Rumors of Mercedes' interest in buying out McLaren's share of the joint-operated Formula One team have persisted for nearly as long as the two companies have been associated. Every few months, more reports of the impending takeover sprout up. But Ron Dennis has ruled out any such possibility.

While being interviewed on the matter by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Dennis said, "No, I don't see the point; things are fine as they are. Every year, together, we discuss our plans, and we find agreement on everything."

When questioned directly on the same issue, Mercedes-McLaren F1 team CEO Martin Whitmarsh had an enlightening view of the matter, framing the back-and-forth on acquisition in the press as the reflection of a healthy dynamic between the two companies.

“It’s an interesting issue and a dilemma that faces the shareholders of this business - and to some extent the management,” Whitmarsh told the International Herald Tribune newspaper. “But I would be deeply disturbed if Mercedes had no real interest in acquiring us. I think it’s a tangible demonstration of their commitment to this.

“They have a lot of investments already sunk in their formula one endeavors, and the fact that they would like to acquire control is a healthy ambition,” he added.

Norbert Haug, however - in charge of Mercedes’ motor racing activities - tempered the situation by pointing out that equity is not everything. “The question is how successful you are,” said the German, who was also on the pitwall when McLaren-Mercedes won its last titles in 1998 and 1999.

Haug added, “It’s not a question of what percentage you own. It’s a question of how many points you have on your account at the end of the year. And so far we have more points for less money — for a car manufacturer.”

Taken together, the statements of all three men point toward a sort of dynamic stasis, where each side is content with the status quo, but also so motivated to achieve further success that every possible avenue of improvement is considered periodically.

Dennis also spoke on his own involvement with the team, which many have speculated could come to an end in the near future. He even admitted that he was considering stepping back from the day-to-day side of the F1 team in early 2007 when the Ferrari-McLaren spy scandal broke, reports Autosport. He didn't want to leave on those terms, so he has stuck it out through a personally difficult year. He does look forward to some new work within McLaren, he says, "but I'll never give up on the team altogether; I'll just change the role I play. McLaren is in my blood and I'm not an employee, so no-one can sack me."

F1 team CEO Whitmarsh is the man being groomed for his replacement, he says.

"He's taking on more and more responsibility, and one day he'll be the head of the whole McLaren group."