Eddie Jordan: ‘I bet McLaren wish they had Ron Dennis back’

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis. McLaren 2007

Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis walk through a paddock during the 2007 season.

Eddie Jordan believes the current McLaren outfit wishes their long-time former owner Ron Dennis was still working at the team.

In the 60-year history of the McLaren team, it is perhaps only Bruce McLaren himself who can claim to have had a bigger impact than Dennis.

Dennis joined in 1980 after a particularly successful stint for the team and under his leadership, McLaren would win seven Constructors’ Championships and 10 Drivers’ titles, the last coming in 2008 with Lewis Hamilton.

Dennis departed the MTC in 2017 after being suspended from his position as chairman a year prior and since then the team has failed to recapture the same kind of success.

2023 looks to be one of their worst years since Dennis’ departure with the MCL60 lacking the kind of performance to achieve their target of P4 in the Constructors’.

While Dennis’ approach has sometimes been mocked or criticised, one of his former drivers David Coulthard said he believes the outside world “misunderstood” his former boss.

“Ron Dennis was, I think, misunderstood to the outside world,” Coulthard said on his podcast Formula For Success alongside Jordan. “Because he was an incredibly caring individual to the team and took care of his team personnel if they had medical issues or their family had issues.

“He took care of them quietly, but in a great way because he understood the importance of the team.”

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Jordan, a team owner himself in the 1990s and early 2000s also praised Dennis and described him as the “unsung hero” to staff members and commented that McLaren would love to have him back nowadays.

“Ron was a perfectionist wasn’t he? He just had everything planned. He wanted the [Ayrton] Sennas, he wanted the [Alain] Prosts.

“To be fair, we all laughed and joked, we took the mickey out of Ron a little bit because of how clinical he is, both in cleanliness and the way he prepares the car and the people, but I bet they wish they had him back.

“Because McLaren now are nowhere near where they were. You can say what you like, Ron Dennis was just fantastically dedicated and committed to his team and [he was] the unsung hero to the staff members and people [who worked there.]”

Mumtalakat Holding Company, the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain, currently owns the majority of McLaren shares at 56.4%. TAG Group Limited, Nidala (BVI) Limited, Favorita Limited, Perlman Investments Limited, McKal Holdings Ltd and Acanitt Limited own the remaining shares.