Lewis Hamilton, Ron Dennis, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Dennis admits McLaren could have kept Hamilton

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Ron Dennis, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010Ron Dennis says McLaren could have kept Lewis Hamilton in its team for 2013.

Hamilton left McLaren to join Mercedes for the 2013 season.

Speaking to the magazine of the Confederation of British Industry in December, Dennis said: “Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes.”

“Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn?t think so.”

Dennis added: “Whatever people choose to do at the end of a contractual period, the professional thing to do is to be supportive of the other side.

“We don?t wish him every success at Mercedes ?ǣ that?s understandable, as he?s obviously going to be a competitor ?ǣ but we don?t wish him anything negative.”

“I think it?s wrong to portray that Lewis left this team. At the end of the day, you end up with a situation where you?re going to separate if the circumstances aren?t right.”

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94 comments on “Dennis admits McLaren could have kept Hamilton”

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  1. Seems like the case of Sour Grapes for Ron Dennis …..

    It was obvious that Martin Whitmarsh badly wanted to keep Hamilton in the team. Ron’s Remark contradict that as if it was just another driver who left the team. It does not seem to be the true situation. He is trying to make it look like there is no difference between Heikki and Lewis moving out of Mclaren.

    No wonder of-late the best talents had huge issues with Ron at Mclaren that includes Montayo, Kimi, Alonso and Lewis. !!!!

    I Wish Lewis really turns around Mercedes and Be the WDC for 2013.

    1. Needless to say Greats like Prost, Senna and Adrian Newey who could not survive at MclAren for long. I mean Newey too had a bad experience. He wanted to leave the team early but the was held back contractually for one or 2 more year if I am not wrong by legal means.

      All this begs a question – Is Ron Dennis really making McLaren a bad place for the the talents or IS Mclaren really worth the hype that they get ? . Apart from the Senna / Prost Years of late 80s we are yet to see a domination from them. Even with having Newey with them for almost 10 years.

      Who knows Newey might be secretly regretting his years at McLaren as time wasted !!!!!

    2. It`s plain wrong to portray McLaren as a team that is hard on their drivers, McLaren demand a lot from their drivers but has also given a lot of talented drivers a chance they would not have been given by other big teams.

      There is a lot of talk here about drivers and Newey leaving McLaren, and that is true, they have all left. What people tend to forget is why they left. Let me sum it up:

      Prost left because of the war with Senna. there was no going back, either Prost had to go or Senna had to go. There was nothing McLaren could do under the circumstances, they had given both drivers equal opportunities.

      Senna left Mclaren because his main priority was to win at all cost. McLaren (as the rest of the teams on the gris except Williams) were on the back-foot technically, Senna concluded that he wouldn`t have a chance unless he got into that Williams. Sadly we know what happened..

      Mika Hakkinen was indeed Ron Dennis favourite driver. He was fast, reliable, not demanding and extremely loyal to his employer. Do not forget that Hakkinen outqualified Senna in his first outing for McLaren.

      Newey is a special person, almost an artist. He wants and needs the freedom to express himself and does not respond well to very strict systems. Mclaren is very well organized with different people responsible for different parts of their organization. That didn`t suit Newey. Ironically it`s probably this structure that has enabled McLaren to be among the top teams for almost 50 years. The team does not depend on 1 or 2 guys`and is able to come back when key-personell move on. That`s part of McLarens philosofy.

      Montoya was also a free spirit that didn`t respond well to systems and dicipline. Brilliant when he was on his game but less so when he was not. He left F1 alltogether as he had a problem with F1-life in general.

      Raikkonen left McLaren for Ferrari, and most top drivers in the world will take a seat at Ferari if they get a chance. Back in 200672007 this must have been very tempting as the Ferrari was the fastest car in the latter part of the 2006-season. I`ve never heard Raikkonen say anything bad about Mclaren or critizise them in any way. of course he was gutted by the reliability in 2003 and 2005 but still there`s mutual respect between McLaren and Raikkonen. If Perez doesn`t succeed and Lotus struggle in 2013 I wouldn`t be surprized if Raikkonen was offered a seat at Mclaren and accepted a drive.

      Alonso`s departure is the only one for whom McLaren and Ron Dennis must take full responsibility. When Alonso arrived on a high he had been given promises by ron Dennis, Alonso was on top of the world and expected to continue his winning ways. At the start of the season he struggled with tyres that were new to him while Hamilton was shining. Ultimately Ron Dennis couldn`t resist the temptation of supporting Hamilton in the internal battle. It`s a business after all, and Ron Dennis is a businessman. In Hamilton he thought he had it all, young, talented, exotic, British and successful. This was a golden opportunity for McLaren, there were lots of money to be made. Alonso felt betrayed and we know what happened. There was no way back for either party.

      This brings us to Hamilton and his departure. He`s been at McLaren for 6 years and has only one title to show for it. He should have won the title in 2007 if not for his own mistakes and he should have been in contention for the 2010-title as well if not for his own mistakes. In 2012 he should have been in contention for the title again if nor for McLaren`s mistakes. There`s a lot of blame to go around here on both sides. I bet each party has felt the other has let them down on numerous occations and the wear eventually takes it toll. I actually believe Ron Dennis when he says it wouldn`t be right to press on at all cost. Furthermore I wouldn`t be surprized if McLaren puts up a stellar season in 2013.

  2. jimscreechy (@)
    4th January 2013, 18:18

    So many seem to liken Ron’s comments to sour grapes, well I think he has every right to feel sour about the turn of events. He, Mclaren, and Lewis Hamilton had a special relationship you don’t often see in F1. It was built over many years with a lot of personal involement, mentoring and financial expenditure. The fact that he is bitterly dissapointed is expected and quite normal. More so because I also think he never really thought Hamilton would leave. Lets face it, Hamilton couldn’t have gone to Ferrari with Alonso’s veto (Massa unconfirmed at the time), the Red Bulls were contracted up and Mercedes (from a realistic point of view within the paddock) weren’t really a competitive option. I think Mclaren simply thought they could play hardball because Hamilton had nowwhere to go. I have abolutely no doubt Ron is full of regrets Hamilton has left particularly because the sticking points of the contract negotiations (if the reports are to believed) were not insurmountable. Is it even realistic to expect him to act as though he has no regard for the unfortunate turn of events? Acting nochalant and pragmatic is a skill people have had to learn because of media attention and intrusion, its a black art not everyone can master and personally I don’t always see the point. Additioally, I ultimately think Martin Whitmarsh is to blame for the failure of Mclaren to win both the WDC and the WCC. His mismanagement of the the team is beyond reproach and he should be SACKED!

    1. Nice post mentioning everything .. and towards the end the bitter truth . The possibility success of Mclaren in 2013 revolves around the car and to certain extent the tyres . I Hope Merc steps it up a bit so that BUT and HAM can have a deja vu moment during the races.

    2. Hey buddy, saying “beyond reproach” is actually very, very positive but then “should be SACKED”? That seems contradictory, don’t you think?

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        5th January 2013, 6:43

        not if you know what ‘reproach’ means

        1. I have a feeling you don’t understand the meaning of “beyond reproach” so here is something to help you out. If this fails to convince you then YOU ARE RIGHT and STICK TO YOUR GUNS :-)

          beyond reproach : not to be criticized These were men of outstanding character who were beyond reproach.
          See also: beyond, reproach
          Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003. Reproduced with permission.

  3. Lewis is great driver and probably one of best 2 at the moment.
    In McLaren he was supported by more then 700 hard working people in order for him to be able to be competetive at the top notch.
    However he needs to realise that you win as a team and you loose as a team…….
    I feel that McLaren was supopose to do bit better job for Lewis, however the otherway around applies the same way if not even more. Bit more support to the team when things are going wrong was missing from his side.
    This might be indication that a time for a change was simply overdue.

  4. I said a while back McLaren should have kept Lewis as he was probably the best option for them, but now it seems not only SHOULD they have kept him, but they COULD have kept him.

  5. I think this is actually quite an emotional interview from Dennis. He’s a man not known for his emotional outbursts, but he does sound bitter with Lewis Departure. It reminds me of his outburst on the Senna/Prost Mclaren clash in Suzuka, where Senna was banned for restarting after the chicane. Dennis probably cared for Hamilton. Anyway, this is also a way to protect the Mclaren “brand”: Like Ferrari and Williams, Mclaren is one of the most prestigious and historic teams in the field, and outlasted many “Legends”. This is his way of saying so, and, in my view, rightfully so. Hamilton, as much as I like is driving style, still a single World Champion and started his career in a Mclaren. Let’s see if he is good enough to gain again a spot in one of the top 2 historic teams ( in my view) of Formula 1.

  6. McLaren in recent years remind me of Williams a decade ago. Fast, can win grands prix, but are too inconsistent to win championships. If the Santander saga has damaged McLaren’s financial abilities as some have suggested, I find it hard to believe that this scenario is going to improve. I have always believed that if a team as great as once were can hit the buffers, as they did in 2011, then so can McLaren. So can any team to be quite honest.
    F1 is a very fickle business, and with the economy like it is no one is taking any risks. If I were a major sponsor looking at F1, McLaren’s current lineup would make me nervous. You know that Red Bull and Ferrari a safe bets, and you ‘USED’ to be able to say the same about McLaren. If, and its a mighty ‘IF’, Mercedes can get their thumbs out of their backsides in 2013 and build a halfway decent car, anything is possible. Personally, I think Lotus will be the ‘third’ team to watch this year I really do. With Raikkonen leading the way, and if Grosjean learns from past errors, I believe they have a stronger line up than McLaren and one on par with that of Mercedes.

  7. At the end of the day Ron has to respect his CEO of McLaren Racing and Team principal Whitmarsh. It’s easy to understand. Jenson is a Whitmarsh signing whereas Lewis was Ron`s signing. With Whitmarsh in charge, he is naturally biased towards his signing. Jenson has to look good or it reflects on Whitmarsh. Jenson was given garentees with his contract in 2011 when Lewis was under-performing in the same car and one wonder’s why,but that was all Whitmarsh’s doing right,. It is wrong to believe that Lewis was eyeing more money, what he wanted was a #1 status like Alonso and Vettel that Ron could not deliver, even though this season, Lewis destroyed Jenson completely. The only thing that made it look close were the retirements.
    I really wish Lewis well next year and if he listens to Lauda and Brawn he should be a massive threat for McLaren.

  8. According to lewis he told martin that he was going to mercedes and martin said his there anything we could have done better and lewis said no i just need a new challenge and he tried to inform dennis, but for 2 weeks he couldnt reach him as he wouldnt speak to him. In the press all he did was criticise lewis management company. He told lewis to inform all their sponsors of his decision. from what have gathered, dennis never expected lewis to leave even with a pay cut as he know lewis wants more wins than money and only mcclaren can provide that apart from red bull. there are three world class drivers out there, vettel, alonso and lewis, none of them are in mclaren. Lets now move on . button needs to improve on q3 otherwise he will struggle. i for one dont know how the tyres will perform this year. if its the same as last season then its going to be a long season for him. he seem to struggle a lot with trying to warm up the tyres.

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