Ron Dennis has formally ended his role at McLaren, the company he made into one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of all time.
Dennis, ousted as chief executive officer last November in a boardroom coup, has sold his 25% shareholding.
The 70-year-old has also resigned from his position on the board.
Dennis has sold to the two main shareholders – Mumtalakat, the Bahrain sovereign investment fund, and Mansour Ojjeh.
It was the souring of Dennis’ relationship with Ojjeh that led to his removal.
The two were long-time friends and business partners but fell out for both personal and business reasons a few years ago.
What did Dennis do at McLaren?
Dennis arrived at McLaren in September 1980, taking control in 1981 and building it into one of the dominant teams of the next 20 years.
He built it through three eras – with TAG-Porsche engines from 1984-87, winning one world drivers’ title with Niki Lauda and two with Alain Prost; with Honda engines from 1988-92, winning one world title with Prost and three with Ayrton Senna; and then into a relationship with Mercedes from 1995, which saw world titles for Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999 and Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
Dennis was also instrumental in McLaren’s current engine partnership with Honda, which has so far proven to be a huge disappointment. The team languish in last place in the championship this season, owing to the lack of power and reliability of the Honda engine.
McLaren are seeking a way out of their deal with Honda for next season, aiming to switch to a supply of customer Mercedes power-units.
Dennis’ eye for detail, and refusal to compromise on many fronts, set new standards for F1 teams which all others had to follow.
What happens to McLaren now?
Dennis’ departure is part of a restructure that cements Mumtalakat and its representative Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa as the dominant force in McLaren.
It merges the McLaren Technology Group – made up of McLaren Racing, McLaren Applied Technologies and McLaren Marketing – with McLaren Automotive, which produces a range of successful high-performance sports cars for the road, under the control of a new company called the McLaren Group.
Sheikh Mohammed is the executive chairman of the McLaren Group and Mumtalakat the majority shareholder.
Ojjeh is a significant minority shareholder, with sundry other individual parties holding small stakes.