Ron Dennis to step down as McLaren Group chairman

After taking the reins in 1981, Ron Dennis is to leave the McLaren Group at the end of the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Ron Dennis to step down as McLaren Group chairman
A bitter end. | Photo: Getty Images/Dan Istiente

After 35 years at the helm, Ron Dennis and McLaren are parting ways.

In news that broke earlier this week, Dennis was reportedly forced by fellow McLaren Group shareholders to stand down from his position as Chairman and CEO of the group he founded in 1981.

A "spurious" action

In a tumultuous break-up, Dennis refused to step down and failed in his attempt to return from forced "gardening leave", after losing a High Court battle. Speaking to press after the result broke, Dennis said he was "disappointed", citing his removal as "spurious".

Owning 25% of the McLaren Group, alongside Bahraini investment group Mumtalakat and Dennis' long-term colleague, Mansour Ojjeh, the 69-year old will still remain on the boards of both the McLaren Technology Group and the McLaren Automotive company, in which he holds a significant amount of the share hold.

It was understood that Dennis and CEO of the TAG group Ojjeh, who entered into Formula 1 with Williams in 1980, came to blows several years ago and the Saudi-born Frenchman is firmly on the side of Mumtalakat in trying to siphon Dennis out.

With his autocratic - now seemingly ill-fitting -style coming under severe pressure from his adversaries, Dennis fumed about the affair.

"My management style is the same as it has always been, and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula 1 World Championships and grown into an £850 million-a-year business." before adding, "Ultimately it has become clear to me through this process that neither TAG nor Mumtalakat share my vision for McLaren and its true growth potential".

Dennis plans for the future

Although angry, Dennis remains undeterred with his plans for the future, talking with conviction about launching a new "technology investment fund" once his contract with the Woking outfit ends come the fall of the chequered flag in ten days time at the Yas Marina circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The end of an era

Under Dennis' tenure, McLaren were led into their golden days in late 1980's and 1990's; winning seven World Constructors' Championships and 10 World Drivers' Championships - overhauling the almighty Ferrari in the process.

Without Dennis, there would've been no Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen or Lewis Hamilton in one of the usually blisteringly quick 'MP4' models, designed by the likes of John Barnard and further along the line, Adrian Newey.

It is an ignominious end to a glistening, if not fading reign.