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Ron Dennis reveals career highlight – it might surprise...

Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has reflected on the best drivers he managed at the Woking-based outfit between 1981 and 2009 - as well as the highlight and low point of his F1 career. They may surprise...
Former McLaren team principal Ron Dennis has revealed who he rates as the finest drivers during his time at the Woking-based outfit – and reflected upon the highlight and lowest point of his three decades at the helm.

Dennis established himself as one of the most successful team managers in F1 history by guiding McLaren to no fewer than 17 world championship crowns – ten drivers' laurels and seven constructors' trophies – during his tenure in charge from 1981 to early 2009.

Over that period, the Englishman hired some of the most illustrious drivers the sport has ever seen, including the likes of Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Keke Rosberg, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton – world champions all. Asked to pick the cream of the crop, he narrows it down to three.

“Mika I choose for his honesty, Lewis for his uncompromising attitude and Ayrton because of his passion,” he mused, speaking to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

As to the zenith and nadir of his leadership, Dennis – who remains heavily involved with McLaren as executive chairman of McLaren Automotive and the McLaren Group, in addition to holding a significant stake in both companies – pinpointed his first title with Lauda in 1984 and Hakkinen's terrifying, near-fatal Australian Grand Prix practice accident eleven years later.

“The finest moment?” the 63-year-old pondered. “Of course I should say it was the last championship with Lewis, but for me it was the first one with Niki. The worst was when I had to go to a hospital in Adelaide after Mika's accident. There was a possibility that a driver had died in my car. Fortunately, that never happened.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ron Dennis & Mika Hakkinen.
Ron Dennis congratulates Mike Hakkinen
Niki Lauda (AUT), Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 21st-23rd, March 2008
Race celebration, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 race winner, Ron Dennis (GBR)
Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Nick Hamilton (GBR), Brazilian F1 Grand Prix, Interlagos, 30th October 2008-2nd, November, 2008
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal, British F1, Silverstone, 4-6th, July, 2008
Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal, Chinese F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai, 17th-19th October 2008
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren
McLaren confirms Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso
Michael Andretti drives the MP4/8 in the 1993 San Marino Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton crowned F1 world champion at FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Qatar [Pic credit: FIA / Jean Marie Hervio / DPPI]
Lewis Hamilton crowned F1 world champion at FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Qatar [Pic credit: FIA / Jean Marie Hervio / DPPI]
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
The McLaren MP4-29H of Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck.
26.11.2014.

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Alan D - Unregistered

January 07, 2011 2:37 PM

When you look back at Mikka's accident, it didn't seem that violent compared to some we've seen, the car didn't disintegrate, it didn't bounce over and over several times. We did see though that once the car rode up over the kerb, it lost downforce and became airborne. The more cars rely on downforce, the worse the accidents are. When you look at it from the cockpit view you realise how much difference today's shelf padding would have made to stop his had banging from side to side, and the Hans device they use today would probably have saved his head from being thrown forward so violently. I can't remember if the rear crash block came after this accident or not. There was hardly any run off area, no gravel, and just one row of tyres over a concrete wall. F1 is much safer these days.

Mark _

January 07, 2011 6:14 PM
Last Edited 1444 days ago

@Alan D - Usually it is the accidents that don't look that spectacular that are the most deadly. Even Senna's fatal crash did not look that bad. Dale Ernhardt's fatal crash was very mild looking too.



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