Ron Dennis, Arthur and the two-fingered salute


Down The Marlborough, Arthur (right) has made it quite clear - repeatedly - how he feels about this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix and, indeed, the 2008 Formula One World Championship.

"I want McLaren to win both titles, I want them to win so Ron Dennis can stick two fingers up at Max Mosley and Ferrari and say 'f*** you'.

"They've done everything they could," he continues, taking a large sip from his pint of John Smiths, "used every trick in the book to bring him down, that's why I want him to win."

The race will be shown down The Marlborough on Sunday afternoon, pushed to the back-room so the regulars can watch the football, but Arthur will be there with Tony, Paul Cliff, Kerry and whoever else is interested, to cheer on the Stevenage Rocket and his Woking team.

Though, certainly in public, Ron Dennis would never pass comment on an opinion such as Arthur's, few have any doubt that in private, should his driver take the title on Sunday, far less the Constructors' Championship, his will be the biggest grin in the paddock, and somewhere, well out of sight he might just raise two fingers also.

In 2007 his team was at the centre of the infamous spy saga, a story which dominated much of the season and was to cost the team $100m in cash but far, far more in terms of its reputation, its integrity. In addition to issues in his private life, Dennis has seen his team in the spotlight again in 2008, with claims that the powers-that-be are doing all they can to derail his team's title bid(s).

It's rare for Dennis - man of a million words, inventor of 'Ronspeak' - to open up, yet, ahead of this weekend's all important season finale in Brazil, that is precisely what he has done.

"Last year was a life-changing experience," he tells the Daily Mail's Jonathon McEvoy, admitting: "The troubles in my personal life were far more of a challenge.

"I am reading a book at the moment," he continues, "Discover Your Destiny, that highlights the theme that all change, positive or negative, is an opportunity. That's what I have seized."

Earlier this year there was speculation that Dennis was considering stepping down at McLaren, playing more of a back-seat role.

"There were rumours that some people felt I should step down as team principal,' he admits. "And, yes, the fact is that I did agonise over whether that would have been the correct thing to do. But there comes a time when you have to be true to your values and your beliefs.

"There was nobody in the organisation telling me to do anything other than stay on. In the end, I did decide to stay. And out of that decision came renewed motivation, shared by all my colleagues, to try our damnedest to make this season the very best of seasons in McLaren's history. To turn a negative into a positive, in other words."

Hamilton heads to Brazil with a seven point lead, just as he did in 2007. Dennis admits, that it is almost unthinkable that should history repeat itself,

I will not give myself the luxury of thinking how I'll feel because the problem will be coming to terms with how I feel if he isn't successful. I have to be calm, disciplined and lead by example.

"I was a little surprised that some of the media have almost been saying: 'Let's watch them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory'," he admits. "Well, boy oh boy, if you think that presses a nerve ending now, wait until after Brazil if it unfolds that way. Everyone will dump on us big time. They won't look at any other set of circumstances that happened this year and just say that McLaren screwed up - again.

"I know it's not done yet. But believe me, winning in adversity would really have a high level of satisfaction."

If he's successful on Sunday, Dennis will have the satisfaction of knowing that down The Marlborough, Arthur will give the two-fingered salute on his behalf.

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Published: 28/10/2008
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