The Stepneygate saga refuses to go away and recently members of the McLaren team have been speaking to officials and authorities. They have given their version of events as Italian prosecutors proceed with legal action towards the team that accepted confidential data from then-Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney. The issues were originally thought to be isolated but following an investigation by the FIA last year, were found to be more serious and much more widespread throughout the McLaren organisation. And now, following raids on McLaren employee homes by Italian investigators, including that of Ron Dennis, rumours have been spreading around the media that Dennis has been fired. A rumour that is ridiculous to even suggest given the complexity of his involvement with the TAG McLaren Group.
Had Dennis been just an employee of McLaren, he probably would have been fired a fair few months ago. But Dennis isn’t an employee. He is a major shareholder in the group and currently Chairman & CEO. It has been suggested in the last couple of years that current CEO of the Formula One team, Martin Whitmarsh, is being groomed as Dennis’s replacement, Dennis being 62 this coming June. But today the Internet is posting stories of Ron’s demise from the head of McLaren, citing Spanish sports newspaper Marca as the original source.
According to Marca Ron was forced out of his position by Mercedes, who will also apparently take an even greater share in the squad at some point in the near future, and Dennis will be be employed in a more non-critical role. Which, to be honest, really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. To extract Dennis from his role is going to be complex. He owns 15% of the team and is also key to the success of the squad. Whilst 2007 was perhaps one of the team’s worst in their history, the car was fast, the drivers were fast and from a purely racing perspective, everything looked great.
McLaren and Mercedes have denied the rumour with an almost equally echoed statement.
The reports are pure speculation. The fact is, the well-known status-quo remains, and this means an unchanged management team. Mercedes Spokesperson.
Bernie Ecclestone also felt he needed to get involved as well, speaking to the British daily newspaper The Mirror.
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He’s not an employee. He’s a shareholder and he had internal support from other shareholders. Bernie Ecclestone.