Ron Dennis remains positive

Ron Dennis is still optimistic

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has refused to be downbeat about Lewis Hamilton's chances of sealing world title success after a nightmare race in Canada. Hamilton lost his drivers' championship lead to Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber on Sunday in Montreal after he failed to see a pit line red light and crashed into the back of title rival Kimi Raikkonen, knocking them both out of the race.

Hamilton had been in peak form all weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, taking pole position and leading the race comfortably before a safety car was deployed and all the main contenders decided to refuel at the first opportunity at the end of the 18th lap. That led to the Hamilton error which cost him not only the race but also a 10-place drop down the grid for the next race, the French Grand Prix on June 22, as punishment from the FIA race stewards.

The BMW Sauber one-two for Kubica and Nick Heidfeld also saw McLaren drop from second to third in the constructors' championship but Dennis took comfort from the pace Hamilton had got out of the MP4-23 car ahead of his demise.

"Obviously, for a team that exists to win, today was a very disappointing day," Dennis said. "The collision that eliminated Lewis was just one of those things. The plain fact is that Lewis didn't realise that the cars in front of him were coming to a halt until too late. It's difficult for a driver to decide whether to focus on the lights or on the cars ahead in situations like that.

"At the end of the day, no-one wants to put themselves out of a grand prix, simple as that, and not one that he was comfortably leading. But that's motor racing, we've go to take the positives, we were very quick all weekend and hopefully we'll continue that pace through the rest of the season. It's still early days and we have the pace to win, we've just got to avoid stuff like this."

Dennis said the team had accepted the stewards' punishment as did an equally forward-looking Hamilton. "It's just unfortunate when stuff like this happens, but I have no argument with the stewards. We'd looked so strong for the whole weekend though, so at least we can leave Montreal confident that we have a package that will enable us to fight for the world championship from here on in."

Before the race, Dennis and his fellow team principals had met with Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder, to discuss a new Concorde Agreement, the contract between the teams, Ecclestone's Formula One Management and the governing body FIA which sets out the guidelines under which the sport is run.

Ecclestone claimed on Saturday that no agreement was yet in place due to the teams' failure to find common ground but Dennis denied this was the case.

"We've hardly started to discuss the Concorde agreement because we've been concentrating on the commercial agreement which forms part of the Concorde agreement," Dennis said. "Formula One teams are intensely competitive but I don't think there's much disharmony in their views as regards what should be contained in a Concorde agreement. I don't think the teams are the blockage in any shape or form to getting this done, very much the opposite."

The McLaren boss also denied reports that a breakaway series had been discussed in response to the continuing presence of Max Mosley as president of the FIA despite his being caught up in a sex scandal.

"There was a team prinicpals' meeting called by Bernie and I'm still, after many, many years in Formula One, amazed that people can come out of those meetings and discuss its' content because there were all sorts of things discussed in it. I'm not going to make any reference to anything, confirm, deny or anything. These meetings are designed to focus on the future and try and solve problems that exist, in any business, and that is what we are trying to do. I won't confirm or deny anything."

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