Having already made clear at the launch of McLaren-Mercedes' new MP4-24 challenger earlier this month that he will be far from taking it easy in his post-team principal life, Ron Dennis has gone on to elaborate on just what the future holds for him in 2009 and beyond.
Dennis revealed at McLaren's Woking headquarters that after 28 years at the helm, he would be passing over the reins of control to long-time deputy Martin Whitmarsh, with effect from 1 March, 28 days before the first grand prix of the new season Down Under in Melbourne.
It was a decision, he confesses, that had been taken some time previously, with the initial intention being that of standing down a year earlier, at the end of the 2007 Formula 1 campaign – but circumstances, he explained, conspired somewhat against his wishes…
“It's well known that in early 2007 I'd privately decided to pass the team principal position down to Martin at the end of that year,” Dennis told the official F1 website, “but, because of some of the off-track difficulties we experienced that year, I changed my mind. I changed my mind for the simple reason that the situation had changed and it wouldn't therefore have been the right time to do it.
“After the triumphs of our 2008 season – which saw not only Lewis Hamilton being crowned world champion but also the inauguration of FOTA (the Formula One Teams' Association), in which organisation McLaren and Ferrari have been working extremely closely together – I felt that the time was right.
“I'm a shareholder in the McLaren Group and I enjoy the full support of every other McLaren Group shareholder – which is to say, Daimler, the Bahraini Mumtalakat Holding Company and my business partner and friend of many years, Mansour Ojjeh. I forewarned those shareholders of my intention to pass the team principal position down to Martin in advance of making it public.
“Martin and I will continue to work closely together, in co-operation with Mercedes-Benz and the McLaren Group's other shareholders. As such, little will change in terms of Mercedes-Benz's involvement. Mercedes-Benz is a fantastic shareholder and partner of McLaren, and has been for many years.
“We've achieved a huge amount together – three drivers' world championships and one constructors' world championship, as well as the collaboration on the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and its derivatives – and we intend to build on that tally in years to come.
“Moreover, the work done by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines last season, and over the winter in preparation for this season, has been truly phenomenal, and it's clear that every constituent department that comes together to make McLaren-Mercedes is working exceptionally well together at the moment and will continue to do so in the future.