Ron Dennis: We want a bigger and better F1


Following last week's FOTA press conference in Geneva, Italian website caught up with Ron Dennis, who talked about his vision for the future of the sport and his new role in the McLaren team.

"I think we've clearly stated we see this very difficult economic situation as an opportunity to make the efficiency of Formula One better, but at the same time to use this momentum of change to increase the spectacle of Formula One. We want a bigger and better Formula One."

On FOTA proposals, he said: "Looking at the time flow chart, we started our processes in July. Before that, I had discussions with Luca (di Montezemolo) as to how our reasonably influential teams could combine their efforts to make Formula One better.

"Then, of course, as the world unfolded in a worse commercial situation, our focus had to be on the short term, on cost reduction. The way we intended that was to address all the issues, including how to increase the audience, without affecting the DNA of Formula One.

"Having standard cars and components would definitely, dramatically reduce the costs," he continued. "But it would also dramatically impact on the DNA. Well over one hundred people, with different levels of expertise in those areas, worked together with a huge amount of effort spanning several months to produce the results we saw today. Every step of the way there was a check and a support of all the teams. That required very often a radical compromise."

Asked about reducing costs, the Englishman said: "We demonstrated that for the smaller teams the most expensive budget is the engine and gearbox one, which can now be 5% of manufacturing teams, having the same engine and gearbox. That is pretty amazing. If you just take that element alone and put into someone's budget straightaway, in round figures, it would produce well over one hundred million euros less in costs comparing to a manufacturing team, having the same engine and gearbox performance. This is the most radical example. But there are many, many others, where we addressed the other issues of Formula One and reduced costs, sometimes to the benefit of the manufacturers and sometimes of the independent teams."

Finally, Ron talked about his new rule, having stepped down as the Woking team's Team Principal: "Well, it takes time to get used to it," he admitted. But I will be going to the Grands Prix. I have no real plan, I don't have to go, but I anticipate being at, if not all, certainly most."

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Published: 09/03/2009
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