Ron Dennis Out at McLaren?
That’s what a Spanish newspaper is reporting today. The newspaper, a sports daily called Marca, says Dennis was forced out by Mercedes-Benz and will be replaced by Martin Whitmarsh, who had been the deputy team principal at McLaren.
According to the newspaper, Mercedes acted in response to the espionage scandal last year, a scandal that cost McLaren and Mercedes the Constructor’s Championship, as well as a $100 million fine by the FIA.
(more after the jump)
Dennis’ ownership interest in McLaren, at 15%, is vastly outweighed by that of Daimler, which owns 40% of McLaren. The rest is owned by Arab interests with strong business ties to Daimler. Mercedes is also the engine supplier to McLaren.
If the rumor proves true, TopSpeed.com will be entitle to an “I told you so,” because we predicted last fall that Mercedes would force Dennis out of the team after a decent interval, one that made it look less like a hasty decision.
The logic for elimination of Dennis from McLaren is hard to deny. Dennis didn’t merely preside over McLaren while it was stealing Ferrari team secrets, an enormous error in and of itself; he also presided over the worst cover-up since Watergate. Initially, he denied that McLaren management had anything to do with the espionage. But, it eventually came out that he himself had known of it and condoned it. In the end, he was even ratted out by his team’s number one driver, Fernando Alonso.
Since then, the FIA has made it clear that McLaren cars will be subjected to extraordinary levels of scrutiny to assure that the team has not taken advantage of any of the Ferrari data it stole. Indeed, the FIA determined that McLaren’s initial 2008 car did contain design features which were derived from stolen Ferrari information.