Dennis to announce future plans
|By Jonathan Noble and Simon Strang
||Wednesday, April 15th 2009, 15:06 GMT
McLaren Group chairman Ron Dennis is to make an announcement about his future plans within the company tomorrow, AUTOSPORT has learned, amid suggestions he could step back completely from his involvement with the Formula 1 team.
Dennis, who relinquished the team principal role to Martin Whitmarsh on March 1, is to hold a press conference at McLaren's Woking headquarters to reveal plans for the automotive section of his company.
And it is understood that Dennis could use the opportunity to announce that he is now to switch his focus entirely to making a success of McLaren's road car plans, which would mean him handing over total responsibility for the F1 operation to Whitmarsh.
Such an announcement comes with McLaren embroiled in the controversy about the team and Lewis Hamilton lying to race stewards at the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix.
Dennis announced at the launch of McLaren's 2009 challenger at Woking in January that he was to step down as team principal so he could focus on other aspects of the McLaren company.
However, he maintained links with the F1 team - and had a notable presence in the garage during the Australian Grand Prix.
Speaking about his decision to hand over responsibility to Whitmarsh, and McLaren's road car plans, at the January launch, Dennis said: "We have a very clear intention for our production car programme, which is really challenging. Any product we bring to the market will certainly fall, we hope, well the other side of this difficult financial period. We understand the challenge.
"I stress, and it is nothing to get too excited about, but it is absolutely time for Martin (Whitmarsh) to take over the job as team principal and, as of March 1, Martin will adopt that responsibility. I will still go to races, but not all of them, because I am passionate about Formula 1.
"I intend to work harder and will take on greater responsibility in certain key areas in the group. I will be full executive chairman. I still have many other responsibilities."