Jordan accuses Ron Dennis of ‘arrogance’

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McLaren face this year’s home GP at Silverstone with probably the bleakest outlook in their history and their last race win by Jenson Button in Brazil 2012 seems a very long time ago.

Speaking about McLaren F1’s current woes, Ron Dennis tells The Telegraph, “Well, one of the things that surprises everybody except for myself, because I’ve seen it before, is that we have made steady and measurable progress. And three or four races ago we knew that we would get to Canada and were going to at best plateau, because of the nature of the circuit”.

The next race up in Austria saw both McLaren drivers given grid penalties that saw them starting at the rear of the field because they had already used more than the entire season’s allocation of engines. Dennis though refuses to be despondent.

“But virtually every step that we’ve taken has moved us forward as predicted by the team, and we’re getting very good correlation with our calculations and our on-track performance, which is promising.

“Our commitment remains to win the world championship. That requires you to have laser focus on each aspect of the car, and everything has got to be the best of the best. Neither Honda nor ourselves expected the challenge to be quite as difficult as it has been. But they started with a clean piece of paper, not just in terms of the engine but also the research and development facilities, which are completely new”.

Given where the McLaren-Honda partnership is presently, this rhetoric from Dennis is heardly unexpected. However, Eddie Jordan accuses the Woking team boss of arrogance.

“You can say Honda is a mess. But so are McLaren”, Jordan explains in a BBC Q&A. “They have been a shadow of their former selves since they arrogantly stated that Lewis Hamilton would rue the day he left McLaren. Look how that has rebounded on them.”

“That arrogance is still there at the top of McLaren. They are hopelessly off the pace and anyone who thinks it is just the engine is deluding themselves. The engine is a lot of it, but there are lots of other issues there.

“I personally think the day McLaren started building road cars was the day they took their eye off the ball in F1, and I will be surprised if they ever come close to winning titles again while that road car programme is still going and while the current management structure is in place”.

Eddie Jordan is frequently a provocative voice in Formula One, but even by his standards these criticisms may appear a little too harsh.

As to 2016, Fernando Alonso suggested recently that McLaren should switch its development focus from this year to next.

Jonathan Neale, McLaren’s CEO disagrees. “It’s too early to consider switching attention to next year because the rules are evolutionary.

“There is a glide path into next year so we will be flat out until the last race, while still thinking about next year.

“Elements like the front wing, rear wing, floor and brake ducts – a large part of that will carry through in concept terms.

“So with that in mind, we have to keep pushing on this year.”

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23 responses to “Jordan accuses Ron Dennis of ‘arrogance’

  1. “They have been a shadow of their former selves since they arrogantly stated that Lewis Hamilton would rue the day he left McLaren.”

    I think that’s more than a little unfair. They did say they thought he was making a mistake because they had confidence in themselves, confidence which turned out to be misplaced. But is that really arrogance or just the sort of faith and confidence every driver and team needs to have in themselves?

    I also feel that comment is implying a hostility which simply isn’t there. Whilst they may have thought his decision wrong, I got the impresson that McLaren completely understood it and blamed Lewis not at all for making it.

    All of which said, it has to be said that Eddie Jordan is an acknowledged expert when it comes to arrogance, so perhaps he’s right… 🙂

  2. Ron Dennis didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when he sacked Martin Whitmarsh and replaced him with the “Minister of Information” Eric Boullier. That said, Whitmarsh apparently decided that he’d listen more to Jenson Button’s ideas about the cars, then Lewis Hamilton, which certainly made a billhook of the 2012 season and the team have failed ever since.
    I’ve also noticed that when RD attends a race, McLaren have more finger trouble. Perhaps RD’s obsession with tidyness affects how the team works. The corporate image of McLaren is more important than a bit of flair.
    I don’t fully agree with the EJiot, Ferrari race and make supercars, it just depends on how the workforce is set up, so one side of the company isn’t too affected by the other. Unlike Eddie, we don’t get to hear the insider gossip, what a pity!

    • I actually made jokes about this when they got serious with the road cars. The problem is one of funding. Start up for the division cannibalized both money and intellect from the F1 side. It seemed obvious at the time F1 side had basically been ignored the entire time RD was getting the road cars going.

        • I hope it’s some kind of joke? The 1994 slump was due to losing the Honda engine and having to replace it with brand new Peugeot engine and losing two of the grid’s best drivers to other teams. 1995 slump continued because the team replaced Peugeot with the Mercedes engine, which hasn’t set any records in 1993 and 1994 when using in the Sauber chassis.

          • Admittedly, it’s more correlation than causation, but McLaren aren’t a huge company. It’s probably more viable that they need the help of a manufacturer i.e. to be a works team to be competitive – once Mercedes divested, we got 2013-. The same did happen post-Honda, and only once they partnered with Mercedes did the performance come back.

    • Really weird that people blame Button for McLaren’s failure to produce a proper competitive car for a while. Not like Hamilton made Mercedes what it is today either.

  3. “and their last race win by Jenson Button in Brazil 2014”

    Make that 2012. Yes, that long ago…

  4. Good man EJ, nothing like a good Irish dose of the truth for Ron the sponsorless and Eric the believable!

  5. This isn’t the first time that Eddie has aimed a lot of criticism at McLaren. He seems to have an axe to grind with Ron.

      • Or they could follow Red Bull and nab Antonio Giovanazzi. After the three races at Norisring I believe he’s third in Formula 3.

        • Gio is really coming on, same with Ghiotto.. maybe Ferrari should look at them instead of Stroll and Fuoco (going off their last crashes!)?

          Leclerc is the real talent in F3 this year, he’s the one to challenge Verstappen in years to come, just like in karts. I’m surprised no one has made a move for him yet.. Marko?

  6. I know that a couple of years ago McLaren were so worried about their poor team morale that their HR director was looking to get internal comms expert to help with team spirit. Apparently after every race they had a get together at the factory with martin and it was the most awkward thing ever. It was supposed to be like a 360 session but nobody wanted to contribute. I can’t imagine that culture having got any better with Ron back at the helm! You can trace poor performance of any organisation back to how the individuals in it feel about it. They punch well below their weight in that department.

  7. The media don’t want to admit how great the impact of the loss of lewis was to Mclaren.but more important the arrogant stupid decision the made to be dismissive of Lewis impact.The 1st of which is backing Button over Lewis,yes Button the epithimy of mediocrity ,when it was self evident that he was no where near Lewis class.Button went 5 races in 2012 scoring 7 points,while Lewis was taking pole and winning races.
    worst display of of arrogance was ditching MERC as retribution for hiring Lewis.so you see all roads leads to them Waring against lewis and shooting themselves in the foot.arrogantly pretending that they can just easily replace a one in a generation driver without consequence….the stats of Lewis tells the story

    • lol, ain’t we the lovestruck fan boy then. You actually think Mclaren’s downfall is mainly because hamilton left ?. IF McLaren had kept Merc PU’s and IF hamilton had stayed at McLaren and IF there was another driver in that Merc, do you think Hamilton would be beating them ? Please don’t tell me you think, yes.

  8. Lol, more Eddie Jordan headline worthy quotes! Even though he gets it so right sometimes it’s so hard for me to take him seriously with how he equally gets it so wrong (-8
    Pretty sure RD did take his eye off F1 for the road car business, but that was probably just an investment which will pay off. I think RD was/is trying to make Mclaren more like a manufacturer and more “self-sustainable” if you could ever say that about an F1 team, because a successful automotive business could bankroll the F1 team to some degree. Remember, Mclaren lost a LOT of Mercedes support when Mercedes made their own factory team, and Ron is a savvy business man. Also pretty sure that the sacking of Whitmarsh marked the return of Ron’s attention, and they certainly are partnered with a potentially amazing engine partner in Honda. While this year has been embarassing in terms of engine reliability, Honda has a long history of delivering great engines (across all categories of motorsport basically) so only time will tell…

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