This morning, at the launch of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24, Ron Dennis (McLaren Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal) announced that he would pass the role of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal to Martin Whitmarsh (Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Group) on March 1st.
Martin will therefore lead the team at grands prix from this season onwards.
Ron Dennis said: \"Let me make one thing clear: this is very definitely not retirement. In fact, I intend to work even harder from now on. And it\'s because I intend to work even harder - on growing the McLaren Group, which encompasses McLaren Automotive, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren Marketing, McLaren Inc and Absolute Taste, as well as McLaren Racing of course - that I\'ve decided to pass the role of Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to Martin.
\"In any case, this announcement won’t change a great deal because, in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Group, Martin and I already jointly take all the major decisions that affect this company. What today’s decision means is that Martin will now become solely responsible for the performance of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and will be entrusted to ensure the team remains a competitive force in Formula 1 motor racing.
\"As for myself, I will continue to expand and develop my role as McLaren Group Chairman and still intend to go to some, but not all, Grands Prix because I remain a diehard enthusiast. Motor racing is in my blood - and nothing will dilute my passion for either the sport or the success of this company.\"
Martin Whitmarsh said: \"Ron and I have had many discussions about this over the past few weeks and months, but eventually it became clear that Ron’s decision was final. Everyone knows what an incredible career Ron has had to date; his legacy is huge. As such, I remain hugely mindful of the responsibilities I assume as team principal - it’s a daunting yet exciting prospect. Despite today’s announcement, I hope we will still continue to work as closely together as before.\"
Norbert Haug said: \"Ron has contributed enormously to our partnership which starts its 15th season right now. On behalf of Mercedes-Benz I really want to say thank you to Ron for all his work and for all the success we’ve had, and hopefully will have, in the future. But it is not about saying ‘goodbye’ to Ron today, because we fully support Ron’s decision which he has made so that he can concentrate on the leadership of the McLaren Group. At the same time, this announcement is great news for Martin - and certainly a very well-deserved promotion. Ron, Martin and I have been working together for 15 years in a very trustful and co-operative manner. This will not change in the future.\"