Ron Dennis severs all ties to McLaren


The Ron Dennis and McLaren association is no more. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Former McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has agreed a deal to sell off his remaining shares in the company and stepped down from his role as Chairman of McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive, after thirty-seven years with the organisation.

The deal sees the formation of new holding company the McLaren Group, which will be chaired by Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa.

Dennis quit his role as CEO within the F1 team and company back in November last year, after fellow board members, who were unhappy with the way he was running McLaren, forced him out. Things have not improved much since that time, but the new management team still needs time to make their presence felt, before they can truly be judged.

Under Dennis’ management, going all the way back to 1980, McLaren secured ten drivers’ championships and seven constructors titles, in a tenure that saw the Woking based squad win 158 grand prix, making Dennis one of the most successful leaders in F1 history.

That was not enough to keep him in situ however, as poor performances across the last few seasons, particularly since the reigniting of their partnership with Honda, a deal that Dennis struck, signalled the demise of McLaren as a great force, and saw the brand begin to suffer.

Today’s news means the name that was for so long synonymous with McLaren, will no longer be associated with this once great team in its current guise, but Dennis, who was reflective and gracious about his time at the helm in Woking, was pleased to have agreed the deal.

“I am very pleased to have reached agreement with my fellow McLaren shareholders. It represents a fitting end to my time at McLaren, and will enable me to focus on my other interests.

“I have always said that my 37 years at Woking should be considered as a chapter in the McLaren book, and I wish McLaren every success as it takes the story forward.

“Perhaps my greatest satisfaction is the Formula 1 team’s outstanding racing safety record, which is a tribute to the dedication and efforts of hundreds if not thousands of talented and conscientious employees whom I have had the privilege of leading.

“I wish McLaren well, and I send my greatest thanks and best wishes to my colleagues in all corners of its business, and at every level of seniority. Truly, they are the best of the best.

“And, well-funded to succeed and grow, and led by an ambitious management team, McLaren is ideally poised to build on the successes that I am so proud to have contributed to during my time leading such a great British group of companies.”

New McLaren Group Executive Chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, praised Dennis for his contribution to the great success that McLaren has enjoyed across the years, and whom without the Woking based squads story could have been a very different one.

“I would like to pay tribute to Ron’s immense contribution to the McLaren success story over the past 37 years.

“As soon as he had taken over the running of the team in the late autumn of 1980, it was immediately clear that here was a man whose ambition to surpass the achievements of all previous Formula 1 team principals would not be checked.

“Together with Mansour Ojjeh of TAG Group, whom Ron soon introduced to McLaren and whose support has been invaluable to its success for a third of a century, Ron rewrote the record books in the 1980s and 1990s, winning Grands Prix and World Championships as a matter of apparent routine. “But, it was not routine: it was in fact the result of a lot of clever thinking and a huge amount of extremely hard work.

“That ethos remains at McLaren, and I am very proud now to be assuming the position of Executive Chairman, alongside Mansour, my fellow Executive Committee principal, who will continue to work with me to drive McLaren Group forward to new successes.

“There will be time in the near future to outline our plans, for the coming months and years will be an extremely exciting time in the story of McLaren.

“But now, today, it is appropriate that we pause to express our gratitude to Ron. So, on behalf of McLaren and all who sail in her, may I say three heartfelt words: thank you Ron.”