McLaren’s Dennis says he’s “Moved on” from F1 as he launches supercar
McLaren
McLaren’s Dennis says he’s “Moved on” from F1 as he launches supercar
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Mar 2010   |  12:28 am GMT  |  128 comments

Ron Dennis launched the new McLaren roadcar the MP4/12 today and said that he had “moved on from F1”.


Dennis’s career in F1 was full of success punctuated by some short bouts of uncompetitiveness, like the 1994-1997 period. But there is no doubt that he is one of the great team owners of the sport’s history.

Now 62, he stood down from involvement in the F1 team this time last year after the scandal in Melbourne where Lewis Hamilton and McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan were found to have lied to the race stewards. Following on from the spy scandal of 2007, it was considered in the best interests of the team for Dennis to stand down.

“I was full of expectation in Australia last year that I would go and get some sort of withdrawal,” he said today. “But I don’t have to watch every minute of a grand prix even when I’m not there. It’s part of my life and it’s not gone but I’ve moved on to bigger challenges.”

He plans to leverage McLaren’s position within F1 to sell road going sports cars in the £150,000 bracket. It is a highly competitive sector with Ferrari well established and Mercedes pushing into the sector with the SLS, as promoted by Michael Schumacher.

Dennis was in Bahrain last weekend and has been speaking to potential Middle Eastern investors in the McLaren company. He is planning to sell around 4,000 cars a year, around two thirds of Ferrari’s current production. Although sales of these cars dropped off in the recession, McLaren believes that demand will grow strongly and said today they will not be taking market share away from Ferrari.

The car was unveiled today by Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The MP4/12 car was also partially responsible for the collapse of the relationship between McLaren and Mercedes, as the objectives of the two companies were “not aligned” according to Mercedes.

It is powered by a engine built for McLaren by Ricardo.

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1

Sorry but this car looks like a cross between a Ferrari 360 and the Ascari supercar from a few years ago…

I ‘m sure it will fare better than that one, though, if Ron’s numbers are right!

2

Just a note – typo in the last line: should be “an engine”.

3

Dennis was not convinced by Red Bull pace. “The lap times dropped so rapidly that one can imagine the electronic control unit (ECU) switching to a conservative programme to save fuel,” he said.

“The problem with the Red Bull could be design. It could be the fuel tank is too small, or the fuel consumption is higher than they expected.”

4

That’s your right of free speach Maines, but as this site is and always has been one of informed commentary where people respect each others views then that type of name calling sticks out like a sore thumb. I am a Williams fan by the way if you would like to diminish yourself with names at me. This article is about appreciating the huge efforts Rob Dennis has made into the supercar Market. I for one think the McLaren company are really going places.

5

He’s right – let’s keep the debate about the issues, not personal slights

6

I’m sure his Spanish is good enough to get someone’s name right. Brawn, it isn’t difficult it’s only 5 letters and it was all over the cars last year that won both championships. Show some respect, I am sure you would get all uppity if some kept spelling Alonso as Teflon.

7

Just as fans of McLaren get upset when open-minded, honest, integrity-filled fans of F1 refer to their beloved team as McCheats, McHypocrites, McLiars, etc.

8

Why does everyone talk about McLaren as being new in the sports car market?

Over course they made the F1 in 1992 so they have has a sports car for over a decade.

9

True, but that was a colaboration with BMW, and the SLR was a Mercedes.

Mclaren are new in the sports car market with their own car built by them exclusively.

10

I don’t think we will see Kimi again.

Any circuit racing allows speed only by learning the circuit, where the limit is all round the track, the more you know the faster you go, but it’s still the same circuit.

The adrenalin in rally is so much greater, I think he was bored in F1. He needed the thrill of driving into the almost unknown. (Well until 3 seconds before, with his navigator shouting the instruction after next in his ear)

11

The good thing is that Ron is waaaaaaaay ahead of all of us!!! He is already in 2020!!!! what we see now, was all a plan since the middle ’90s!!! Long live the King!!! thank you Ron!!

12

Talking of PROHIBITIVE COSTS, if Redbull are going to be in this for the Long run, Why do they not get together (Redbull and McLaren) and build a joint Engine? I am sure Adrian Newey will have a few ideas about what an F1 engine should look like and what it should be able to do….(I can see ferrari already protesting about any such join venture as “Being against the spirit of F1 and the rules”)

13

Its a trivial point and one people have tended to blur quite a bit since but I think Ron had already stepped down from involvement before Australia. He announced at the team’s 2009 launch that he was to step aside as F1 team principal to Martin Whitmarsh, and that took effect on March 1st (4 weeks before the season started). What happened was he added that he still loved F1 and would continue to attend races with McLaren as a fan. It was this peripheral role (these appearances) that he decided/McLaren asked him to stop doing after Australia and the lie-gate scandal.

14

It actually goes a bit further than that – he was ousted from the board of McLaren. Whether or not he had a role in the McLies scandal is something that has been debated. Remember, after McLaren’s non-punishment for its, and Hamilton’s, disgraceful behaviour Mosley said that the people responsible for the action were no longer involved with the F1 team. The people who had, for one reason or another, parted ways were Messrs Dennis and Ryan.

15

Ron Dennis, one of the few men in F1 I respect. Just for that reason I would by this car, if I could afford it. The car it self looks the most beautiful I have ever seen. James tell that to Ron if you get the opportunity.

16

i don’t think dennis is the type that speaks to everyone. Too full of himself, looks to me.

17

I think the F1 team will have a McLaren badged engine soon, to complete the ‘British Ferrari’ thing.

There must be a few operations out there capable of gearing themselves up to F1 standards. McLaren will buy one of them. Or they could even buy Cosworth. They could finance the lot off the back of road car sales.

18

I would presume that McLaren has a get out clause in its contract with M-B.

19

One of the greats who is missed by some and less so by others. Martin is a calmer leader, but Ron will always be McLaren (not Bruce obviously)

Ron is a Legendary figure in the sport.

Anyone missing Flav? No, nor me!

20

i don’t even miss dennis. But i miss montoya. the drivers are the one’s we have to take care of. Come back kimi, rally driving it’s tough business.

21
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I’m interested to know how McLaren will be servicing these cars. Anyone with any info on this?

Back in the day, a service on a McLaren F1 in the mid-1990s was charged at 25,000 GBP!! Ferrari offer 2-year warranties and have hundreds of approved workshops. 4,000 cars per year would require quite a hefty support network.

22

Interesting point, I suppose it will be a bit like buying a De Tomaso or a Bristol or a Koinings……..g or even a Maybach, where you ring and they send or fly an engineer out with a replacement while they fix it or cart it away in bits.

Anyone got a brochure?

23

At first glance I thought it was a Tesla!

24

yea, they look alike.

25

BMW?

26

Disgraceful that Ron Dennis – and Ross Brawn – haven’t been given knighthoods yet. If they aren’t both role-models for a younger generation, then who is?

27

i don’t think they give knighthoods to cheaters, not matter how much they have achieved. Brown, we’ll see.

28

Really? I suggest you look at some of the Knights in parliament.

And frankly no one believes that Ron knew about the Ferrari data before Alonso tried to blackmail him with it, Ron called his bluff immediately took it to the FIA. The team was convicted not Ron.

And Ross’s name is Brawn please do not confuse the F1 strategy genius with that discredited has-been supposedly running the country, there I would agree that he should never be made a knight.

29

what surprises me is how there is quite a large contigent that call Ron who approached the FIA voluntarily a cheat but dont call Alonso/PDLR who used the information clandestinely cheats? i guess its a question of whose fans make the most noise

30

Excuse me, Ross Dixon and rpaco but Ron [mod] was aware that Stepney and Coughlan were in contact with one another. McLaren actually made use of information that Stepney supplied about the Ferrari floorboard. When this became public knowledge, Ronald described himself as a whistle blower and accused Ferrari of cheating at the 2007 Australian GP. Of course, McLaren also had to modify its floorboard design after that race as its car had followed a similar design philosophy to Ferrari.

So if Ferrari cheated, so did McLaren. That makes him Ronald McHypocrite as well!

And remember, McLaren initially denied any knowledge of communication between Stepney and Coughlan, and then made confessions in dribs and drabs only after it became untenable for them to do otherwise.

As for Ronald going to the FIA with new evidence, can you please indicate what this new evidence was? He rang up Mosley and said that Alonso may contact the FIA and make some allegations that were untrue. Informed followers of F1 are of the view that Alonso went to Bernie Ecclestone with the emails between himself and de la Rosa via Flavio.

31

That isn’t what happened in Australia

32

Clearly a comment from the ill informed. Your opinion on Ron Dennis made even less important by your lack of F1 knowledge. That would be Ross Brawn!!!

33

who cares how it’s written, brawn, whathever.

Can you believe dennis didn’t know, in a small company like mclaren, being the good businessman that you say he is? He is the old school, win at any cost.

Senna, schumacher and prost didn’t deserve it either.

People like stewart or moss. They do.

And yes my english it’s not perfect, but i am sure it’s better than your spanish.

34

Im sorry but you’ve done it again. ITS ROSS BRAWN!!! Not Brown. Ross Brawn was the man behind Ferraris dominance in the late 90’s early 00’s. He saved hundereds of people’s jobs at honda then went on to win the world championship. Clean has nothing to do about it.

Dennis was not convicted of cheating. Mclaren were. I do understand that the man in charge is responsible for it but given that it was Ron who went back to the Fia with new evidence that convicted his own team shows that this man is true racer. Put that along with the fact he is one very successful business man and I think he deserves it more than many who have been by now.

If you want to talk about cheating we could talk about several crashes involving a certain Mr Schumacher and then one where he didnt even crash (Monaco). Or what about Senna crashing into Prost and vice versa. How about Renault?

35

remember dennis was covicted for cheating by the fia. Paid a fine of 100 million dollars. I imagine you have that info. And he didn’t learn the lesson, because at australia last year, encouraged hamilton to lie, to get the third place.

Brown is more clean, but that doesn’t mean he is the type to receive a knigthood.

Even though if it was for you, half the grid, would get it i assume.

36

Have you driven on yet?

37

When I first saw the car I was unimpressed but it has grown on me immensley. I wish McLaren success with it. Now to find a suitable sportscar racing programme for it…

38

Hi James

I wanted to ask you a question, but can’t seem to find a “contact” section of your website or a contact email address. I would very much appreciate a few min of your time.

Vic

40

So Ron is finally getting his wish of a british Ferrari. The car looks good I hope it works out for him as it would be good for the UK!

41

How many of these people who talk of a

British Ferrari have heard of a company called Lotus?

42

But they are Malaysian now!

43

Almost three decades after Chapman’s death and Lotus is still making great sports cars in the UK.

44

My other car is a Ferrari.

45

I can see how people are saying it looks similar to the F430 and 458, but too be honest my first impression was that it looked like an evolution of the McLaren F1 road car, which makes sense considering its the same company making it.

Vic

46

agree. It looks like a mild version of the f1. just have to give them time.

47

its very interestint that everyone says that it looks like a ferrari at least the front

i was dissapointed to see how much the latest ferrari looks like the much successful lambo gallardo. not only the front lights but the whole structure of the car

the ferrari looks much more to the lambo than the mclaren looks like a ferrari

i think mclaren couldve done a better job on the design side really…

the wheels are old styled – lets hope it drives better than it looks

ps: im a big mclaren fan

48
Stephen Pattenden

James,

Still got issues with your website. It seems as though it fail for a few hours before an update becomes available.

Loving your work though.

Steve

49

Big fan of Ron Dennis, and I love watching his transition from team boss to industrialist. Very inspiring.

I think that in some ways McLaren is the optimum supercar brand. Ferrari is of course up there, but when you consider how many foreign students are milling about Piccadilly Circus every day with Ferrari rucksacks and t-shirts, and when you can look on Ebay and find an ’82 Mondial or ’78 400i for 7 or 8 grand, you realise that there has been a devaluation of their brand. Equally Mercedes, whilst associated with very premium supercars, also make white vans and crappy runabouts.

McLaren suffers no such diminution. If you overhear someone mention that his McLaren is parked outside you know he is a PLAYER! And that pure breed of class will, I think appeal to sufficient numbers of discerning buyers to make this a success. I just hope they don’t become the motor of choice for HipHop ‘artists’ or Premiere League footballers the way the Bentley Continental did…

50

“I just hope they don’t become the motor of choice for HipHop ‘artists’ or Premiere League footballers the way the Bentley Continental did…”

Who do you think will buy them?! this is the very driver they are aimed at.

Sadly the vast majority of supercar drivers are undeserving and paid for by bankers bonuses, footballers or “entertainers” obscene pay packets and lottery wins.

51

Disagree. There are many, many more discerning wealthy individuals on Earth than the inhabitants of planets Football & HipHop. Apart from one or two celebrities (Simon Cowell springs to mind) the various Veyrons produced are owned by wealthy businessmen. As are all but a few of the Enzos. As are all but a few of the McLaren F1s…

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