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McLaren initiated Mercedes split - Dennis

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2010 « Massa confident Red Bulls are beatable | »
Mercedes still supply engines to McLaren despite selling back most of its share © Sutton Images

Ron Dennis has revealed that McLaren initiated its split with works-engine supplier and major shareholder Mercedes.

The long-running partnership came to an end in 2009 after Mercedes decided to set up its own team by taking over Brawn GP. But Dennis has now said the decision was as much to do with McLaren's wish to be independent after years of pressure from Mercedes to relinquish control.

"It was completely and utterly amicable," Dennis told Arabian Business. "They continuously over the years wanted to have control of McLaren and we continuously told them we did not want them to have control of McLaren.

"The more they wanted it, the less we wanted to give it to them. Because you look at what happens... the influence they [car manufacturers] control is not always productive. CEOs change overnight. I have got 30-odd years of my life in this company, huge quantities of friends and people who have been through thick and thin with me, and I made it very clear to Mercedes-Benz, as did the other shareholders, that we are not for sale. They hankered always."

He added that McLaren were quite happy to see Mercedes first supply engines to and then take over the Brawn team as the final outcome suited both parties perfectly.

"We initiated it, we wanted to be independent. This wasn't something which we weren't party to. I mean engine supply to Brawn in 2008 [for the 2009 season] required our consent. At the end of the day we were a fully integrated partner of Mercedes-Benz, and we still are. We are fiercely competitive on circuit, but off circuit we are still firm friends. I wouldn't call it a sweetheart deal, but it was a win-win situation.

"They got exactly what they wanted: a grand prix team they had complete control over - and we had continuous engine supply and the ability to promote our product and build the McLaren brand. It was just a win-win situation. In the end, obviously, when we all realised this was going to happen, it was all very logical."