Ron Dennis to Quit McLaren This Week

Ron Dennis to Quit McLaren This Week
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That’s the report from the TimesOnLine.com, the internet version of London’s Sunday Times, one of the most prominent newspapers in Great Britain.

The report comes only days after a Spanish newspaper reported that Mercedes-Benz, one of the largest shareholders in McLaren, was forcing Dennis – who is one of the founders of Team McLaren and the team manager – to leave the company. The report also follows less than a week after British and Italian police raided both Dennis’ residences and McLaren’s offices seeking evidence linking Dennis and other McLaren officers to last year’s thefts of Ferrari team secrets.

(more after the jump)

Late last week, Italian police claimed that documents and information seized in the raids did, in fact, implicate Dennis in the thefts. McLaren, however, has issued a statement categorically denying that the Italian police obtained any such evidence and asserting that the raids were improperly motivated as an attempt to embarrass the team. McLaren has stated that it will complain to the British Home Secretary about the cooperation of British police authorities in those raids.

According to the Times, the usual explanations are being offered by Dennis: wanting to spend more time with his family and children and avoid the increasing demands presented by the sixteen race Formula One schedule. Apparently, Dennis is also saying that he’d originally intended to leave his post as team principal manager last year, but was prevented from doing so by the Ferrari theft scandal. Dennis recently separated from his wife, after a 22 year marriage, so there may be some validity to the claim that he wants to reorder priorities.

Dennis’ departure, if it occurs, may not put the Ferrari theft saga entirely behind the team. Press reports have said Dennis would be succeeded by the current number two at the team, Martin Whitmarsh. However, Whitmarsh’s residence was also searched by police in last week’s raids and is apparently also the subject of investigation by the Italian authorities.

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