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McLaren 'was a little unfit' - Dennis

ESPN Staff
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Ron Dennis also denied rumours of a rift with the ousted Martin Whitmarsh © Sutton Images

Ron Dennis is convinced he can return McLaren to winning ways this season after taking charge of the team again over the winter.

Dennis installed himself as CEO of the McLaren Group in January, taking responsibility of the Formula One team for the first time since 2009. He returns looking to pick up the pieces after the team's worst season since 1980 and is adamant he can lead McLaren back to winning ways.

"I believe we will win races this year," he said. "How many? I don't know. How soon? I don't know. The focus and commitment I've given to this part of the company is huge. If everyone matches my passion, commitment and focus, we will most definitely win. The company was a little unfit, it needs to get fit and there is pain to getting fit.

"Hopefully everybody has got the right mindset to understand what we expect of each other and what I expect of them. It takes time. You've got to give people time to understand what's expected of them and if they don't get there, they won't be with the company."

Ex-team principal Martin Whitmarsh was one of the casualties in the January restructure at McLaren, but Dennis denies a rift triggered the changes in management.

"There has been no falling out between us whatsoever," he said. "We had to make changes and I wanted to lead the changes because I felt it was the right thing for the group. I was supported in that view by the shareholders, so that is why I'm doing it. Martin and I will find a common and positive way forward, but it's as and when we have that we will communicate it."

Jonathan Neale has taken on the role of acting CEO in the meantime, while Eric Boullier has been brought in as racing director. Dennis said there is no rush to fill complete the management structure until the team is convinced it has the right man for the job.

"That choice of person is critical to the long term future of the company and I will take my time. And ultimately with such an important decision, it will not be mine and mine alone. I would expect to share that with the shareholders and key individuals.It is not at the moment at the top of my must do list. I am comfortable with what we have in place at the moment."

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