Ron Dennis dismayed by F1 politics
Following a career which saw him involved in Formula 1 for over three decades, Ron Dennis quietly departed early last season following the controversial 'Liegate' scandal involving the McLaren team. Now head of the company's road car division, McLaren Automotive, the Englishman has criticized the numerous negative judgments made during his time in the sport.
Having lead McLaren to various Constructors' titles plus Drivers' trophies for Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen and Lewis Hamilton, Dennis is undoubtedly one of the most successful team leaders ever to grace Formula 1; it is with this knowledge in mind that the man himself is disappointed at various off-track controversies.
"It was a minor indiscretion by junior members of the organization that got amplified into a bigger issue," Dennis described 'Spygate' during an interview with Esquire magazine. "It wasn't the way it was portrayed. As always, with the passing of time, the truth will come out.
"The bit I don't like is when people damage the reputation of this company for reasons that have their roots in issues that relate to how fiercely I've fought for what I believe to be right for Formula 1 and McLaren. Sometimes it's a price you wish you didn't have to pay."
With the former Team Principal and CEO of the Woking team having gained a general reputation as being aloof and far-flung, Dennis insists that a line must be drawn between professional and personal lives. "I can sit on the pit wall and be serious, focused and a commentator in another country says, 'Oh, look at him, isn't he miserable'," Ron continued, "and that idea catches on - I have an amusing side to my personality but when you're working, you're working.
"I'm responsible for two lives out there and the performance of the company. When I see my opposite numbers in other teams and how ridiculously colorful and playing to the audience they are, I can't help thinking, 'How on earth do you ever think you're going to win a Grand Prix?'
"You write down the names of all the Team Principals from the past ten years and how many have won more than five races - it's a short list. Throw some other queries at that and you'll realize performance requires total dedication. You pay for that dedication because people misunderstand your personality and motives. That's the price you pay, but I sleep easy; I get a mental pain from looking at things which have not been properly executed - attention to detail is fundamental to how this company has grown.
"I'm perceived by outsiders as being in some ivory tower - I'm not, I know exactly what is going on. There are people in this organization, and I don't say this with any pride, who are frightened of me. That's because they don't understand me."