Button backs Dennis to get McLaren going

Former world champion Jenson Button expects Ron Dennis to restore McLaren to its former glory after returning to take overall charge of the Formula One team.


Dennis is back in his former role as McLaren’s chief executive officer after ousting Martin Whitmarsh in a shareholders’ vote last week.

The 66-year-old has been given a mandate to conduct a thorough review of McLaren’s operations and the first major change will be the replacement of team principal Whitmarsh, who has suffered five unsuccessful years in charge.

Eric Boullier is widely tipped to take the post after resigning from his team principal role at Lotus on Friday.

Lotus named co-chairman, Gerard Lopez, as Boullier’s replacement.

“Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure,” said Lopez.

The Dennis revolution has already triggered a surge of enthusiasm at McLaren headquarters, with both star driver Button and managing director Jonathan Neale showing support for the changes during the launch of their MP4-29 car on Friday.

Button, hired by Whitmarsh after winning his world title with Brawn GP in 2009, said of Dennis: “This team, under Ron, has won multiple world championships, back to the days of Ayrton (Senna) and Alain (Prost).

“There’s so much history of Ron in this team. He’s a true racer, he’s a true fighter, and he really has built this team up over the years.”

McLaren are looking to improve after a disappointing 2013 campaign, which ended with Button claiming their best result of the season, a fourth place, in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Neale, a long-standing member of the McLaren organisation, expects Dennis’s passion for the sport to drive the team to renewed success.

“It’s not just about making sure McLaren is totally focused on winning, but there is that way McLaren go about things.

“If ever there was somebody who had a very strong vision, and a sense of true north, and how it is to win in Formula One and why that’s important, then he’s got it in spades, so it’s exciting times.”