lewis. Why do you think that might have been?

    2. Tim says:

      Rosberg blew him away in 2013..

      In what way did NR blow away LH – please explain/justify that remark (if you can).

      1. Peter O says:

        Nico won Monaco and British GP, despite all the LH fans claims that he would dominate Nico.

      2. Tim says:

        So, based on your logic, Nico actually outperformed not only Lewis, but Kimi and Mark as well – after all he won more races than them too. You might even argue, using your logic, that he out outperformed Nando as well- he equalled his race win tally and out qualified him. So, according to you, Nico actually came second in the WDC. The only snag (with your strange logic) is he didn’t, he came sixth.

      3. Torchwood Five says:

        For the latter victory, running in ‘best of the rest’ position to pick up the pieces of Lewis’ tyre blowout, then Vettel’s engine failure, hardly counts as ‘blowing anyone away’.

  118. Sujith says:

    “The news makes it unlikely that there will be a place for Fernando Alonso at the team, as had been mooted last year. He and Dennis fell out spectacularly in 2007.”

    Does that mean, Kimi will be driving for them in 2015? :P

    One would wish so :)

    1. Random 79 says:

      You mean after he Ferrari pays him to leave again?

      Anything’s possible ;)

      1. Sujith says:

        NO!! :P After he wins the championship this year, he is gonna take the Number 1 with him to McLaren because he wakes up one day thinking, “hmmm I have driven cars with all the great engine manufacturers so far except for Honda and BMW”.

        “Since I am becoming an expert in “Come-Backs” these days I might as well see what Ron’s got to say about Honda!” :P

  119. Andy says:

    I’m rather neautral on Whitmarsh but surely last season was a one off? Whitmarsh as boss:
    2009 – bad car due to massive title push in previous year.
    2010 – reasonably competitive
    2011 – reasonably competitive
    2012 – very competitive but mid year drop off.
    2013 – bad

    Surely 2013 was no worse than the debacle of the unraced MP4/18/19 (??) of 2003/2004? That was a terrible year and Dennis oversaw all that. Plus under the Dennis regime they have one just 1 drivers title since 1999 – not exactly far above the Whitmarsh period.

    Is Mclaren’s management structure simply too complicated now?
    Lack of singular Newey style leadership?
    Are they distracted by the wider Mclaren group businesses?
    Was the 2003/4 disaster a result of moving to the MTC?

    Any thoughts?

    1. Elie says:

      No 2003/4 “Disaster” as you out it was more a failure of the mercedes engine. If you recall 2003 Raikkonen was runner up to MS by only a point or 2. ! Not a disaster by any stretch and had that engine held same in2005 – Kimi would be a triple Wc !

      2004 maybe a little the car was not great and the engine was still unreliable but even then its not like 2013!

    2. Goob says:

      The stats say keep Hamilton boot out Whitmarsh and Button.

    3. Darren says:

      I would hardly call 2003/4 a disaster, Kimi lost the title by a point in 03 and IIRC they actually used the 02 car for a while too. The 04 car was too complicated and unreliable, there have been rumours around for ages now that a lot of features on the RB5 – were ones that Newey tried to get on the 04 Mclaren or couldn’t get to work properly, particularly the compact packaging of the rear end components and body work.

      In both these years (and especially 05) Mclaren was let down by the unreliability of their Mercedes engines. Indeed engine failures were far more common 10 years ago but I remember Kimi retiring from the lead of races a lot!

      Regardless it is plain to see that despite having excellent designers, great drivers, winning many races and having fast cars in the last 14 years they have only won 1 drivers WC and 1 disallowed constructors WC. Things have not improved since Dennis departure so its time for change.

      I’m starting to believe some of the conspiracies actually, I can imagine Dennis not being the type to willingly relinquish control and suspect he may have still had a hold of the strings from upstairs. How “spygate” was dealt with was very cloak and dagger and it is funny that with Mosley gone, Bernie in the dock and now (I’m told) 5 years to the day after Dennis officially stepped aside, he takes control again.

  120. aveli says:

    ron dennis has always ran mclaren, he never left. he has always made the major decisions and left the minor ones to whitmarsh. the only difference was that rons name wasn’t on the official documents because ecclestone and mosley wanted him out. now that ecclestone is wounded, dennis is reasserting himself.

  121. Olivier says:

    Why can’t Ron Dennis and Whitmarsh work together as they used to? It did bring them the 2008 Driver’s Championship.

    Does that mean McLaren’s 2014 car is already a write off? I hope not. They must have learned from their 2013 car.

    Hopefully it is all a storm in a teacup …

    1. Goob says:

      McLaren should replace Button with Kobi. That will bring them some respect back…

      1. Random 79 says:

        I do like Kobi and would love to see him racing again, but what does he have to do with McLaren and respect?

      2. Goob says:

        They are a laughing stock right now…

        The disaster that is McLaren now, was predicted by most people… Button is not a real WDC – (Vettel isn’t legit either)… these are people who benefited from poor regulations in the design of cars.

        I believe F1 won’t improve until Whiting is eliminated from F1… his thinking is so shallow.

      3. Random 79 says:

        I’m just shaking my head in disbelief Goob.

        McLaren have had one terrible year due to one bad decision – it was only one year earlier that they had one of the fastest cars. You could argue that they haven’t won a championship in a few years, but then neither have Ferrari or anyone else and I don’t see too many calling them a laughing stock. McLaren will either fight back or they won’t, but putting Kobi in the car is not going to get them instant respect; on the contrary if things didn’t improve they’d be blasted for seemingly making another bad decision.

        In what way are Button and Vettel not legitimate WDCs? Yes they had the fastest cars in their respective championship years, but so did many other champions so what’s the difference? You blame the regulations, but the thing about regulations is that they’re the same for everyone, so why did everyone else not benefit? The answer is that they simply didn’t do as good a job as the winners – that’s it. If we put you in the fastest F1 car could you win a WDC? I doubt it.

        And Charlie. He’s the race director. I’m sure he has an opinion about what he’d like F1 to be and I’m sure he has some level of involvement behind the scenes, but his primary job is to direct races. Not to belittle him, but he basically just presses a button when everyone’s ready to start and then calls whether or not to send out a safety car when things go pear shaped so I fail to see how replacing him would change a damn thing.

        Laughing stock and shallow – these are two attributes I’d be careful about who I applied them to…but you might see one such individual in a mirror.

      4. Roger W says:

        Are you serious ?? Kobi – Respect ??
        You must live on Mars ……

  122. Aura says:

    Ross Brawn is going to have one superior CV…

  123. Andrew says:

    James any word on Mclaren’s main sponsor for this season? While I know Honda will pump in cash for it when they arrive that’s still a year away.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I might be wrong, but I have a sneaky suspicion that some time last year they had all but wrapped up a new title sponsor (hence the announcement) and then somehow since then it’s fallen apart.

      It’s entirely possible that the lack of results in 2013 scared them off, but frankly if they’re that short sighted then maybe McLaren would be better off without them in the long run anyway.

      Again, just speculation.

  124. Darren says:

    Does Davy Ryan comeback????

  125. john3voltas says:

    This is amazing.
    I can’t believe this guy is brave enough to walk out on the street without a disguise after the spygate affair.
    A couple of years ago we started seeing him in the pits and now he steps up to regain control of the team.
    I *honestly* don’t want to start a flame but I say shame on Macca for allowing it. Everybody is entitled to a second chance in their lives but his 2nd chance didn’t have to be in F1, right?
    Watch out for your wallets guys, Ron is back!

  126. Daniel Coutanche says:

    Lewis come back for 2016 me thinks….

  127. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Whilst I believe El Ron’s return is a positive to the company, I think they have a few more years in the wilderness ahead of them. Firstly, 2014 will be the final year as a Mercedes customer team. No doubt the Mercedes lawyers will be carefully reviewing the supply agreement looking at exactly what spec engine they need to deliver. The engines might be the same, but the tune might be different (eg Renault’s RB blown floor tune). Secondly, no one has any proof that Honda’s return after a long break will be of any benefit. Witness Cosworth’s recent efforts. Differnt budgets perhaps, but Cosworth produced the most dominant engine ever. Lastly, F1′s current era is dominated by aero. What has changed in the McLaren aero department that will deliver them a Newey beater?

  128. proxomos says:

    Personally I can’t wait!
    MW has been slowly destroying the team, this shows through the amount of staff that have been leaving over the period of his tenure.

    Ron will bring experience and discipline back to the team, and oh, let the mind games begin.

    Mclaren will be back now, maybe not this season, but 2015 they’ll be back at the front again!

  129. John says:

    I predict & comment as follows;

    No chance Ross will want to take orders from Ron – the two are diametrically opposed in every way.

    Alonso to McLaren in 2015 – no chance !(The Ron comment broadcast live on TV in 2007 that “we were racing against Fernando” still ringing in his ears.

    Jenson’s last season at McLaren ? – probably – he won’t get away with publicly “whinging” (as Ron called it) about the car as he did in the Whitmarsh era.

    Maranello – Woking Cold War back on

    McLaren back to winning ways towards end 2014 and will be strong and title contenders in 2015 – due to Ron / Honda factors

    Welcome back Ronspeak – it will be fun

  130. sej82 says:

    Welcome back Ron Dennis. McLaren F1 team will be a harder competitor under his control. It will be interesting to see if he and Ross Brawn can come to an agreement, personally I hope they can.

    On the driver front Ron Dennis likes at least one of the very fastest guys of the day in his cars – Prost, Senna, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Hamilton etc. I remember wonderful TV footage of him trying to tempt a young Schumacher after he lost Senna to Williams. By the end of this season the team might already have another one in Kevin Magnussen, he looks like he might be the real deal to me.

    Good luck to McLaren and Williams – what with the new regulations and now the possibility of some Ronspeak I can’t wait for the season to begin. Let’s hope Bernie is at liberty to enjoy it too!

  131. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Maybe Dennis has already lost his powers for the 2014 season, he is older but not wiser now, he did not “domesticate” HAMILTON last year to stay in McLaren, and maybe he will have problems to replace a not even near up to expectations M.Whitmarsh.

    So far, Magnum is OK as a driver and a good decision, but the team still have many problems, including BUTTON in there and an unimaginable lack of title sponsor. It’s seems 2014 is already lost for McLaren.

    So, let’s better talk about Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari instead!

    RAIKONNEN is the candidate for the 2014 Championship IMO, …I said it here first in JAONF1! What do you think?!!

    1. Random 79 says:

      At this very early point Kimi definitely has to be a candidate, but that’s provisional on Ferrari getting their act together and producing a good car for him (and Alonso).

  132. Roberto Arroyo says:

    Certainly Mclaren has been out of the frame for a period of time and this year was the final grasp with cero podiums, but as all companies, results aren´t the work of one single person, it´s the sum of the work of all employees with a leader making final decisions and that´s where Withmarsh responsability lies and it seems the board has made a decision over the running of the company. Don´t think Dennis will run it itself, nor Brwn will go there. For those who have been critical with Button, even if he´s not my favorite he is a World Champion, who won competing with one of F1´s toughest generations.

  133. Gaz Boy says:

    James, it’s my personal opinion that McLaren lacks vision and direction in the management side but also the design department, certainly compared to Red Bull. Let’s see if the Macca brigade can turn it around 2014. I could not understand why last year McLaren didn’t ditch its 2013 car which was a complete lemon, and either replace with it the old 2012 car – which was a first class chassis with good downforce and excellent aero balance – and or do what Macca did in mid 2004 and replace a dreadful car with a much improved chassis. I think Martin Whitmarsh has to take some of the blame for the 2013 disaster; he chose to persist with the 2013 lemon when the imperical evidence – ie the dismal on track performance – was clear to see. Not reverting to the old 2012 car after Malaysia or Bahrain was a strategic mistake that ultimately consigned Macca to 2013 failure. Failure is a harsh word, but it applies to the 2013 McLaren. However with Eric Boullier very likely to come into the fold, and Ron Dennis guiding the team with his shrewd overview perhaps McLaren can climb back to pre-eminence. Fingers crossed!

    1. James Allen says:

      I think you hit the right spot – the technical department is where change needs to be made to move forward.

      Will be interesting to see what reshuffles take place. Of course the existing team developed the 2014 car, so if it flies in early running, what will they do then?

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Thanks James for your reply! Love your website, your opinions on the state of F1 are always spot on! Yes, I think we both agree that Macca are lacking vision and direction in the design department. That’s what Adrian Newey brings to Red Bull, a sense of clarity in the design department and how to implement it. Speaking of Adrian, do you agree with me James that after the initial honeymoon period of 1998-99, McLaren never truly got the best out of Adrian and his genius for designing state of the art F1 cars? I know that sounds a weird statement, but I always felt Adrian felt a bit stifled at Macca, and the fact that that they never won a constructors or drivers championship from 2000-2005 seems a massive waste of his design genius. I know they won 10 races in 2005, and yet combination of the sheer brilliance of Fernando and Renault’s reliability, consistency and driveability kept Kimi and Macca out of both world championships in 2005. I always feel that McLaren have a slightly nervy, paranoid, edgy tenseness about the way they operate and that it permeates through all aspects of the team, including the design department. Perhaps that is why Adrian left Macca to jump ship for at the time was the mid grid mediocrity of Red Bull in that the McLaren operating environment wasn’t the hands on, muck in, all boys together approach that he was used to at Williams and has subsequently now developed at Red Bull. As well as lacking clarity of thought in the design department, I feel McLaren’s operating efficiency isn’t as good as Red Bull or even the likes of Lotus or even Sauber surprisingly. Any thoughts James?
        PS, James, I was watching some vintage F1 on Youtube/BBC F1 the other day, and actually in your commentary on the 2005 Hungarian grand prix you commented on McLaren’s lack of operating efficiency when JP Monty broke down while leading the race: “There’s always a but with McLaren” and that was nearly 10 years ago!

      2. James Allen says:

        The record books bear that out, about Newey, yes

  134. Gaz Boy says:

    James, I forgot to add this: your fellow BBC colleague Eddie Jordan believes McLaren’s decision to go into the production car market has denuded their Formula 1 effort and that because they are not concentrating fully on F1 the design department of the F1 team is suffering, as are the results. In other words, McLaren are spreading themselves too thinly, while all the other teams excluding Ferrari just exist to race in F1. Fair point James? Possibly. Seems a weird coincidence that since Macca developed their road cars from 2009 there has been no WDC on constructors championship. Good old EJ may have a valid point. Agree?

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t think the race design engineers have anything to do with the road car side so not spreading themselves too thin

      Remember they built the fastest car in 2012..

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        That’s true James, just like 2005 they had a very fast car yet squandered both championships! Again………

      2. James Allen says:

        Indeed!

        Not least by not pitting Raikkonen when he flat spotted his tyre – kaboom!

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  136. Jamie Gray says:

    Never mind Whitmarsh… what about Sam Michael? Why would McLaren want to hire a guy who has questionably achieved very little at Williams and has no real track record?

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