Formula 1 Insight

Ron Dennis and Blogging

A while back I wrote a post defending bloggers against what I chose to see as criticism of them from Joe Saward. Since then I have quietly followed Joe's blog, noting its gradual transformation into a regurgitation of news items interspersed with accounts of the personal trials and tribulations of a travelling F1 journalist. Just occasionally, he writes opinion posts of great insight and interest, however, and he has excelled himself with today's post reflecting on the achievements of Ron Dennis.

Ron Dennis and Richard Lapthorne
Ron Dennis, Executive Chairman of McLaren Automotive, and Richard Lapthorne, Non-Executive Chairman of McLaren Group, at the McLaren Technology Centre on Thursday 16th April 2009

This is occasioned by Ron's announcement of the restructuring of McLaren, of course, and is a heartfelt and informed look at the man behind the team that has been so influential in F1 over the last thirty years. This is the kind of thing I was hoping for from Joe - opinion more than news that we can get elsewhere on the net. It is what blogging is all about.

I do not want to go too deeply into the art of blogging but it is interesting to compare Joe's blog with one started at about the same time by another professional F1 journalist, James Allen. It seems to me that James is much more aware of the purpose of blogging, his posts being a combination of snippets of inside information and unabashed opinion. And the result is that he has gathered large numbers of readers extremely quickly, surely evidence that he gives them what they want.

Perhaps Joe would respond that he is not interested in mere popularity but he must admit that the purpose of writing is to be read. And I, for one, would enjoy my daily visits to his blog more if he were to tell us what he thinks about everything to do with F1, rather than give us details of what particular hotel room he is shacked up in at the moment. Hence my enthusiasm for his post on Ron Dennis.

Most of us form our opinions on Ron through the media, listening to his televized interviews and reading of his actions and words in publications in print and on the net. My own opinion is formed in exactly this manner, inevitably so since I have never met the man. But Joe has that rare advantage of actually knowing Ron and his view carries much more weight as a result. If my assessment happens to coincide with Joe's, I can merely thank my lucky stars that I was able to glean at least a few facts through paying attention over the years.

So this is really a thank you to Joe for sharing his thoughts with us and a request for more of the same in the future. I had not intended it as such originally, my aim being more to honor Ron Dennis as he steps away from the sport, but I have been betrayed by thoughts that have been simmering for a while now. It is a dangerous thing to set finger to keyboard.

Whether Ron's announcement has anything to do with the pending "lie-gate" hearing or not, I have no idea. Perhaps it may go easier on McLaren if Big Ron is no longer seen as involved with the team, but I suspect that the re-structuring has been planned for some time and it is only the timing of the announcement that was affected by events. Hopefully, the hearing will produce a verdict as sensible as we have seen in the double diffuser issue and the sport can get on with what it does best - motor racing.


Nick Goodspeed
Sadly, there is a perception that Mosley has run Ron Dennis out of F1 by holding McLaren hostage. Since Mosley doesn't seem to be focusing his ire elsewhere, I would guess that he believes Ron Dennis responsible for the publicizing of his covert sexual activities. In the end F1 loses the wrong man as Mosley remains.
Date Added: 16/04/2009

I'm sure this was all planned and Max had nothing to do with it. But people are entitled to their opinions and some will see it as Max winning, as you say. Thankfully, it really doesn't alter Ron's achievements and he will always be much more important in the history of F1 than Mosley.
Date Added: 16/04/2009

Steven Roy
I agree with Clive that Joe Saward's post was probably the best writing I have ever seen from him. I like Joe's blog and also enjoy his occasional interviews on sidepodcast where he is a bit more natural and expansive.

I am sure Max will see Ron's move as a victory. For me it is a sad day that Max is seen to have won albeit in the end he will lose. Hopefully the case against McLaren will now be dropped with them given some meaningless warning but I still wouldn't put it past Max to hit them with another big fine to sort out the FIA's finances.

I really wish the teams would dump the FIA and set up their own championship.
Date Added: 16/04/2009

It may be that the coming election of an FIA President turns out to be more important than the ICA verdict on the minor matter of lying to a bunch of stewards.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

Nick Goodspeed
I am certain this was planned. McLaren have been set up by the FIA (read Mosley) over the last three (or more) seasons regularly and in an exaggerated manner. They have probably been fined more in this time than the combined fines of every team since F1 began. I have no doubt that Mosley and his cronies were waiting opportunistically for any misstep from McLaren. The saddest part of this fiasco is that the madman Mosley has gotten away with it and that the other teams have let this go on without standing up for their colleague. It would seem the only people willing to say anything about Mosley's behaviour are out of F1's clutches. It has often been quoted that people get the government they deserve. Such would seem to be the case with F1 at the moment.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

Pink Peril
Maybe Ron is planning on running for FIA president?

Wouldn't that be delicious irony?
Date Added: 17/04/2009

Nick: Makes me wonder what terrible thing F1 did to deserve Max Mosley...

You're right, however - to achieve good government, the teams are going to have to be resolute and united in their opposition to the FIA. Any sign of weakness and they're dead.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

Peril: It would be ironic if the two emerging candidates for Mosley's position were to be Ron and Jean Todt, both of whom are now out of F1. But Ron is still involved with the road car division of McLaren and I can't see him being interested in the FIA position.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

I agree with you, Clive, about blogging.

Have you read the articles about Briatore comments to diffuser verdict. I can only laugh...

I find Buttons reply to Briatore very interesting

"He also needs to remember that he tried to employ me for this year, so..."

Interesting! Briatore was/is thinking of a replacement for Piquet jr. But even more interesting is that Button did not switch to Renault even though we don't when they talked, it could have been before Honda pulled the plug.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

Hezla: Talking sense back to Briatore must be the most futile task in the universe - he doesn't listen. I think the only sensible response to his outbursts is exactly yours, Hezla - laughter.
Date Added: 17/04/2009

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