Skip to content

Dennis: McLaren demise was painful to watch

Apr 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has said that it was painful to watch the team languish in the midfield for much of the 2013 season, which prompted him to reinstate himself as CEO and return to the day-to-day running of the team.

Dennis took a step back from McLaren’s Formula 1 operations in 2009, handing control over to former team principal Martin Whitmarsh. However, after the team’s worst season since 1980, Whitmarsh was relieved of his duties and replaced by former Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. After such a period of failure, Dennis felt that such drastic action was required.

“It was, of course, painful,” he explained in an interview with the official Formula 1 website. “If you pass executive responsibilities, the only way you can judge the outcome is if it is one hundred percent, otherwise you can accuse yourself of influencing the decisions.

“In the end I felt that the right thing to do was to change direction – to refocus the team and remove from the team anything that was not contributing to a focused effort. There were too many in the team that were distracted by other activities.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Dennis also spoke about his decision to promote Kevin Magnussen into a race seat so quickly and replace the more experienced Sergio Perez.

“The decision to take Kevin was mine,” he revealed. “It was only possible to take Kevin because of my decision – that would be accurate. I took the decision because I felt that we needed to see if he could meet the expectations of our engineers, and so far he has done a great job.”

Magnussen has indeed justified the decision to take him on, having finished his debut race on the podium in Australia last month.

After a few years away, the time is right for Dennis to have returned. His no-nonsense approach had rustled a few feathers in the sport, including those of former FIA president Max Mosley and Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony. With both of those figures no longer in the sport, though, he is able to once again rule McLaren in his distinct and – it must be said – successful style.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Cleveland out for 2016 IndyCar schedule, still possible for future

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Cleveland Getty Images

    LeBron came back to Cleveland, but IndyCar isn’t. Yet.

  2. It’s not the years, but the mileage for Scott Dixon going into 250th start

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT

    Scott Dixon Scott Dixon

    Scott Dixon’s 250th start comes at the same track he debuted with Chip Ganassi Racing at in 2002.

  3. Fast Facts: ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    MKEfastfacts Getty Images

    Fast facts heading into this weekend’s ABC Supply Co. Wisconsin 250, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.

  4. Fernando Alonso takes you inside a simulator (VIDEO)

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:57 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Alonso provides a sneak peek at McLaren simulator.

  5. Matt Wallace returning to ARCA at Lucas Oil Raceway

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT

    Wallace

    The son of Mike Wallace will make his second ARCA start on July 24 at Lucas Oil Raceway.

  6. CFH Racing looks to turn things around once again at Milwaukee

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 Getty Images

    Carpenter and Newgarden look for a rebound similar to the 1-2 finish at Toronto.

  7. Welcome back, Wilson: Englishman back with Andretti for rest of 2015

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    Justin Wilson AP

    Wilson returns for final five IndyCar races of the year with Andretti Autosport.

  8. IndyCar flashback: Power’s dominance at Milwaukee in 2014 (VIDEO)

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:44 AM EDT

    PowerMKEWin AP

    Will Power dominated Milwaukee in 2014. Here’s how he did it.

  9. Coyne drivers Mann, Vautier set to continue in Milwaukee, Iowa

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT

    PippaTexas Getty Images

    Degree of continuity at Coyne, as Mann and Vautier confirmed for next two short ovals.

  10. Hargrove wins twice more in Porsche GT3 Canada at Calabogie

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Scott Hargrove adds two more wins to his record after a one-day sweep of two Porsche races in Canada.

  11. Town or cheese? IndyCar, Indy Lights drivers preview IndyFest (VIDEO)

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:04 PM EDT

    MKEskyline Getty Images

    IndyCar, Indy Lights drivers try to guess towns or cheeses in Wisconsin.

  12. DiZinno: Daytona fence crash ripple effect could extend to other motorsports

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:04 PM EDT

    DillonCrash Getty Images

    The potential ripple effects of Austin Dillon’s catch-fence accident could extend far beyond NASCAR.

  13. Red Bull GRC: Sandell, Dyne deliver Bryan Herta Rallysport first double top-five of year

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    Photo: Bryan Herta Rallysport Photo: Bryan Herta Rallysport

    Sandell, Dyne make it a double top-five for Bryan Herta Rallysport at MCAS New River.

  14. Williams was damned if it did, damned if it didn’t execute team orders on Sunday

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    WilliamsSilverstone Getty Images

    Leading 1-2 early, Williams was almost trapped, rather than able to seize its moment in Silverstone.

  15. Raikkonen drops to P8 in British GP after strategy error

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen skids off during the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.       AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A gamble on intermediate tires backfires for Kimi Raikkonen at Silverstone.

  16. Race Recap: Hamilton sees off early Williams threat and late rain shower to claim third home victory

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) holds the trophy as he walks in the pits after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.  
 AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The British driver sends the home crowd into raptures with his third Silverstone victory.

  17. Ten with Townsend: Red Bull GRC 4 races in, post-MCAS New River

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    After the latest Red Bull GRC round, we catch up with NBC Sports Group motorsports analyst Townsend Bell for a special Red Bull GRC installment of “Ten with Townsend.”

  18. Smiling Through the Rain: Silverstone proved that it isn’t all doom and gloom in F1

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Fans cheer Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP after his victory in the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith gets a little patriotic following his home grand prix, explaining why F1 could stand to be a little more British in its mentality.