Ron Dennis has decided to step down as McLaren team principal before the season opener in Melbourne. The 62-year-old has said, "It's time for Martin to take over. It is 100% my decision. This is a job he will embrace and from now most race-day decisions will be his."
This news comes just hours after McLaren launched their 2009 challenger the MP4-24.
Mr. Dennis continued with, "I still have huge passion for F1 and I want to be supportive of Martin's responsibilities, but that will come purely in the form of voicing an opinion.
"Maybe they'll get my opinion when they don't want it! But I hope Martin will listen to my opinions, even if ultimately, as it will, the ultimate decision rests solely with him.
"This is the right time for this decision. But don't see this as some sort of retirement because it is the exact opposite.
"The first thing I must do is raise my own game because everybody realises this is a tough period in which to work. My decision, and it is solely, and exclusively my decision, has been made on the basis of what is best for McLaren.
"We are a very diverse organisation and we have a number of other projects ongoing, including the development of our road car, and that is going to be a real challenge.
"However, really I want to downplay this decision, because today is about the new car, where we're going forward as a team. It certainly isn't about my stepping down."
Martin Whitmarsh has been with the team for 20 years, when he took over as head of operations. "It doesn't feel like a bombshell to me. Ron has reached this point and I was keen for him to dictate a time-frame, but I certainly didn't push him.
"I've worked with Ron for 20 years and he has had an incredible career, but Formula One is changing and evolving and so is this business," added Whitmarsh.
So, will this news effect how the team operates? Does Ron secretly know the MP4-24 isn't capable of winning races, so he is bowing out with a WDC? I doubt it, but we shall see.
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