As always, Ron Dennis is a man of contradictions. His public speaking is rare, but when Big Ron decides to talk it can be at great length, making Christian Horner look concise. Dennis took over the historic British racing marque soon after the death of Bruce McLaren, the founder of the modern F1 racing team.
Ron’s titles have varied over the years, but few doubt he is the one – who has, and is, and will be – pulling the strings, and his vision for McLaren Automotive is difficult to criticise. McLaren will build and sell 3,500 road cars this year according to Dennis, and their target is to reach 4,500-5,000 p.a. which will see the company’s income approaching £1bn.
In a recent interview with F1 Racing, Dennis believes Formula One is “much more stable than many people believe”. Though Big Ron reckons the current F1 business model which is designed to monetise CVC/FOM is inhibiting creativity within the teams. Greater freedom and new ideas Dennis believes would make the sport more “colourful” and “ultimately more successful”.
Dennis is concerned “one or two teams may not make it to the end of the season”, and in a rhetoric remarkably similar to F1’s CEO explains that this will be because, “they spend more money than they have”.
Sauber are clearly in difficulty and following rumours of unpaid wages, Monisha Kaltenborn stated, “Something is fundamentally wrong in the sport.” The Swiss team principal also observed, “It doesn’t really give you any comfort if you know that others are suffering as well,” a likely reference to Force India who requested an advance on their prize money for 2016.
Given this continued sad state of affairs for teams like Sauber, Lotus (as it was last year), Manor and Force India, Dennis’ claim that the sport is ‘more stable’ than people believe appears rather farfetched. And 2020 where Ecclestone can force a redistribution of the monies amongst the teams is a long way away.