Ron Dennis with the McLaren MP4-12CEnlarge Photo
Ron Dennis is also a significant shareholder of the McLaren Group and was the architect of its modern era. In addition to leading the group as CEO during the past three decades, he also served as team principal of the F1 team from 1982 to 2009. He became chairman only last year.
“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,” Dennis said in a statement. “Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimizing every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.”
Whitmarsh remains team principal but a replacement is expected to be named by Dennis within the next month. Dennis is not expected to reprise his former role at the team, with rumors suggesting Ross Brawn, who recently resigned from the team principal role at Mercedes AMG, may be picked.
The team in 2013 came fifth in F1’s Constructors’ Championship, having accumulated just 122 points, just one third of the points earned by cash-strapped Lotus, which came fourth. McLaren’s drivers fared even worse, with Jenson Button managing ninth overall in the Drivers’ Championship with 73 points and Sergio Perez finishing 11th overall with just 49 points. Perez was with the team for just one season and has since been replaced by Kevin Magnussen.
McLaren will launch its 2014 F1 car, the MP4-29, on January 24. It will be the last McLaren to use a Mercedes engine as Honda will be supplying the team with engines from the 2015 season.