Ron Dennis, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

McLaren takeover bid puts Dennis’s future in question

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In the round-up: Ron Dennis may be forced out of McLaren as a foreign consortium is making a takeover bid.

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Ferrari did not cover themselves in glory with their protest over Sebastian Vettel’s Mexican Grand Prix. They might actually have done better with this:

I was hoping for something ingenious by Ferrari.

I read today that scientists have discovered that the Australian continent is shifting back and forth several millimetres every year. So maybe Ferrari was preparing a claim that Vettel did not move under braking, but that (similar to Australia) Mexico had moved below him, and it was actually Ricciardo moving under braking.

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Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix five years ago today:

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  • 41 comments on “McLaren takeover bid puts Dennis’s future in question”

    1. With Ron, McLaren are a struggling team with pedigree that will get back to the front.

      Without him they’re just a struggling team.

    2. Professor Brian Cox once said regarding when he crashed his car (think he might have said this on top gear?), that because motion is relative, it was actually him staying still and the ground and lamp post moving towards him. Maybe that argument could have also applied in Vettel’s case?

    3. LOL Coldfly =)

    4. I believe in Ron Dennis. Next year the McLaren will be strong.

    5. There was a time not too long ago that one feels Ferrari could have used that excuse and the FIA would have actually bought it…

    6. I have to laugh at Palmer’s comments. If Renault improve so much in 2017 that they’re ahead of Haas (I don’t discount it, they have more money to throw at the team), then its more likely they’ll go shopping for an equally capable driver in 2018.

      So there’s more pressure on Palmer to step up and perform consistently if he wants to be in consideration for 2018, when there’s anyway a pretty large upheaval in the driver market.

      1. Simon O'Donovan
        12th November 2016, 2:05

        Renault are not there just to make the numbers up. Palmer will have to raise the game, but at least he has another year for the moment. Magnussen made a big error moving on.

      2. I think, considering the scale of the rule change and the infancy of the Haas project, Haas is likely to slip behind Enstone. In the end it’s really simple. Magnussen not only sensed a lack of confidence in his work but more importantly KMag ran away from Hulkenberg. I’m pretty sure that KMag can handle Romain, and he knows it, as losing to Hulk would definitely end Mags f1 career.

        1. @peartree – a very good viewpoint 👍

          1. @phylyp, in the article, Palmer does indeed say that “it’s up to me to do a good job” in order to retain his seat, and his attitude within that piece suggests that he is fully aware that he has to perform at a high level in order to retain his seat.

            I’d also agree with @peartree about Renault’s prospects – considering that the bulk of their efforts this season will have been dedicated to their 2017 car and the fact that they are building up the resources of the team, you would expect them to improve significantly in comparison to this year.

            1. Cheers, anon

    7. Given the fact that Mansour Ojjeh and the wealth fund who own 75% of McLaren are against the Chinese takeover and intend to use that as a reason to oust him, do we know anything about why Ron Dennis is possibly interested in it? Is it just the money, which will fund a new technology centre among other things?

      And does Ron even support that bid, when he presented it to the board for consideration? Was it a case of “Hey guys, you need to know about this new bid” or “Hey guys, you need to know about this new bid which I like and support”?

      1. @phylyp, the rumours are that the board of directors have been increasingly frustrated at Ron over the past few years over his performance. Issues such as the fact that he never delivered on the title sponsorship deal that he has promised for a number of years haven’t helped, whilst there are also concerns that Ron’s decision to push Honda into the sport a year earlier than they had planned to has hurt the long term competitiveness of the team by preventing Honda from developing their power unit properly in the first place.

        Basically, it seems that Ron’s main interest in this deal is because he wants to use the Chinese investors to buy out Ojjeh and Mumtalakat and to replace them with more compliant business partners. Mumtalakat and Ojjeh, in turn, are rather unhappy at the way that Ron is treating them – especially in the case of Ojjeh, considering that he traditionally has been a close friend and ally of Ron’s – which seems to be why there has been such a backlash from them.

        1. Thanks for that context, anon.

          1. @phylyp, glad that has helped set the context – it is not a single spur of the moment decision by the rest of the board, but rather it is a consequence of a number of decisions that Ron has been made over the past few years that have lead to them eventually concluding that they need to look to a new person to lead the motorsport division.

            The indication at the moment is that, whilst Ron might be removed from his current position, he might not disappear entirely from the wider company. Rather, it looks like the motorsport division would be taken out of his hands and would be transferred to another party, with Ron being left to manage the other divisions of the group (i.e. the automotive and specialist mechanical engineering divisions).

    8. Knoxploration
      12th November 2016, 4:51

      Good. Ron Dennis is not supposed to be in F1 any more. Part of the deal in punishing his team for cheating was that he left. He’s a cheat, and I hope he loses his precious plaything and has to go back to a lower formula where he belongs.

      1. Wrong person. That was Flavio Briatore, and yet they still let him in the F1 paddock. Get your facts right before spouting your hate.

        1. @franton, you’d be hard pushed to find a major team in the paddock that hasn’t cheated or heavily abused the rulebook at some point – the main indiscretions of Briatore and Dennis were that they allowed themselves to be caught out in a very public manner.

        2. Even Briatore’s lifelong ban has been overturned years ago.

        3. Just because you don’t know about it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

          I know what I am speaking about here, and here is just one quick citation to back it up:

          Get your facts right before trying to correct others next time.

      2. Knoxploration: Ron Dennis didn’t cheat but several of his team members were certainly prepared to and paid heavy fines as a result including Jonathon Neale and Paddy Lowe. I am certain that RD had no knowledge of the flow of proprietary Ferrari information into McLaren engineers hands, after all, the incriminating documents were photocopied in a commercial copy shop in Woking, not at the McLaren factory. It was Fernando Alonso who finally threw the team under the bus with ‘further evidence’ which directly resulted in the FIA’s massive $100m fine. Ron’s darkest hour came when he tried to cover up the existence of the this ‘further evidence’. Interestingly, prior to this, there was absolutely no evidence that McLaren had used any of the Ferrari information in their 2007 campaign, which makes the imposition of the fine even more bizarre..

        1. Unless you were there then you can’t be certain of anything. Only speculation and educated guesses.

          1. And then there’s also the fact that FA is back at Mac.

    9. While the Ferrari request was rather a empty gesture by them with a predictable result, I was glad to see the Vettel/Whiting handshake. In the course of human events it is nice to see things work out in a civilized manner, even if they did not start out that way.

      In fact, by account of a client of mine Charlie Whiting is actually a kind caring soul who is willing to go out of his way to help people when the occasion arises. I do web design and consulting and have built a racing related website for my client, who is also a good friend. He met Charlie Whiting earlier this year and Charlie took interest in his racing venture and our website to the point of checking it out and making some useful content suggestions that we have implemented. They have spoken and met up several tiimes. He says Charlie is a gentleman, professional, interesting to talk to and not arrogant or self absorbed at all. Theirs is a friendly relationship, there was no compensation made or requested, Charlie just wanted to help out a fellow racing professional.

      He gets raked over the coals sometimes on a variety of topics and I cannot say I agree with every F1 decision he is involved in. But, he sounds like a good egg to me.

      1. @bullmello – Good to hear about that personal experience with Charlie 👍. In the heat of our passions, its easy to paint others with a vitriolic brush, not realizing that – very often – they’re just like us trying to do a job with its own challenges.

      2. Evil Homer (@)
        12th November 2016, 14:46

        Ever true, I have met Charlie (and Herbie) many times over the years, had a drink and a meal and they are genuine gents! Their positions make them open to the critic, and that’s fine, this is F1, but they are truly top blokes!

    10. Paul Rodríguez
      12th November 2016, 5:08

      Well, that theory of the earth moving would have made a lot of sense, in Mexico City we have earthquakes every week…

    11. Palmer is basically missing the point. KMag’s decision is not on performance but longevity with a team. Ever since KMag has entered the sport, he has been trying to find a stable home to really showcase his talent and that has not happened yet.

      Renault, by offering a 1 year contract and stretching its driver announcement leaving its current drivers stranded have clearly conducted themselves very poorly. Palmer will be kicked out once they find availability of Bottas of some other big name for 2018 and that’s why KMag left that offer on the table.

      1. @neelv27, I don’t think that Palmer necessarily has missed the point, as there is a balance between longevity with the team and the performance potential of that team.

        If Haas’s cars over the next two years prove to be less competitive, Magnussen could find himself striving hard only to finish in relative obscurity in most races given that the focus is going to be predominantly towards the front of the midfield pack. He could showcase himself for all the world to see, but if he cannot draw the attention of the other teams towards him, he might find that his move turns into something of a dead end.

        To that extent, I can see Palmer’s logic – he has a shorter timeframe, but if the car is more competitive, it will potentially give him a better platform from which he could garner enough decent result to enable him to either secure a seat at another team or to persuade Renault to change their mind and to grant him a contract extension.

        Ultimately, both drivers are taking a gamble with their decisions and have gone for different options. Magnussen is perhaps gambling that a longer team deal at Haas might give him a change to settle down and perform at a higher level, and hope that the car is competitive enough for him to secure a couple of high profile results that attract some of the larger teams. Palmer, by contrast, is gambling that Renault can make a larger improvement in 2017 and that his performance against Hulkenberg is sufficiently competitive that it enhances his reputation, opening the way to a contract extension or opens up options with other teams.

    12. No mention of Lee Mckenzie’s comments relating to Lauda going into the RBR hospitality suite & talking to Horner and Jos, asking them to not let their drivers interfere with the Lewis/Nico battle?

      Or what about the reports in AMuS that Toto called Jos at 2 a.m to ask the same thing as Niki?

      1. *puts tinfoil hat on*

        Sounds like they really want to make sure Rosberg gets the title eh? Lol

      2. That’s hardly news, it happens every season once the title comes down to the deciding rounds.

      3. Toto called Jos at 2 a.m to ask the same thing

        If I were woken at 2am with such a request, I just might instruct my driver to do quite the opposite!

        1. I hope all the drivers heed Toto and Niki’s words after seeing Nico whacked in turn 1 by Max. After all…it is only common sense. Why would you race one of the only two contenders for the WDC so hard that you hit them off the track? Why would you risk letting the world down by deciding the WDC for us that way? Race them, sure. Just don’t hit one of them. You know, the same concept that is encouraged from race one…contact is usually not good for either driver involved. It is never advised. Why do it now?

          1. @Robbie +1 to hard, but clean and fair racing – for all drivers.

        2. I don’t think you’d have to persuade VES to do the opposite, he’s not going to listen to anyone.

          He is apparently too immature to realize what goes around comes around – he’s about do for a dose of karma.

          As that Brit band so eloquently put it, “the love you get is equal to the love you give.” Daddy would be wise to explain that to him.

      4. Rick (@wickedwicktheweird)
        12th November 2016, 14:47

        I am wondering if they just went to VES, or that they also paid other drivers a visit (for instance drivers that actually tagged a mercedes driver this year).

      5. It’s in MAX’s best interest to make sure ROS is WDC this year.

        MAX has publicly said he’s hear to break records. Keeping Lewis away from 4WDC will only make his path that much easier.

    13. Denis is just to old for the job… He is at it for 35 years and is ready for retirement.

      Look at Other team bosses? All 40 somethings… 69 is not the correct age to be fighting at the front.

      And despite taking over McLaren after they started going downhill, there is no reassurance they are on any kind of uphill. At Best with Mercedes engine they would be somewhere behind Ferrari or there abouts, nowhere near a top team, with top team spending.

      At the end owners need to get on with it and replace him.

    14. John Lancaster
      13th November 2016, 6:00

      A Chinese backed take over of McLaren?
      I don’t think so, especially if conducted under Ron Dennis banner.
      Aside from being out of touch with the current F1 scenario, it smacks of a ‘money grab’.
      And a complete insult to the memory of Bruce McLaren.

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