Ron Dennis opens up on ‘significant disagreements’ as shock McLaren exit explained

Sam Cooper
Ron Dennis and the McLaren logo

Ron Dennis first joined McLaren in 1980 before leaving in 2017.

Ron Dennis admitted there were “significant disagreements” but has denied he was forced out of McLaren in 2017.

The newly knighted Dennis joined McLaren in 1980 and helped usher in their most successful period of all-time but was eventually moved on in 2017 with some claiming he was forced out of the door.

Ron Dennis denies McLaren ousting but admits to ‘significant disagreements’

By the time the 2010s arrived, Dennis’ influence in the team was on the wane with Martin Whitmarsh taking over as CEO in 2009 while ownership of the company was primarily in the hands of the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.

There was also Mansour Ojjeh who first became involved in 1983 when he took on 50% of the ownership alongside Dennis and the latter admitted there were “significant disagreements” with his long-time ally towards the end of his time there.

“I wasn’t [forced out]. I was 70 years old,” he told the BBC. “My contract with the company finished in January 2017.

“We did have significant disagreements over the fact that I had built a technology company and I wanted to push forward as a technology company.

“He [Ojjeh], other members of the board were focused on Formula 1, when we had proven so effectively, we could build a great car company, we had a great technology division.

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“But the direction of travel of the company, I go back to the true heading, true north was always me and when I saw that wasn’t going to exist when I left, I wanted the right price for my shares. And the fight was about the value of the shares, not about anything else.”

Dennis did admit that things had got “a little scrappy at the end” but reiterated that his 70th birthday was a big reason for his decision to move away.

“I still enjoy watching a grand prix, but save for that, it’s really a thing of the past for me,” the 76-year-old said.

“That main reason for me changing direction was really the looming of my 70th birthday and it got a little scrappy at the end, I have to say, primarily driven by a disagreement over the value of my shares.”

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