Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2012

Dennis replaces Whitmarsh as McLaren Group CEO

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2012Ron Dennis has returned to the role of McLaren Group chief executive officer, a position Martin Whitmarsh has held since 2009.

The move comes five years to the day since Whitmarsh took over from Dennis as team principal.

Dennis’s new responsibilities will include examining the competitiveness of their racing outfit. Last year McLaren failed to score a podium finish all season. The last time that happened was in 1980, when Dennis first took control of the company.

“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,” said Dennis.

“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.

“During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it. I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of group chief executive officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective ?ǣ which is to win at whatever we do.”

Dennis stepped backed from the company’s racing activities to take charge of their car production project. Since then they have launched the MP4-12C and P1 models.

McLaren will launch their 2014 F1 contender, the MP4-29, next week.

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

92 comments on “Dennis replaces Whitmarsh as McLaren Group CEO”

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  1. Haven’t fully got rid of Whitmarsh yet but it’s a start at least…

    1. I honestly cannot believe the ridiculous rose tinted spectacles with which Ron Dennis is being viewed by most on this site!!

      The slating of Whitmarsh and plaudits for Dennis are completely inaccurate!

      Are we all forgetting that the last time McLaren won a WDC was in 1998??? In case you also forgot – Dennis was the team principal in the 11 years since this happened until he stood down in 2009 and Whitmarsh took over! 11 years!!

      Whitmarsh has only been in charge for 5 years and has done statistically better than Dennis and you’re all calling for his head – so DENNIS can take over??? Are you all mad?

      If I remember correctly, the last time Dennis was in charge the only thing he brought to the table was the total mismanagement of 2 drivers which resulted in losing a sure fire drivers championship and a $100 MILLION fine and almost getting his team banned from F1 for good.


      1. I think you’ll find the last WDC for McLaren was 2008, not 1998. Plus they won another in 1999? I take it you mean WCC :P

      2. WCC is not the only measurement of success in F1.

        1. @kelsier

          So how do YOU measure the success of the team?

      3. As far as I’m concerned, McLaren have won 7 WCC and 11 WDC under Ron’s leadership. Also, when Ron Dennis completed 5 years in charge at McLaren, the team had won 1984 and 1985 WDC.

        It’s hard to believe that this kind of comparison was made. Ron transformed a struggling team into a winning one. NoWintmarsh is doing the opposite…

        1. I mean, it was 10 WDC instead of 11

    2. I hope it won’t take long.. I would guess 2015 Mclaren-Honda will have a different leadership! Will it be Brawn?

  2. I have no idea why this news bring smile upon my face.

      1. Checo, nice to see you here!

  3. I think Dennis is a greatly competitive person and, though I like Whitmarsh, ideal as team principal. Nonetheless I’m happy to see him back in a relevant role, and I think he can only do good to McLaren.

    1. Agree. Whitmarsh is a far nicer guy than Ron Dennis, but Ron is a far more intelligent human being and a significantly superior leader.

      Mclaren was going to the dogs with Whitmarsh taking lead.. so its about time that Ron stepped in.

      1. Hard to say whether Dennis is more intelligent than Whitmarsh, but he’s definitely more business shrewd.

        I, too, really like Whitmarsh, to the extent that I’ve become a McLaren fan. Really didn’t like McLaren when I started watching (2006ish), to a large degree due to Dennis, but I guess this can only be good for McLaren.

        1. @victor @il-ferrarista

          Anyone who made Jenson Button their #1 driver and scrapped their 2012 design to make a shoebox 2013 contender lacks a little grey matter.

      2. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
        17th January 2014, 0:48

        Whitmarsh is a truly intelligent bloke, and/but how is he such a bad leader (from our POV) then ?

        He’s been working in Mclaren for more than two decedes iirc, and more than one decade alongside at Dennis and the strategists in the team. He must surely have learned the trade in that periode..

        1. I guess you can be the most intelligent person in the world and that doesn’t make you a great leader. Whitmarsh is still an asset to McLaren in the right position but they desperatly need someone else in charge and Dennis has a proven record in the role.

      3. Whitmarsh is to much of a niceguy.

  4. McLaren needs an overhaul in it’s track operations, and judging by last year results, the designing proccess needs to be ironed out too. I don’t know how Martin runs this kind of thing, but I’d love to see Ron’s meticulous and perfectionist approach being used.

    1. Indeed. Seen to much sloppiness at McLaren recently.

    2. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      17th January 2014, 1:00

      Top tip: check out MotorsportMagazine’s season-ending podcast of 2013 with F1 expert Gary Anderson.

      There he describes how different teams are working on the design of the car. For instance, he tells us and the journalists at MotorspMagazine that in comparison to Red Bull (where Newey leads many design processes), at Mclaren the car is designed by a (sort of) “board”, and have to approved by all engineers in a consensus sort of. If I didn’t hear wrong…, but you can just check he podcast.
      It’s pretty long though.

      1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
        17th January 2014, 1:02

        ooops almost forgot, here it is. About one third into the podcast he starts to evaluate each team.

        Very critical towards both Ferrari and Mclaren.

      2. Don’t forget about this genius’ relevant analysis from less than a year ago. Have been reading his column past year on BBC and I have to say am less than impressed with his technical ‘insight’. Self proclaimed technical expert.

    3. Absolutely. Even more so in 2012, I would say. They had the car and driver combination to win the WDC and they messed it up.

  5. Fantastic news. Who’s going to be first out of the, Sam Michael or Martin Whitmarsh?

    1. The door swings both ways – Ross Brawn?

      1. brawn is familiar with the way honda work too!

        1. …but, can’t stand Ron at all.

          1. if it wins it works..

  6. He did a cracking job with the two road cars. He seems to be a great manager for a guy who basically came up as a mechanic, rather than through GE’s six-sigma program. Hopefully he will bring McLaren back to glory, or at least back to the podium.

  7. @keithcollantine im confused…Martin Whitmarsh has never been CEO of McLaren Group, he is CEO of McLaren Racing, which is part of the McLaren Group

    what is it that makes you say he is replacing Whitmarsh, it does not state this on their website

    1. @turbo-era Whitmarsh was the previous CEO of McLaren Group and Dennis has replaced him in that role. Just because they haven’t drawn attention to it in their press release doesn’t mean it isn’t the case.

  8. Great! Shame Whitmash still there though

  9. so Dennis will also now be team principle and on the pit wall? or not/. I’m confused.

    1. Unless McLaren announce a replacement of the team principal, I would think that Whitmarsh is still in charge of the F1 team. Maybe it’s just so Whitmarsh can focus on F1 and not be side-tracked by other duties…

  10. Things are getting serious at Mclaren. They seem to have their eyes firmly set on 2015, with Dennis more in charge of the racing team during this year’s championship to fine-tune everything related to the outfit so that they hit the ground running in 2015 with the brand new Honda powertrain.

  11. Great, that means no Alonso in McLaren for as long as the bald guy is alive. Actually, I hoped the spaniard would send LdM and Stefano & co to some place far far away and join the sliver black red team …

    1. Not necessarily, Dennis in doesn’t mean Alonso out

  12. Why am I not surprised ??? Whitmarsh is the Mr. Nice Guy . He was losing the grip over the team around the time Lewis departed. Then it was a bit of a downward slide from then on.

    Stefano might be equally worried. He is a position similar to Whitmarsh.

    1. Big Luca must be happy now. Fernando is cornered. The McLaren door might be shut out for him now. So the Ferrari contract is secure till 2016. Fernando might have waited to see how this power struggle between Whitmarsh and Ron play out. I am guessing he might not have risked seeing himeslf in McLaren with Dennis at top and another fast rookie (Kevin) like Lewis besides him. DeJavu !!!!!

      Safe move for Fernando and Kimi to be in Ferrari ….

      1. @tmax I was thinking things very similar to you! I believe Ferrari have betrayed Fernando by employing Kimi. I was hoping that Fernando could move to McLaren for 2015 and win the third title which he deserves. This may be on ice for now.

        1. “on ice” – nice pun, given Kimi ;-)

      2. and another fast rookie (Kevin)

        That is yet to be tested and determined.

    2. Stefano does not care, he wanted to leave long time ago, he is actually doing LdM a favour by staying, because he was asked to stay.

      Stefano does have his main strengths in other areas beside Team Principle, but as LdM can’t find a suitable candidate, Stefano staying put.

  13. …and Ross Brawn is sitting at home with nothing to do either this season or next. Now who did Honda sell their team to? And who was it that used to run Honda engines in the late 80’s and early 90’s with multiple championships?

  14. I have nothing against Whitmarsh personally….but I remember thinking even before he got the position that he would not do a good job, and found it unbelievable that I did not hear more noises to the same…..I don’t usually gloat in “I told you so” mentality, but in this case…..

  15. I think that could be a pivotal event in reversing McLaren’s fortunes in coming seasons – I have always felt Whitmarsh was far too nice a person to be considered sufficiently adequate for managing a team with the ambition that McLaren has.

    Ron Dennis is far superior in that regard, and with the arrival of Honda in 2015 I can see a resurgence from McLaren: perhaps Dennis can relieve the brilliant initial success of a McLaren Project 4.

    1. Just to spice things up I can throw up this conspiracy theory. What if the 2013 McLaren design was sabotaged as an inside job against Whitmarsh ?????? How else can one explain a radical change in design of the fastest car on the grid of 2012. It was going to be thrown away after 1 year given 2014 was altogether new regulations.

      Also just the fact that McLaren and Honda are coming together does not guarantee an instant success to the team. Yeh Williams and renault Came together , Brawn and Schumi came together again we all know where both scenarios ended up.

      1. “How else can one explain a radical change in design of the fastest car on the grid of 2012.”

        They made the decision before it became the fastest car on the grid ‘towards the end’ of 2012, and were too committed and have already admitted this. I seriously doubt it was an inside job, why would Ron sabotage his own team, Martin is doing a pretty good job of it on his own.

      2. @tmax Ahh, someone watches House of Cards :p

  16. Never really liked Ron, but I think that McLaren made the right decision here.

    1. Nathan (@il-ferrarista)
      17th January 2014, 1:06

      Just why?? I’m just curious you know :-p .

      Was it because of his ‘perfectionism’?

  17. Good. Now he can whip their hides back into shape for 2015.

  18. Good to hear some more Ronspeak. Nobody mangles English quite like he does.

    1. +100 ;-)

  19. I guess Alonso’s staying at Ferrari then…

    1. Absolutely.

      Alonso to McLaren = Dead

    2. Yeah, if Dennis is going to have a bigger role in McLaren’s F1 operations going forward then I doubt his old buddy Fernando will be too keen to re-join.

    3. I thought only whitmarsh talked of teflonso ?
      I feel in my heart that Ron would not have him back after his dummy spits and his excessive salary and the talent pool ron can draw from for far less cash .

    4. Yep. This shuts the door for Alonso going to Mclaren.

      The only other way Alonso can get a top drive is if Mercedes has a bad run for a few years, and Ron lures Lewis back to Mclaren. That would open a seat at Mercedes for Alonso.

  20. Headline should read “McLaren finds balls, reattaches.”

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