Tag Archive | Martin Whitmarsh

Ron Returns

Former team boss Ron Dennis has been appointed Group CEO of the McLaren Group and has immediately vowed to return the Formula One to the head of the field after a disappointing 2013 season.

Dennis addressed staff for 20 minutes at the teams Woking base on Thursday afternoon. He is believed to have told employees, “there will be changes…We will win again.” Dennis has announced that he will set up a review of the company and its strategies to enable McLaren to “win at whatever we do.” Dennis will remain the chairman of McLaren Automotive.

Current Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh was not present at the address and it is unclear whether he will retain his current position at the head of the F1 team. Whitmarsh is also the Chief Operating Officer of the McLaren Group.

Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh

Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh

Statement

“My fellow shareholders have mandated me to write an exciting new chapter in the story of McLaren, beginning by improving our on-track and off-track performance,” Dennis said.

“Over the coming weeks I intend to undertake a thorough and objective review of each of our businesses with the intention of optimising every aspect of our existing operations, whilst identifying new areas of growth that capitalise on our technologies, and where appropriate further investing in them.

“During February, I will articulate a new Group strategy and implement the organisational structure best suited to achieving it. I am excited by the prospect of returning to the role of Group Chief Executive Officer and working with my many colleagues and fellow shareholders to fulfil our objective, which is to win at whatever we do.”

Ron Dennis has been a shareholder of McLaren since 1980. He became CEO of the Group in 1982 until 2012. He was also the Team Principal of the F1 team from 1982 to 2009, before stepping down from his position as part of an ongoing spat with the then-FIA boss Max Mosley.

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Perez’s coming of age

Sergio Perez faced stern criticism at the end of the Chinese Grand Prix from journalists, fans and his team bosses for his lack of “fight” when dicing with other drivers for position.

The young Mexican yielded position to several drivers with ease, and something that is unbefitting for a Mclaren driver to do. Quickly after the race was complete, Martin Whitmarsh took Sergio aside and told him to “toughen up”, the Team Principal said: “I think he’s been very polite so far this year; I think he needs to toughen up, I think he’s been generous in allowing people to get past him.”

In Bahrain the 23 year old Mexican talent repayed his boss handsomely with a storming drive from 12th on the grid to finish well above his team mate in 6th come race day. His duel with Jenson Button was controversial, despite earning plaudits from press and public alike. The two touched cars no more than five times during Sunday’s race, with Perez eventually blasting past his more experienced team mate.

Button battles Perez

Button battles Perez

Later in the race, Sergio came to battle with two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, after making it past the Spaniard he remained ahead by placing his Mclaren on the racing line at Turn 4 and ruthlessly forcing Alonso wide off the circuit warranting a call of distress from Fernando to his team. On the final lap ‘Checo’ also made it past Red Bulls Mark Webber to claim 6th position.

If ever there was a time to respond, Sergio Perez mastered it perfectly stepping up to the plate come the race. He not only robustly held off drivers from overtaking him, but he went wheel-to-wheel with two megatrons of Formula One, the two adversaries he needed to overtake to prove is worth to the world, his World Champion team mate and the most fruitful and wisest driver Fernando Alonso.

He will now have to keep up this top form not just for the next race in Spain, but for the rest of his Mclaren career to prove his many doubters wrong and to assert his worthiness of a seat for the Woking based team.

Silver Medal for Mclaren

Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes have been awarded a Silver Medal at the 2012 Edison Awards.

The awards recognise and honour innovation and business excellence. Named after the inventor Thomas Edison, the Edison Awards champions groundbreaking scientific achievement.

After earning their Carbon Neutral status from the Carbon Trust recently, Mclaren were nominated in the ‘Green Implementation’ category. Mclaren, as a company, managed to make savings of 1500 tonnes of CO2 every year, over a three year period.

Achieving the Edison silver medal is a reward that will be seen and recognised on a global scale and allows them to join a whole host of other international brand leaders.

Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “I’m delighted that our ongoing efforts to manage and improve our carbon efficiency have been recognised by the Edison Awards judging panel. This is a fantastic achievement for the whole team.

“The nominees’ list at last night’s ceremony in New York read like a Who’s Who of the great and good in the world of inspirational technical innovation, and I’m immensely proud that our team has been recognised on that list.

“While our silver medal is further validation of the steps we’ve made, and certainly helps showcase our efforts on a global level, it is still merely the starting point for an ongoing and concerted mission to ensure that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes conducts its business in an environmentally conscious and responsible way.”

Volkswagen Group of America came in just ahead of them for the Gold Medal.

Right Race, Right Place

Formula One completed a race in Bahrain yesterday, after coming under international condemnation.

Since the Arab Spring in February last year, Bahrain has had to overcome mass protests from the Shia minority. The race, which had to pulled from the calendar in 2011, came under scrutiny from human rights campaigners.

Before this weekend’s proceedings Formula One was criticised for holding such an event, given as so many people have been injured and killed by the ruling regime in the country. On Saturday a protestor was killed after filming a protest.

Ed Miliband made a statement on Friday night saying that the race should not go ahead.

“Given the violence we have seen in Bahrain, given the human rights abuses, I don’t believe the Grand Prix should go ahead and I hope that the government will make its view clear and say the same.”

The Labour leaders calls were met with anger from the F1 paddock, as they believed the calls were too late. “Politicians in the UK were saying we should withdraw once we’d got here,” Mercedes GP Team Principal Ross Brawn said. “Why didn’t they say something beforehand?”

The McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “I don’t think it’s helpful to wake up and hear we shouldn’t be here when we’re already here.”

Some have argued that the race was used by the Bahrain government as a propaganda tool to show the country in a good light around the world, as it aims to create a positive image of the country. This is further backed up by the country endorsing the F1 brand in the race slogan, ‘UniF1ed’.

Smoke outside the track during the race

The race did however go off without a hitch.

Pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel went on to win the race after overcoming a challenge for victory with Kimi Raikkonen, fellow Lotus driver Romain Grosjean rounded off the podium with 3rd place. Scottish driver Paul Di Resta had an impressive race to finish in 6th. It was a poor race from the Mclaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Hamilton had several poor pit stops and finished the race in a lowly 8th place, whilst Button was forced to retire from the race two laps before the end with a differential failure.

After the race it was announced that a number of Channel 4 journalists are to be deported on Monday after being arrested for entering and working in Bahrain on just a tourist visa.