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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  |  472 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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472 comments

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1

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

2
Rupert Richardson

Mmmmm... I really can't see Ross working for Dennis

3

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.

4

Very good 😉

5

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

6
Bring back V12's !!!

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

7

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!

8

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.

9

"Ron doesn't do politics?"

"We are racing Fernando!"

10

haha. True. +1

11

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

12

Ron doesn’t do politics - easily contender for quote of the year...

14

"Ron doesn’t do politics"

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

15

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.

16

Ron doesn't do politics? Might want to dig a little deeper there 🙂 politics is exactly what Ron does.

17
heinzman (fan of: ALO)

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

18

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

19

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

20

Perhaps Flavio..

21

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

22

Yes if given free reign.

23

If Dennis is in charge, Button can't even think of any relief.

Why is Dennis a disaster for McL?

24

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???

25

@ 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.

26

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.

27

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.

28

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.

29

relief for Button? Button is Whitmarsh golden boy

30

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

31

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

32

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...

33

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?

34

Last I checked Button beat Perez last season.

35

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

36

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.

37

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.

38

Ron Dennis IS McLaren. He is an incredible man.

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

39

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.

40

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.

41

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

42

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

43

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.

44

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?

45

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.

46

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

47

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

48

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.

49

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.

50

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.

51

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.

52

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.

53

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.

54

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.

55

So true ... Brawn shall be all Honda'd soon.

56

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!

57

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.

58

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!

59

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)

60

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.

61

nice

62

Welcome Back Ron 🙂

63

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.

64

Sophisticated??

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

65
Rogelio Carballo

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.

66

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

67

This.

68

Best. Comment. Ever. 🙂

69

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.

70

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

72

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..

73

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

74

Falling of the chair…laughing!

75

I chuckled 🙂

76

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?

77

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.

78
heinzman (fan of: ALO)

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

79

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

80

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

81

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.

82

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?

83

He stepped down after the LieGate scandal.

84

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.

85

Max Mosley!

86

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

Thanks

87

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

88

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.

89

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.

90

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

91

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.

92

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!

93

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

94

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

95

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).

96

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

97

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.

98

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

99

@ 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

100

Share that sentiment.

101

Sad RD is tyrant...at least MW gave it class

102

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

103

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

104

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.

105

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

106

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.

107

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

108

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.

109

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

110

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

111

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

112

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

113

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

114

James, what needs work at the McLaren car business?

115

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

🙂

116

Making & selling cars.

117

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

118

Running the darn company!

119

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?

120

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.

121

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..

122

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'

123

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.

124

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.

125

Wishful thinking.

126

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.

127

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.

128

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

129

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

130

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.

131

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

132

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

133

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.

134

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.

135

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

136

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.

137

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".

138

Nice story, or dare I say dream !

Too early to write an obituary either way.

139

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

What goes around, comes around.

140

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

141

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.

142

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.

143

"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!

144

Turkey was the "crash kid"s best effort.

145

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

146

"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.

147

Hamilton fans make me laugh with all this jenson bashing

148

This is the funniest opinion I have read in a long time!

Button being sly is why Hamilton lost from pole, what next?

149

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.

150

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!

151

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

152

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

153

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

154

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

155

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!

156

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.

157

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.

158

"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 😉

159

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.

160

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

161

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.

162

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.

163

"new engines/regs can play right into his hands."

Care to explain how?

164

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)

165

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.

166
Clarks4WheelDrift

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.

167

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.

168

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.

169

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.

170

"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?

171

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...

172

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.

173

"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.

174

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.

175

Likeable bosses are usually bad for the business.

176

....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

177

"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!!

178

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.

179

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.

180

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

181

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

182

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.

183

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

YES!!!

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

😎

(ONE)

184

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.

185

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.

186

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.

187

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!

188

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

189

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.”

190

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

191

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!

192

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.

193

Ba-zing!

194

[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.

195

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.

196

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

197

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

Didn't happen & Whitmarsh therefore out?

198

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.

199

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

200

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...

201

"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.

202

"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.

203
Robert in San Diego

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.

204

They guy that you are a fan of is Jenson

205
Robert in San Diego

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

206

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 :-/

207

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!

208

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.

209

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!!

210

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

211

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.

212

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!

213

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

214

So the Merc is not fast enough!

215

No, Lewis BELONGS in a McLaren.

216

In a winning one 😀

217

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.

218

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

219

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.

220

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!

221

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.

222

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

223

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.

224

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.

225

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.

226

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

227

I thought McLaren allowed Paddy Lowe to join Mercedes early.

Surely the least they can expect is Mercedes to release Ross early in return.

228

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!

229

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?

230

Exactly.

He said that on Autosports two months ago.

231

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

232

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.

233

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.

234

About time

235

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

236

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.

237

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.

238

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.

239

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

240

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).

241

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.

242

"realignment of management focus with built in transition smoothing"

Ha! My friend, you speak fluent Ron!

243

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.

244

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.

245

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.

246

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

247

Thank God! This was way over do!

248

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!)

249

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

250
Alexander Supertramp

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

251

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

252

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

253

Sam - no chance under Ron.

254

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

255

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

256

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

And frankly, so am I.

*High fives*

257

+1 to the return of Ronspeak!

258

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.

259

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).

260

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

261

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.

262

... 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.

263

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

264

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.

265

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.

266

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

269

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

270

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

271

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.

272

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?

273

Medvedev, now prime minister

274

"Sam Michael will take over as Team Principle" - Judging by various comments, most McLaren faithfully had a heart attack when you dropped that line 🙂

275
StillwatchingAATY

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.

276

Well spotted - sounds highly plausible.

277

Great Ron speak at the end there, James!

280

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.

281

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.

282

Ferrari - LdM = Dream Team

283

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...

284
StillwatchingAATY

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.

285

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

286
StillwatchingAATY

....probably pretty quick about it though...

287

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...

288

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".

289

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!

290
6 Wheeled Tyrrell

So a Mexican can't replace Hamilton?

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

291

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

292

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

293

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 🙂

294

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

295

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

We will see

296

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.

297

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

298

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!

299

Really?

(Also, one should be more civil

if one is to display such egregious

language usage.)

301

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.

302

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.

303

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.

304

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.

305

It was about time.

Withmarsh does not know how to run the team.

306

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.

307

"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?

308

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.

309

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.

310

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!

311

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.

312

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.

313

"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...)

314

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.

316

Ok, my mistake then.

317

🙂 Nice comment

318

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.

319

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.

320

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.