Ron Dennis' McLaren highs and lows

30 June 2017 02:24

Ron Dennis' four-decade association with McLaren is over after he stood down as chairman of the British team on Friday.

The 70-year-old was placed on garden leave last November after losing a boardroom battle with the team's shareholders.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the highs and lows of his McLaren career.


McLaren won four consecutive driver and team titles between 1988 and 1991 in a dominant spell of the sport. In 1988, with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at the wheel, McLaren won 15 of the 16 races. Senna clinched the drivers' title that season before Prost won the following campaign in controversial fashion after Senna was disqualified from the season finale in Japan following a collision with his McLaren team-mate.

After a run of Williams' dominance, McLaren returned to winning ways in 1998 and 1999 as Mika Hakkinen, one of Dennis' favourite drivers, sealed back-to-back championships. At the 1998 season-opening race in Australia, Hakkinen and his team-mate David Coulthard lapped the entire field in a crushing display by the British team.

Dennis, first approached by Lewis Hamilton as a 10-year-old at an end-of-season motor racing awards ceremony, granted the British driver his grand prix bow back in 2007. Hamilton came within one point of becoming the first driver in the sport's history to win the championship in his debut campaign before returning the following year to win his maiden title. Dennis has subsequently described his relationship with Hamilton to that of a ''surrogate father''.


Dennis, and his McLaren team, were at the centre of ''Spygate'', one of the biggest scandals in Formula One history. McLaren were stripped of their 2007 constructors' points and fined nearly £50million by the FIA, motor sport's governing body, after a 780-page document containing sensitive data about Ferrari, their closest rivals, was discovered at the home of former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan.

McLaren then lost Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013 with Paddy Lowe, their highly-rated technical director, following suit. Mercedes have gone on to dominate Formula One - winning three consecutive constructors' championships - while Hamilton has added two titles to the one he won at McLaren.

In contrast McLaren have failed to win a race since Hamilton's departure from at the end of 2012, and have secured just one podium finish, too. McLaren's 2015 season, after they renewed their relationship with Japanese manufacturer Honda, was nothing short of awful. 2016 was barely any better, with fifth position marking their best result and fifth-placed qualification at the Austrian Grand Prix their highest grid position.

This season, lead driver Fernando Alonso has voiced an ultimatum over his future with the struggling marque - 'it's either me or Honda' - with his best finish a lowly ninth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Source: PA