Dennis fails to convince


Speaking about the imminent departure of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes, Ron Dennis appeared to be putting on a very brave face.

The man who has nurtured the Stevenage Rocket since he was first approached by him (aged ten) at an awards ceremony in London, Lewis famously telling the McLaren boss "I want to race for you one day", there has been a special bond.

Having helped him through the ranks, winning every championship along the way, Dennis and his team finally brought Hamilton into Formula One in 2007, the youngster going on to win the title just one year later.

Along the way there have been 21 wins, 25 poles, 11 fastest laps and 913 points.

In one week's time that relationship comes to an end, Hamilton leaving Woking for Brackley in a deal many believe is more about what the Englishman can achieve outside the car than in it.

Speaking in the wake of one of Hamilton's finest performances, Dennis allowed himself a sly dig that many believed engineered the driver's decision to leave Woking, Simon Fuller, head of XIX Management.

When it was noted that Fuller had been seen in the McLaren motorhome (sorry, Brand Centre), Dennis sneered: "Simon (Fuller) only pops up when we win."

Asked about Hamilton's decision to leave the McLaren family, Dennis put on a brave face.

"Everybody, the media, thinks there's some issue, between Lewis and I," he told Sky Sports F1. "There's no issue between us. Sometimes, circumstances in a relationship don't balance, don't match. We're a team that requires a lot out of a driver and if some other team is able to make a more attractive proposition, in any shape or form, then it's understandable that you're driver is going to move.

"If you look back on our history, our team, without being too pretentious, our team is bigger than any driver. We've had Ayrton, of course, and Prost, Niki, Mika, Keke… we've had a heck of a lot of world champions over the years and we're going to have world champions in the future.

"It's important that everybody in the team is there for the right reasons," he continued. "Is focussed, is determined to win, and willing to make all the sacrifices that are necessary to win. And in our team that doesn't just extend to physical condition, mental condition, it also relates to how much work we have to do in and out of the car and not everybody has those sorts of issues.

"I wish Lewis really, really well. He's been nurtured well though his career, and I feel none of the emotions that are attributed to me. I am completely relaxed, I am not upset. You think of the good times shared but we are a racing team that exits to win and that requires a whole range of sacrifices and some other teams don't have that requirement. In the end, we'll win races next year and in the future and, I hope, world championships.

Admitting that Hamilton had given a virtuoso performance that afternoon, Dennis looked ahead to the Englishman's final race with his team, a race in which McLaren could yet pip Ferrari to runner-up spot in the Constructors' Championship, the championship that decides the prize money.

"If someone says to us you can come second in the (constructors') championship or win the Brazilian Grand Prix, we'll take the win… winning is everything at McLaren," he said.

Asked about Dennis' comments, Sky Sport F1's Martin Brundle, said: "I know Ron very well, he's a friend of mine. He's a great human being, his creativity, his vision is just extraordinary. But he's also one of, no the most complicated man I have ever met in my life, he's emotionally driven, and I think it will be ripping him to shreds that Lewis has chosen to leave the team."

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Published: 20/11/2012
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