On this day in 2016: Ron Dennis forced to step down as McLaren chief

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Ron Dennis was forced to step down as chairman and chief executive of Formula One team McLaren on this day in 2016.

The long-serving boss, who oversaw 10 drivers’ championships and seven constructors’ titles, was ousted following a bitter boardroom dispute.

Ayrton Senna (left) enjoyed considerable success under Dennis at McLaren
Ayrton Senna (left) enjoyed considerable success under Dennis at McLaren (David Jones/PA)

The team’s success had also dried up in the years preceding his departure with 2015 having been a particularly lean season, when they finished ninth out of the 10 teams on the grid.

Dennis, who owned a 25 per cent stake in the business, was far from happy with the decision, which was forced through by his fellow shareholders.

Dennis had fallen out with Saudi businessman Mansour Ojjeh, who also had a 25 per cent stake. Ojjeh, a former business partner of Dennis’, had then become aligned with the team’s 50 per cent owner Mumtalakat, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund.

“I am disappointed that the other main shareholders in McLaren have forced through this decision to place me on gardening leave, despite the strong warnings from the rest of the management team about the potential consequences of their actions on the business,” said Dennis, whose association with McLaren began in 1980.

“The grounds they have stated are entirely spurious. My management style is the same as it has always been and is one that has enabled McLaren to become an automotive and technology group that has won 20 Formula One world championships and grown into an £850million-a-year business.”

Dennis (right) was a key figure in the early career of Lewis Hamilton (left)
Dennis (right) was a key figure in the early career of Lewis Hamilton (left) (David Davies/PA)

Dennis further severed ties with McLaren when he agreed a deal to sell his shareholding in a reported £275million deal the following year.

His name remains synonymous with the glory years of the team, which most famously featured the title duels of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the late 1980s.

He also oversaw Mika Hakkinen’s back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999 and was instrumental in the early career of Lewis Hamilton, who won the first of his seven world crowns with McLaren.

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