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