Dennis "staying at McLaren" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Dennis "staying at McLaren"

Dennis "staying at McLaren"
Eurosport - Tue, 11 Mar 16:55:00 2008
McLaren-Mercedes sporting director Norbert Haug has confirmed to Eurosport that Ron Dennis is not leaving the F1 team.

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Speculation has raged over the Briton's position as McLaren team principal ahead of the opening race of the 2008 season in Melbourne on March 16.

Dennis is expected to make a statement about his future at the Australian Grand Prix, but Haug confirmed there would be no change of leadership.

"We all know the rumours, which were not spread by us. I can say that our management structure is unchanged," Haug said.

It is also reported that Dennis told McLaren staff of his decision to stay before their departure for Melbourne on Tuesday.

Dennis was shaken by the 'Spygate' affair which saw the team fined $100 million and thrown out of last season's constructors' championship.

He feuded publicly with then-world champion and former McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, admitting he was not on speaking terms with the Spaniard who has now returned to Renault.

Dennis also announced last month he was separating from his wife Lisa.

It had been thought he would exit McLaren at the end of 2007 if Lewis Hamilton had won the drivers' title, handing over to his deputy Martin Whitmarsh. However, the British rookie was pipped by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Haug also said he thought Hamilton and new signing Heikki Kovalainen would be able to return the drivers' and constructors' championships to McLaren.

"Both drivers are able to handle the pressure since the pressure is applied by us," Haug added.

"Lewis is living his dream and has become one of the most popular and best drivers in just one season.

"Heikki has got a chance to show his talent. We will give him this chance and are confident that he will do a good job.

"Our goal is definitely to achieve the title and, to fulfil this goal, we put a lot of effort into the preparation for this season. But we have to be patient until the race in Melbourne to see how good a competitor we are.

"Ferrari and us were the ones to set the pace during the testing phase. In Barcelona, sometimes Ferrari were faster, sometime we were.

"Ferrari may have a small advantage right now, but I think that all the competitors have the ability to surprise."

Interview by Dirk Adam / Eurosport
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