Ron Dennis has confirmed that he is speculating about withdrawing from the front line at McLaren-Mercedes, after admitting that the myriad 'difficulties' of last year had forced him to re-assess his future.

The Woking-based concern's long-standing team principal was rocked by a 2007 that took in Formula 1's now infamous espionage scandal, a distinctly turbulent relationship with double world champion Fernando Alonso and the breakdown of his marriage.

Though he vigorously rebuffed claims over the winter that his departure - whether by choice or by expedience - from McLaren's most powerful post was imminent in the wake of the highly damaging spy row, Dennis has now confessed that he is beginning to examine where he goes from here.

"I have still many ambitions," the 61-year-old told Spanish newspaper El Pais in Valencia, ahead of this weekend's European Grand Prix in the city. "All the difficulties of the past ten months made it difficult to make decisions about my future, but if you ask me whether I am considering taking a step back, the answer is yes."

Should Dennis indeed relinquish his role inside the multiple championship-winning outfit, he would likely be replaced by current CEO Martin Whitmarsh - but he moved to stress that he would not disappear altogether.

"I do not consider the word withdrawal as meaning goodbye," he explained, "but instead a step towards other functions."


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