McLaren's Ron Dennis admits he fell out with TAG Heuer chief

Ron Dennis has conceded to a falling out with TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver that resulted in the company jumping ship from McLaren to Red Bull

McLaren's Ron Dennis admits he fell out with TAG Heuer chief

A 30-year partnership between McLaren and the luxury watchmaker recently came to an end, adding to the losses of title sponsor Vodafone at the end of 2013, and Hugo Boss.

TAG Heuer has now teamed up with Red Bull, not only as a sponsor, but also in lending its name as an engine badge in 2016, with Biver describing the team as "young, dynamic and driven".

Speaking before the Red Bull engine deal was announced Dennis said: "With regard to TAG Heuer, it was a brand we were associated with for a very long time, and we had equity involvement.

"I controlled the sales and marketing of that company in the early periods, I was a shareholder, it went through a variety of iterations, changes of ownership.

"Let's say the thread of history got pulled tighter and tighter, and the current chief executive and I fundamentally disagreed about some things.

"I didn't share his view on a radical approach to sponsorship that I felt was inappropriate for our brand.

"There was a particular moment in Monte Carlo I didn't feel was positive, so that thread was caught."

McLaren has since acquired another brand of the prestigious LVMH group in Chandon, with Dennis claiming the association to be "multiples more valuable than TAG Heuer".

Despite the loss of so many key names, though, in recent times, Dennis is adamant the McLaren Technology Group is in rude health when it comes to its sponsorship and financial position.

"As chief executive I have the overview as to where the revenue streams are, and I have to predict where we are going to go," he added.

"You don't have to be Einstein to know the environment for Formula 1, and sports sponsorship overall, is challenging.

"The worst thing you can do is get into a situation where you drop your A-card and then things spiral out of control.

"I'm quite optimistic about the discussions we're having, but better to wait and see how we start next season.

"Do I lose sleep over it though? No I don't. We're very strong financially.

"The equity value of our organisation is now well over £1billion.

"All of our businesses are profitable, and we will be profitable.

"We're a strong organisation, and you use that strength to make sure you take good decisions overall."

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Ian Parkes
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