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Ron Dennis to step down?

NEWS STORY
02/03/2008

Writing in the Sunday Times, Richard Rae suggests that McLaren boss Ron Dennis could step down this week, opting to step out of the public glare of Formula One to spend more time with his children.

Last week, an article in a Spanish newspaper (clearly no axe to grind there then) claimed that Dennis was to be sacked by Mercedes-Benz, leading to numerous copycat stories all claiming that the 61-year-old was to be given the boot as the fallout over McLaren's (ultimately) disastrous 2007 campaign continues.

While, Dennis cannot be fired, the idea of him standing down makes far more sense. Rae writes: "Sources close to Dennis made it clear that the man who has built McLaren into one of the most powerful teams in the history of the sport is determined to achieve a better balance between his family life, other McLaren businesses and the Grand Prix team. Dennis, who recently announced that he had split with his wife of 22 years, Lisa, is understood to feel that the time demands of heading up the F1 team have become disproportionate and, contrary to reports last week, is increasingly inclined towards a change of priorities."

It is claimed that originally, Dennis had intended standing down at the end of 2007, however, this was before the spy saga, the public fallout with Fernando Alonso and the loss of the championship titles. Standing down after all that would have sent out the wrong signal, something which the Englishman, understandably, is loath to do.

As the legal investigation into the spy saga continues, with investigators making a number of well rehearsed and perfectly publicised raids only this week, the Woking team remains the centre of media attention at a time when it should be focussing on its efforts to win the 2008 titles.

While many within the organization admit to wanting Dennis to remain in position, hoping that the Englishman might stay on long enough to see his team take the 2008 titles, there are fears that should he delay and step aside at the 'wrong' time his reasons for such a move could be - indeed, would be in some circles - misconstrued.

What is interesting, is that in the numerous reports in the mainstream British media this week, which has included headlines such as "My McLaren role isn't under threat" and 'Ron Dennis defiant over Spygate', there have been no direct quotes from the man himself. One gets the feeling that when Dennis does finally speak out his will be the final word.

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