Ron Dennis to be in Melbourne

(GMM) Ron Dennis on Thursday said he will attend the season opening Australian grand prix.

The 61-year-old Briton, who since the beginning of the 80s has been McLaren team principal, will hand over the top role to his deputy Martin Whitmarsh on March 1.

Dennis will be on hand to see McLaren start defense of its driver title

Dennis, however, remains chief executive and chairman of the entire Woking based McLaren Group, and always intended to attend some races in 2009.

He told F1's official website on Thursday that he will actually attend "most if not all" of the 17 grands prix around Europe and the world this year.

"The first reason is that I'll have work to do at grands prix as an influential member and proponent of FOTA, and as chairman and chief executive officer of the McLaren Group," Dennis said.

He has said his new role will be to grow the McLaren brand in its other areas, including a new production car program.

But his decision to continue to travel to most grand prix venues, including Melbourne on March 29, is not purely about business.

"I continue to love the sport of formula one with every fiber of my being," said Dennis. "That'll never change. So, yes, I'll be in Melbourne for the 2009 Australian grand prix."

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