Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams has said that it is a ‘shame’ that Formula 1 is losing Ron Dennis after he was ousted from his position as CEO of the McLaren Technology Group.
Despite the rivalry between her team and McLaren in the 80s and 90s, Williams said that Dennis had contributed a huge amount to the sport and that his exit marked the end of an era.
Dennis began his involvement with McLaren in 1980, and grew them into one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history, winning twenty championships in all.
However, he was placed on gardening leave last month after the team’s other shareholders decided that they didn’t want him playing an active role in the team.
Speaking to Autosport Claire Williams said, “For someone who has contributed so much to this sport I think it’s a real shame.
“Williams and McLaren have had our feuds over the years but there has always been an understanding between Ron and Frank [Williams].
“It’s the end of an era.
“I don’t know the ins and outs what has gone on, that’s not my business, but for F1 to lose someone of Ron’s stature is a shame.”
Williams also credited Dennis with helping to build McLaren into more than just an F1 team, with the group now having a road car and technology business.
“There is all this business about the next generation of team principals, but Ron still has his finger on the pulse.
“He has created an almost billion-dollar business which employs 3,500 people and is a road car business, a technology business and one of the most successful Formula 1 teams.
“All of that is under Ron’s watch. You can’t take that away from him.”