How will McLaren Fare in the Post-Dennis Era?

Gone are the days when you could rule with an iron fist. Ron Dennis was apparently an authoritarian leader who couldn’t accept McLaren’s recent demise, so wouldn’t lower the standards and bring in a lesser major sponsor – despite the team being without a major sponsor since Vodaphone’s exit in 2013.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 25: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren leads from team mate Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 25, 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 25: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren leads from team mate Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 25, 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Despite the inflation or skew on Ron Dennis’ public profile, it can’t be denied that his commitment to the team and sport was massive. He was with McLaren for 37 years and was working in Formula One since 1966. He is a Motorsport person, regardless of his perceived clinical approach.

“Marketing Guru” Zak Brown now holds the power at the Woking-based team. His first, and easiest objective given his background, will be to find a major sponsor for McLaren, who will need the money after a few season’s of midfield anonymity.

SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 01: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group Ron Dennis in the garage during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 1, 2016 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
SAKHIR, BAHRAIN – APRIL 01: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Group Ron Dennis in the garage during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 1, 2016 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Whilst the head of the team has changed, the race personnel, engineers, designers, technicians, PR team, administration and hundreds upon hundreds of others haven’t. Like football, we have this strange obsession in sport to rest obtuse accountability and perceived effort at the door of the singularity at the top.

To suddenly blame Ron Dennis for McLaren’s four-year victory drought is naive, as is the belief that Zak Brown’s appointment alone will bring a new dawn for McLaren. It’s down to the driver’s and the entirely of the team, thousands of individuals striving towards the same objective.

AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: GP von AUSTRALIEN 1997 Melbourne; Sieger David COULTHARD/Mc Laren wird von Teamchef Ron DENNIS; umarmt (Photo by Marcus Brandt/Bongarts/Getty Images)
AUSTRALIA – MARCH 09: GP von AUSTRALIEN 1997 Melbourne; Sieger David COULTHARD/Mc Laren wird von Teamchef Ron DENNIS; umarmt (Photo by Marcus Brandt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In 2014, Dennis once compared McLaren to Manchester United in that they are expected to be the best, expected to win, but are currently falling short. Some argue that his overambitious idealization of the team made up part of his eventual ousting from the boardroom.

McLaren currently sit 6th in the Constructors Standings.

Manchester United currently sit 6th in the Premier League Table.

Team principle Ron Dennis looks on as Ayrton Senna sits aboard the #1 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6 Honda RA121E V12 during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on 24th August 1991 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. (Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images)
Team principle Ron Dennis looks on as Ayrton Senna sits aboard the #1 Honda Marlboro McLaren McLaren MP4/6 Honda RA121E V12 during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on 24th August 1991 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. (Photo by Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images)