Ron Dennis formally leaves McLaren

Ron Dennis, the former McLaren Formula 1 Team Principal and shareholder, has formally sold his shares in the team, meaning his 37 year asscioation has come to an end.

Dennis, 70, had been on gardening leave since January after fellow shareholders Mansour Ojjeh and Mumtalakat - the Bahrain Sovereigh wealth fund, decided to not renew his contract after a bloody fight for control for overall control of McLaren.

According to Sky News, Dennis has sold his shares for £275 million, which values McLaren overall at £2 billion.

In a statement, McLaren said: "McLaren Group has secured finance in order to acquire Ron Dennis's shareholdings, stimulate growth in its wider businesses and consolidate its finnancial arrangements."

Dennis himself said: "I am very pleased to have reached agreement with my fellow McLaren shareholders. It represents a fitting end to my time at McLaren, and will enable me to focus on my other interests.

"Now that my time at McLaren has come to an end, I will be able to involve myself in a series of other programmes and activities, espicially those focused on public services.

He also lauded the team's magnificent safety record over the years, and concluded by saying "I wish McLaren well, and I send my greatest thanks and best wishes to my colleagues in all corners of the business and at every level of seniority. Truly, they are the best of the best."

With Dennis gone, a new company, McLaren Group will be formed, incorporating the Automotive and Technology Group branches of the company - both of which Dennis was a director.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa of Bahrain will take up the position of executive chairman of the new McLaren Group.

Dennis's legacy

It is fair to say that Ron Dennis can count himself, certainly in the top 10, possibly top five of figures to have shaped F1 to be the way it is today.

Taking control of McLaren in 1980, he built the team into a powerhouse that conquered all before, including winning 15 out of 16 races in 1988, and also leading 1,003 of 1,031 laps that season.

Of course, for many, Dennis's time at McLaren will forever be remembered for the bitter rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, while they were team-mates in 1988 and 1989 and even in 1990 when Senna used his car as a battering ram in Suzuka.

With him at the helm, McLaren won driver titles in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2008. It also won the constructors' in '84, '85. '88, '89 '90, '91, and '98.

Drivers to have raced for him include: Niki Lauda, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and for two races in 1995, Nigel Mansell. Unsurprisingly, the deal with Mansell didn't work out.

In 1980, McLaren had one of its worst seasons, before Dennis put in action a plan to acquire the best. In just four years, McLaren were on top of the world - and he did that twice.

After Honda pulled out in 1992 and Senna left for Williams for 1994, he once again built McLaren into a powerhouse, that would take Hakkinen to his two titles before the turn of the century.

F1 will be a poorer place without Dennis. He will be missed.