Ron Dennis Q&A

After the Hungarian GP McLaren is back on top, leading both the drivers' and constructors' World Championships. For team boss Ron Dennis, the current situation comes as a huge relief after Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominated the first part of the season. But it's not over yet, and there's the small matter of keeping tabs on the Hakkinen/Coulthard rivalry

Ron Dennis Q&A



"It's not just leading the championships - it's the way we had to climb the mountain. It was a pretty steep mountain at some stages. But it's worked out alright. We work very hard on running the team well, and I think you can see from the way the races have gone in the last few Grands Prix that by and large we get it right. There's a long way to go. There'll be a little bit of short-lived euphoria, and then back to work tomorrow. The next two tracks are going to play to our strengths, so hopefully we'll get good results there."



"Very good. When you have that sort of grid formation, it does put Michael in a slightly difficult position, because effectively he's got two contenders to watch in his mirrors. I think both drivers did a good job."



"We tried to optimise the pit stops with the help of David, and really the only reason we weren't able to take second was we hit backmarkers. The backmarkers were going to slow us enough that overtaking Michael in the pitlane was going to be difficult. We called for him to stop, and it was pretty tight."



"We were pretty comfortable that we'd got it right. In hindsight some of our efforts that we put into optimising the race set-up hurt us a little bit in qualifying. In the end it seemed to be the right thing to do. We knew what we had to do, and overall even though we were struggling to find the right set-up, at the end of the day it was still clear that Mika was extremely dominant and clearly capable of going quicker if necessary."



"Not at all. Anything can happen and there's a long way to go. Confidence is a weakness not a strength."



"It's going well at the moment, but we've had our periods of unreliability. There are still five races to go, so we'll have to see how it goes. Race by race, that's the approach."



"I think Spa, Monza and Suzuka are actually circuits that should compliment the car. It's not that we're concerned about the other two; it's just that we feel that those types of circuits tend to favour the small advantage, if any, that we have."



"We anticipate that sort of verbal garbage coming out of our competition. The reality is that we are very committed to both drivers. They know exactly what's expected of them, they know that we are scrupulously fair. Every scenario that could have unfolded in this race was discussed and dealt with, as to how we would react to it. At no stage during the course of this race did we have to look to the sort of team rule book. We're functioning as a team, but not to the detriment of either of the drivers.

It's a misconception that because we don't favour one driver over another, that that has a derogatory affect on our ability to function as a team. It's completely the opposite. If you're functioning as a team that requires the drivers not to be selfish. It requires the drivers to understand that while we are giving them an equal opportunity, there are circumstances beyond our control that do present themselves during a GP weekend, that require them to take a view on what it is in the interest of the team, what is in the interest of myself? And the thing that I'm pleased about is that the drivers do not have to be asked. The moment that they realise, through logical interpretation of the situation, if it's a balanced call between selfish behaviour and what's in the interest of the team, they take the interest of the team first and self interest second. And that just comes from the environment you create where everybody's the same, everybody is equal. It's also fundamental in the philosophy of the team as a whole."



"No, not all. Olivier is totally committed, whole-heartedly committed, to contributing to the outcome of this year's World Championship, and he will be testing right through to after the last GP, and he's expressed no desire for it to be any different. Whatever opportunity he has, and he has several, whatever he chooses to take, we'll be supportive. But importantly he will appreciate then, as he does now, that we put him into that position. He's a very balanced and nice person, and he has no intentions of following some sort of selfish path. He's as focussed on winning this World Championship for us as we are."



"It's all about integrity, and I think he has a great deal of that. Obviously things that relate to next year's car will probably not be evaluated by him. But the fact it is we've got a lot to do to win this year, and he's got a lot to contribute."



"First of all we're waiting to see what shakes out of the current driver situation, who is and who isn't going to have a drive next year. We favour maturity. I think that Olivier's maturity has been a very positive thing, so we'll almost certainly have the most experienced, mature driver available to us, and we'll almost certainly compliment that with a younger driver. But we haven't got into the selection process - we're still looking at what options are likely to emerge."

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