F1 »

Dennis: We initiated Mercedes split

Ron Dennis has confirmed that the decision to sever ties with Mercedes was a response to continued 'takeover' requests.
Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has revealed that it was the Woking concern's decision to sever its closest ties with engine supplier Mercedes, but insisted that the 'amicable' ending of the relationship had upside for both parties.

Speaking to Arabian Business magazine following the launch of McLaren's bespoke road-going MP4-12C sportscar, Dennis admitted that Mercedes' increasing desire to take over the team lay behind the decision, which ultimately contributed to Mercedes buying into the championship-winning Brawn operation and setting up its own 'factory' F1 effort. Prior to the split, Mercedes held a 40 per cent stake in McLaren, but that has already been reduced by nearly two-thirds.

"We initiated it, we wanted to be independent," Dennis insisted, "They continuously, over the years, wanted to have control of McLaren, and we continuously told them we did not want them to have control of McLaren. The more they wanted it, the less we wanted to give it to them.

"The influence [the engine manufacturers] control is not always productive. I have got 30-odd years of my life in this company, huge quantities of friends and people who have been through and thick and thin with me, and I made it very clear to Mercedes Benz, as did the other shareholders, that we are not for sale."

Dennis, who stepped away from the F1 team after last season's Australian GP to focus on other areas of the wider McLaren operation, insisted that the split would not harm the grand prix arm - as many speculated it would.

"Not at all, because it was completely and utterly amicable," he claimed, "This wasn't something which we weren't party to - I mean, the engine supply to Brawn in 2008 required our consent. At the end of the day, we were a fully integrated partner of Mercedes Benz, and we still are. We are fiercely competitive on circuit but, off circuit, we are still firm friends.

"I wouldn't call it a sweetheart deal, but it was a win-win situation. They got exactly what they wanted - a grand prix team they had complete control over - and we had continuous engine supply and the ability to promote our product and build the McLaren brand. It was just a win-win situation. In the end, obviously, when we all realised this was going to happen, it was all very logical."

Dennis also admitted that making the break from racing had been good for him personally.

"When you are in F1, boy is it competitive," he revealed, "Everything is coming at you - it is just like being in a constant hailstorm, from the media, from the sponsors. Everyone is coming at you and, even in success, you have a fair amount of aggravation. So you get scarred and you get a leathery skin, you become completely protective - protective of your personality - and therefore you become quite sad, because you are not you. You are constantly on your guard. You are constantly expecting to be door-stepped and to have a microphone shoved in your mouth. When you step away from that, you actually find you relax and chill a bit and you become a nicer person."

Tagged as: Mclaren , Mercedes , split , Brawn , Ron Dennis

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mercedes GP
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 27-29th, March, 2009
25.05.2017 - Mattia Binotto (ITA) Chief Technical Officer, Scuderia Ferrari and Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
24.05.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Mercedes garage
24.05.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32
24.05.2017 - Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32
24.05.2017 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
24.05.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
24.05.2017 - Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
24.05.2017 - Mercedes AMG F1 W08, detail
24.05.2017 - The motorbike of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
24.05.2017 - Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MCL32 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


April 17, 2010 7:04 AM
Last Edited 2595 days ago

It's believable since it has been reported for a while that Merc wanted to control McLaren and how car manufactures are total control freaks. It wouldn't be a surprise that the bad press McLaren has been getting the last couple of years made Merc get their own team sooner rather than later. But I say good for McLaren. I'm in the camp that believe F1 is better off with independent constructor teams like Mclaren, Williams, etc instead of manufactures who will fold out of F1 in tough times like Honda, Toyota, BMW etc. To me the ideal situation would be for manufactures to only be engine suppliers. Ferrari is the only manufacture that will never leave F1.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.