If you thought rumors spread fast among automotive news sites, that's nothing compared to the speculation that spreads like wildfire around racing paddocks. The latest reports suggest that Ron Dennis, who has successfully directed the McLaren F1 team to seven constructors' titles and nine drivers' championships since taking over the team in the early 1980s, has been sacked. Shareholder and engine partner Mercedes-Benz was reportedly angered by Dennis' management of the spy scandal and his failure to secure the championship. Dennis, who recently separated from Lisa, his wife of 22 years and mother of his three children, controls 15% of the McLaren Group, and according to reports, would be replaced by his deputy Martin Whitmarsh.

The reports come from Spanish sports newspaper Marca, which has been highly critical of McLaren since allegations began to surface of the team's mishandling of its ex-driver, Fernando Alonso. According to Marca, however, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be confirming the reports shortly.

[Source: F1-Live, Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty]