McLaren denies Dennis demoted by Bahraini owners

Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer with Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Executive Chairman. Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday 6 November 2010. BEST IMAGE
Ron Dennis with Martin Whitmarsh

McLaren on Friday played down media reports that Ron Dennis has been demoted by the team’s Bahraini co-owners.

Auto Motor und Sport had reported the McLaren ‘supremo’ was stripped of his voting rights, and is now only a non-executive member of the board.

The report said McLaren shareholder Mumtalakat Holding, the Bahraini investment company, is angry because Dennis’ pet project, McLaren Automotive, is losing millions.

But a McLaren spokesperson on Friday told the BBC that Dennis’ change of role was decided by himself.

The spokesman did, however, admit that group chairman Dennis is now a non-executive board member.

Dennis is quoted as saying: “The difference in the job is I don’t have accountability for the actions of the management.”

He denied rumours of significant disagreements with the Bahrainis and also shareholder Mansour Ojjeh, or that he had attempted to wrest back control of the Formula 1 team from Martin Whitmarsh.

“There has absolutely been no suggestion of my role in the company changing beyond the change of roles that took place as per my contract in January,” said Dennis.