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Dennis to quit F1 over 'lie-gate' affairUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ron Dennis has stepped down as the CEO of the McLaren F1 team - see this Hot News item.
04/15/09 (GMM) Ron Dennis is expected to announce his complete withdrawal from the world of formula one on Thursday.
Ron Dennis out of F1 for good? Do you think Michael Andretti, Max Mosley, and Fernando Alonso might be snickering just a little bit?
According to widespread speculation and reports, the former McLaren team boss will remain chairman of the Woking based company but leave the running of the racing operations entirely to Martin Whitmarsh and his deputies.
It is believed the announcement, to be made at the McLaren headquarters in Britain, is in reaction to the 'lie-gate' scandal, with some newspapers likening it to Dennis "falling on his sword" so that central figures like Whitmarsh and Lewis Hamilton can sidestep the blame.
The Daily Mail said the press announcement will follow an address to his staff, when Dennis is to "tell them that his involvement in grand prix racing is over after more than 40 years".
It is also rumored that Dennis' announcement, to involve the 61-year-old explaining that he will focus entirely on McLaren's new production road car division, may be part of a deal with the FIA ahead of the World Motor Sport Council hearing later this month.
Dennis' long relationship with FIA president Max Mosley has been an acrimonious one, so his departure may appease the Paris body as it considers sanctions against McLaren for lying to stewards in Australia and Malaysia.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Dennis may have made the decision, including not flying to China this weekend, "due to pressure" from Hamilton's father and manager Anthony, who is said to be furious about his son's implication in the lying scandal.
It is said that Dennis, whose relationship with Anthony has been strained for some time, may no longer attend any races.
It is also reported that Hamilton, 24, will not be available for normal media interviews or appearances in the Shanghai paddock on Thursday or Friday.
The Daily Mail suggested the move could put the reigning world champion "in breach of the regulations".
04/15/09 Ron Dennis will make an announcement regarding his future from McLaren’s Woking headquarters on Thursday, but there are suggestions that he may not have flown to China for Sunday’s grand prix due to pressure from Lewis Hamilton’s father-manager Anthony, who is said to be furious over events in Australia and Malaysia where his son was allegedly asked to lie to race stewards by McLaren’s former sporting director, Dave Ryan.
While Dennis’s no-show will be attributed to the fact that he has chosen to take a back seat in race affairs since handing over the reins to new team principal Martin Whitmarsh, he had maintained links with the F1 team – and had a notable presence in the garage during the fateful Australian GP.
It also emerged that Hamilton is to be shielded from the press. Contrary to normal practice, the world champion will not be put up for interview today or tomorrow as the team batten down the hatches ahead of their meeting with the FIA World Motor Sport Council on April 29. Telegraph
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