With new versions of the 12C coming out all the time, the new P1 still wowing crowds and additional projects underway, sports car fanatics might surmise that McLaren is doing pretty well for itself these days. But Formula One fans would likely disagree. After losing its longtime prodigy Lewis Hamilton to its longtime partner, Mercedes, McLaren failed to land on the podium (let alone win an actual grand prix) even once last season. In fact, the last time McLaren – one of the most historically successful teams on the grid – won the F1 World Championship was back in 2008, when Ron Dennis was still calling the shots. Little wonder, then, that the board of the McLaren Group has seen it fit to reinstate Dennis as chief executive officer.

Ron Dennis is the man rightfully and widely credited with turning McLaren into the powerhouse it is today. He came to the team in 1980 at the end of a three-year dry spell in which it had not won a single grand prix. The following season, it was already winning races again, and by 1984, it was winning World Championships again: seven Constructors' Championships and ten Drivers' Championships with pilots like Lauda, Prost, Senna, Hakkinen and Hamilton. All in all, the team was never as successful as it was under the leadership of Ron Dennis, but in 2009, he stepped aside as team principal to focus on expanding the group's business, leaving Martin Whitmarsh to assume the title of CEO. But while the carmaking division has grown under Dennis' watchful eye, the F1 team has floundered under Whitmarsh's direction. So the board has reinstated Dennis as CEO of the entire group.

This isn't the first time McLaren has faced difficulties with (and had to replace) one of Dennis' lieutenants. Last year, McLaren Automotive's managing director Antony Sheriff was placed on extended leave, his duties ultimately effectively reassigned to Mike Flewitt, who was promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive officer of the carmaking unit this past summer. Just what that this new appointment will mean for Whitmarsh in his role as F1 team principal remains to be seen, but Dennis says he is gearing up "to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance." He'll have a new strategy outlined for the group next month, but in the meantime, you can read the official announcement below.
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Ron Dennis CBE Appointed Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group

McLaren Group today announced that Ron Dennis CBE, Chairman of McLaren Group, has been appointed to the additional role of Group Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group.

WOKING, SURREY, UK - McLaren Group today announced that Ron Dennis CBE, Chairman of McLaren Group, has been appointed to the additional role of Group Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group, with immediate effect. Mr Dennis, a shareholder of McLaren since 1980 and the architect of its modern era, was the CEO of the Group from 1982 to 2012 and the Team Principal of the McLaren Formula 1 racing team from 1982 to 2009 before becoming Chairman of the Group in 2013.

Following his appointment today, Mr Dennis said, 'My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance. Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them. During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it. I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of Group Chief Executive Officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective – which is to win at whatever we do.'

Mr Dennis will remain Chairman of McLaren Automotive, the marque's successful high-performance road car company.


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  • 14 Comments
      Trent
      • 11 Months Ago
      I still miss Sienna, he died on Williams watch and firmly believe he would still be here with us today if he would have stayed with Ron Dennis. Glad your back Ron!
      The Law
      • 11 Months Ago
      Now if only they can convince Lewis Hamilton to come back, I'll be like old times 2008.
        RocketRed
        • 11 Months Ago
        @The Law
        He should get Fred back also, then it really would be good times again. 2007 may have been their greatest year as a team since the 90s and going forward, in terms of having two awesome drivers and a great car, as well as in terms of thrilling inter-driver drama. My favorite F1 moment of the decade may be Dennis ripping off his headphones and glaring at Alonso as he blocked the pit box at Hungaroring denying Hamilton pole. That was some good stuff there. Only later were we to learn that Alonso, who had been trafficking in stolen/improperly-gifted Ferrari data with his amigo De La Rosa, tried to blackmail Dennis. You couldn't write this stuff.
          wrc_addict
          • 11 Months Ago
          @RocketRed
          where are you getting this info? Get your facts straight, mate. First of all when Alonso joined Mclaren he was promised the no. 1 driver position when that wasn't clearly the case he pressed Dennis to stick to his promise. Out of frustration Alonso threatened to reveal damaging information about Mclaren spying on Ferrari. Alonso later withdrew his threat and apologized to Dennis but Dennis had already informed the FIA that one of their senior engineers was in possession of confidential Ferrari data. The funny thing now is Mclaren wants Alonso back. Dennis has said himself that he would not veto that decision.
      rtkewley
      • 11 Months Ago
      I hope Mr. Whitmarsh has his resume up to date...
        Durishin
        • 11 Months Ago
        @rtkewley
        And that the Tifosi are ready to see Mr. Brawn in silver instead of rosso corsa.
          RocketRed
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Durishin
          I'm guessing you mean rocket red, not silver, as Brawn was most recently in the latter livery. Interesting theory, though, that Brawn will be put on the pit wall by Dennis. I think the Tifosi will have enough to gnash their teeth about with he coming Alonso/Raikkonen soap opera and more underperformance from Dominicali's crew.
      Soccer Mom
      • 11 Months Ago
      2013 season was a disaster for McLaren. I hope, Dennis manages to bring back the greatest team in the sport.
      Sargegxp
      • 11 Months Ago
      I am flat out outraged at the entire idea as that will ultimately lead to less choices and government bureaucracies running it. Screw that. We know how efficient and controlling in a stupid way that can be, Some form of incentive will popup to force us into that choice and staying free will be at high cost.
      Groagun
      • 11 Months Ago
      So most of you seem rather happy to have Mr. Dennis back. Isn't that a real problem though? Without him the team flounders and can't win. Really, is there no one else on the team who can right the ship? All of Mr. Dennis' "lieutenants" as was written above, aren't capable of doing the job? What kind of 'lieutenants' does he hire? It does beg the question(s), what is it really like to work at McLaren under Ron Dennis? A good to great leader knows from day one that he or she will be replaced one day and should start the search and molding process of their replacement on day one. So far all of the replacements, not just Mr. Whitmarsh have failed. That may not be totally fair or accurate but the team is exactly that, a team and not a group of individuals. I suspect working under Mr. Dennis is no pick-nick and Mr. Whitmarsh was doomed from the first unfortunate incident. Having Ron Dennis breathing down your neck and I'm sure reminding you that he will grab the reins back in very short time was not the best situation for Whitmarsh or the team. Now I may be totally wrong and Mr. Dennis is a wonderful human being and is just that good at racing but, it still begs the question, what is next for the team and what happens when Mr. Dennis does need replacing permanently?
      ksrcm
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wow, it IS true that human memory is short. I never liked Mr Dennis (for example, I have intense dislike for Mr. Belichick as well and for the same reasons) but I'm glad he's back. Somebody ought to bring a proper fight back to Red Bull sooner rather than later. There's to hoping that p*issed off Ferrari lawyers have memories as short as Autoblog.
      Ivan Piano Bayani
      • 11 Months Ago
      the only way they could win a championship again is to employ a good driver, what about Raiko, since Alo ans Lew i think would not consider coming back to Mac, but i just dont know if Ron could influence either the two to work with him again.
      oddoyenii
      • 11 Months Ago
      the problem with MW was that LH didn't believe that he can take Mclaren forward because of the reliability issues, and RD coming out and saying Lewis had to prove to the team that he is worthy of a new contract which didn't help. According to Martin Brundel, Mclaren brought a massive upgrade ie, new floor pan, new chassis, rear and front wing mid season, which they felt would give them a competitive edge. However, on Friday practice Button complaint that the car was slower than before. this is the feedback they got from Button. Mclaren engineers felt button didn't get the best out of the car they gave him. The problems was that Button could not help the team develop the car. Mclaren need Alonso or Hamilton we all know lewis wont be going back, especially with the treatment he got from Sam Michael, and with Alonso we all know what happened. If anyone thinks Maclaren will win the championship with Button then think again.
      Ben Lee
      • 11 Months Ago
      McLaren should of brought back Adrian Newey instead.
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