McLaren to make major announcement

News that McLaren is to hold a press conference has sparked intense speculation about what they are about to announce.

Today’s Times raises the possibility of Ron Dennis severing his ties with the F1 side of the operation. It claims Dennis was implicated in the Hamilton/Trulli controversy at Melbourne:

Dennis?s decision to step back is also likely to be a consequence of pressure exerted by Anthony Hamilton, the world champion?s father and manager, who does not get on with Dennis. He is believed to have been furious with what he saw as the team selling his son?s reputation to try to gain a single championship point. Relations between the two are said to have reached a point at which Hamilton Sr, and to a lesser extent his son, did not want to continue with McLaren while Dennis was in charge.

Dennis already handed over the leadership of the F1 team to Martin Whitmarsh at the launch of the MP4/24 earlier this year, so would this move make any material difference?

There are other possible interpretations. Are McLaren hoping to improve their prospects at their World Motor Sports Council hearing on April 29 by moving Dennis aside? Is he, like Dave Ryan, being made to shoulder the responsibility for the mistake?

Adding to the intrigue, the Daily Telegraph reports:

It also emerged that Hamilton is to be shielded from the press. Contrary to normal practice, the world champion will not be put up for interview today or tomorrow as the team batten down the hatches ahead of their meeting with the FIA World Motor Sport Council on April 29.

McLaren’s announcement is due later today.

Read more: Ron Dennis at McLaren, 1980-2009

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78 comments on McLaren to make major announcement

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  1. Aquatic Mammal said on 16th April 2009, 9:16

    If Ron takes the fall for McLaren it will be a crying shame. That man has done more for the sport over the years than can easily be reckoned and does not deserve to depart in ignominity.

    As for Anthony Hamilton, he would do well to remember who put him and his son where they are today. It certainly wasn’t his new buddy Max Mosely.

    • Kovy said on 16th April 2009, 22:52

      Spot on.

      He had nothing to do with the controversy in Australia, and neither did Martin Whitmarsh. Now Anthony Hamilton thinks he can muscle him out of his own team?

  2. Derek said on 16th April 2009, 9:25

    I think it is outrageous that the Hamilton’s can dictate what Ron Dennis must do. Without him they would never have got into F1. Ron is the person that Lewis approached all these years ago and said he wanted to drive for, and now just two years after entering F1 they are trying to push him out of his own team!! McLaren is Ron Dennis, without him it’s going to spiral downward and in a few years when Mercedes pull out and go to BrawnGP. McLaren will be history, or worse a back marker team.

    • Dougie said on 16th April 2009, 9:59

      @Derek… Agreed… it’s a sad day!

    • Post-announcement: we are not sure that the Hamiltons are dictating anything, to be honest.

      This is clearly an announcement that has been coming for months. No way could the restructure and the recruitment of Lapthorne have been undertaken in the brief period since the Australian GP.

      This is McLaren diversifying away from the risky business of F1 and adopting a business model closer to Ferrari’s. As such may be very bad news for F1, as one of its major players seems unsure about its future viability. Read our full thoughts here: http://tinyurl.com/c27vq7

  3. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 16th April 2009, 9:30

    good timing Ron.

  4. How is Hamilton pushing Ron Dennis out?

  5. Cameron said on 16th April 2009, 9:44

    What a shame… I feel myself losing a lot of respect for the Hamilton family almost every week.

    As for Ron Dennis, that man is a legend of F1. With a career like his, this will be no way to leave the sport and is an incredible shame.

    • Dougie said on 16th April 2009, 10:05

      You never know what goes on behind closed doors, but it seems all the integrity and sportmanship that Ron & McLaren held in high regard has gone out the window since Lewis (and Anthony) arrived… I’ve never seen a situation within a team change so much, and for it to be McLaren & Ron Dennis was nigh on unthinkable just a few years ago.

      This is a very sad day for the sport and for a man who has given so much and with enormous integrity and well being. Ron, without you Formula 1 is and will never be the same, you brought so much respect in an arena of conspiracy. May be the time is right for you to get out while you can still hold your head high, I wish you all the best in your new role.

      Looking forward to reading your biography, mostly for what came before Lewis to be honest.

  6. Oliver said on 16th April 2009, 10:11

    I find this hard to believe.
    The other time, the Sun said Hamilton had spoken with Mosley, the team denied such had ever occurred. Mercedes would just sit back and allow their shareholdings to become diluted?
    As far as I’m concerned this is just smear campaign on the Hamilton Family.

    • pSynrg said on 16th April 2009, 11:52

      Totally agree with this. Especially considering the news sources.
      Ron has been in the process of moving away from his F1 role for nearly 2 seasons now.
      The press is trying to turn this into some battle of characters.
      Even if Anthony Hamilton was to ask Ron to step aside – which I sincerely don’t believe he would – Ron would probably go and tell him play with some go-karts…
      I think I’m one of the biggest Lewis Hamilton fans out there but I would never consider him or any other driver to be above Ron Dennis in any way!
      Let Ron retire from F1 in peace! A fully paid up legend in Formula 1 if ever there was one…
      I look forward to the evolution of McLaren Automotive.

  7. Oliver said on 16th April 2009, 10:13

    Dougie, if you’ve been following F1 for a number of years, you will know by now that the English press had never had a kind word for Ron Dennis.

    • Dougie said on 16th April 2009, 10:26

      Hi Oliver, you’re absolutely right of course but, although I’ve been watching the sport since the very early eighties, I’m not one for reading the papers. ;)

  8. scunnyman said on 16th April 2009, 10:15

    I’m not sure i would put a lot of faith in what the Times newspaper is claiming.

    Maybe ron dennis is moving aside to lessen the impact for Mcalren at the wmsc at the end of the month, everybody knows mosley and dennis hate each other.

    My feeling is two fold, one is as i said above he is trying to distance himself from mclaren to avoid a huge penalty. Or two he is stepping away from mcaren to maybe be the one to go against mosley for the presidency of the FIA.

    I know he said in the past that a team boss was not the one to be president, but he may have been persuaded by others in Fota to do just that.

    If Ron is not going for the presidency then he is gonna be relinqueshing his role in FOTA too i wonder.

    I personally can’t say i have ben a big fn of mclaren over the years, or of ron dennis. BUt maybe he is one of the people who could maybe do some good in the FIA. Depends on whether he would get enough support from the clubs.

    I could be totally wrong about Ron dennis’ reasons. Maybe it’s for personal issues.

    I guess we’l find out soon.

    Oh and as far as the Hamiltons are concerned i highly doubt they would have enough clout to oust Dennis from mclaren. I mean dennis IS mclaren.

  9. Oliver said on 16th April 2009, 10:15

    Its not Lewis that is responsible for Dennis’ problems. Why for one were the FIA (Max), demanding that Dennis resign during the spygate affair so the team could go unpunished. During that incident, Hamilton was shown to not have played any part in it.

  10. It could simply be smack talk by the Hamilton’s in order to try get out of Mclaren and into a better team. Justifying their reasons well before they make a decision.

  11. Terry Fabulous said on 16th April 2009, 10:21

    Why would Dennis leave?

    If Anthony Hamilton’s Son has such as issue with him, then goodbye and goodluck.

    There are a bucket load of very VERY good drivers who will be there to take his seat, every bit as fast as Anthony Hamilton’s son and the team won’t lose too much.

    Anthony Hamilton’s Son can go and try finding another seat with long term prospects as strong as McLaren.

    • Dougie said on 16th April 2009, 10:30

      Can’t help thinking McLaren let the wrong one go in 2007… with the other on board, as number 1, the car would have been developed and driven within an inch of its life to dominate for years to come… certainly a threat to Schumi’s records.

      Let’s face it most, if not all, the greats veteod their potential teammates.

    • Aquatic Mammal said on 16th April 2009, 14:56

      But notably not at McLaren

  12. Terry Fabulous said on 16th April 2009, 10:23

    Sorry but there comes a time when you need to become your own man, and not just your Father’s little puppet.

    CMON LEWIS! MAN UP!!!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th April 2009, 20:09

      His dad is also his manager.

    • Terry Fabulous said on 17th April 2009, 2:02

      Yes but is he managed by a man who happens to be his father, or is he managed by his father, who happens to be his manager.

      Keith I firmly believe that any young person cannot truly become a man or woman until they have left the nest and the reassuring wing of their parents. For some this happens quite early due to neglect or tragedy removing adult figures from their lives at a young age. They need to move out on their own, strike forward and forge a new relationship with their parents as a parent and adult, not parent and child.

      Look at the number of tennis players, many of whom start playing at a very young age, that still move around the circuit with their parents in a parent and child relationship. It is not until they move forward alone that they…. grow up!

      Compare the relationship that Mark Webber and his parents have compared to Lewis and his parents. Both parents have supported their sons their entire lives but Webber spent some years living away from them, making his own day to day decisions and fending for himself. He is his own man.

      Is Lewis his Father’s son or his Father’s child?

  13. Wonderful that the great Ron Dennis, a man of legendary achievement, should withdraw himself from contact with Mosley’s FIA. He will still be there at McLaren towering over them setting the standards for the whole group but away from any need to listen to their nonsense.
    I doubt if Anthony Hamilton had anything to do with this decision. This is the mainstream media winding everyone up and since when have they got anything right.
    Hopefully Ron should be put up for a major honour soon. Now that would please Max.

  14. matt said on 16th April 2009, 11:08

    If Hamilton becomes responsible for Ron Dennis leaving F1 I will lose a lot of respect for him. Dennis hadn’t even been mentioned in association with the Australia result before now.

  15. This is the first I have heard of rumours that Ron Dennis and the Hamiltons do not get on, did anyone else hear anything about this before The Times article because I have a hard time believing it?

    I am a McLaren and Hamilton fan, while I doubt the rumours are true, if Hamilton did start being disloyal to McLaren, for me it would damage his reputation more than what happened in Australia.

    The rumours I read on other sites about the announcement were that Dennis would cut his ties completely with the F1 team and concentrate fully on other areas of the McLaren Group such as road car projects.

    Since this is only a few months after Dennis has already changed his roles in the group you could look at it a few ways. Either the present situation is not working as well as they thought it would so best to change it as soon as possible, he may be stepping down to try to lessen any penalty from the FIA, or may just feel he wants a change in his life.

    For a few years people have suggested he was considering retirement and was just waiting for McLaren to win another title before he stood down, and with his announcement in January I can’t say it would be a great surprise if he did cut all formal ties with F1.

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