News straight out of Woking: Ron Dennis has announced that he will stand down as team principal of McLaren.
Speaking at the launch of the MP2-24 – McLaren’s 2009 F1 car – Dennis stated that he was handing over the reins to current number two Martin Whitmarsh on March 1.
“It’s time for Martin to take over,” said Dennis, in a low-key announcement. “This is a job he will embrace and from now most race-day decision will be his.”
Dennis has run McLaren’s F1 operation since 1981, and will stay on as chief executive of the McLaren Group of companies. “It’s time, and it’s absolutely 100 per cent my decision. It’s what I want to do,” he said.
Whitmarsh has been head of operations at McLaren since 1989, and has been Dennis’s second-in-command in the pit lane for several years. “It doesn’t feel like a bombshell to me,” he said. “Ron has reached this point and I was keen for him to dictate a timeframe, but I certainly didn’t push him.”
So, is this good news or bad for McLaren?