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Ron Dennis has announced a large reshuffle of McLaren's internal structure, as the Englishman steps down as CEO of the racing team in order to concentrate on the new McLaren Automotive company, part of the McLaren Group. As a result, the former team principal will now concentrate more on the development of sports cars as opposed to the F1 team.
"With planned additional investment in the company of £250 million, proposals in place for a new McLaren car production facility in the UK, and the potential for up to 800 skilled jobs, McLaren Automotive's expansion will represent a significant investment in the UK automotive industry," Dennis said in a press conference at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.
Having joined the outfit in 1980, Dennis passed team principal status to Martin Whitmarsh at the beginning of this year and, following today's news, will play no active role in the future of the racing side of the organisation. "I passed the role of Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to Martin Whitmarsh on January 16th, the day of the launch of our new Formula 1 car," he explained. "That day I was asked many times whether I would attend the 2009 Australian Grand Prix. My answer was "yes", and I duly attended it - albeit not as the person in charge. It was, I admit, a strange feeling. The next race, the Malaysian Grand Prix, I watched on TV in the UK - an activity I found surprisingly easy. I'd expected to be more emotional about it, after an unbroken run of attending so many Grands Prix for so many years."
As he concluded his speech, Dennis also spoke of his ability to achieve successful working relationships in Formula One, and of his recent change of heart: "I admit I'm not always easy to get on with. I admit I've always fought hard for McLaren in Formula 1. I doubt if Max Mosley or Bernie Ecclestone (FIA President and head of Formula One Management respectively) will be displeased by my decision, but no-one asked me to do it. It was my decision; equally, I was the architect of today's restructure of the McLaren Group. Again, no-one asked me to do it - it was my decision. I feel enormously enthused about the prospects for the McLaren Group and for McLaren Automotive, and have no qualms about leaving Martin to report to the board regarding matters connected with Formula 1."
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