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Ron Dennis sells shares in McLaren, steps down from chairman roles

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Ron Dennis’ involvement with McLaren has come to an end after 37 years following the sale of his shares in McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive, and his resignation as chairman of both companies.

Dennis, 70, first became involved with McLaren’s Formula 1 operation in 1980, and went on to deliver success both on- and off-track, winning world titles and helping the company to expand beyond racing.

Dennis confirmed his resignation as CEO of McLaren Technology Group back in November after a boardroom struggle and was placed on gardening leave, but remained a shareholder and director.

On Friday, McLaren issued a statement confirming that Dennis’ shares had been bought by the newly-formed ‘McLaren Group’, a company unifying McLaren Automotive and McLaren Technology Group, ending his involvement with the brand.

“I am very pleased to have reached agreement with my fellow McLaren shareholders. It represents a fitting end to my time at McLaren, and will enable me to focus on my other interests,” Dennis said.

“I have always said that my 37 years at Woking should be considered as a chapter in the McLaren book, and I wish McLaren every success as it takes the story forward.

“Now that my time at McLaren has come to an end, I will be able to involve myself in a series of other programs and activities, especially those focused on public service.

“I will continue to indulge my passion for supporting contemporary artists and collecting their work, but most of all I will be driving new ideas and projects forward.

“Last but far from least, I wish McLaren well, and I send my greatest thanks and best wishes to my colleagues in all corners of its business, and at every level of seniority. Truly, they are the best of the best.

“And, well funded to succeed and grow, and led by an ambitious management team, McLaren is ideally poised to build on the successes that I am so proud to have contributed to during my time leading such a great British group of companies.”

McLaren Group’s new executive chairman, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, paid tribute to Dennis following the announcement on Friday.

“I would like to pay tribute to Ron’s immense contribution to the McLaren success story over the past 37 years,” he said.

“As soon as he had taken over the running of the team in the late autumn of 1980, it was immediately clear that here was a man whose ambition to surpass the achievements of all previous Formula 1 team principals would not be checked.

“Together with Mansour Ojjeh of TAG Group, whom Ron soon introduced to McLaren and whose support has been invaluable to its success for a third of a century, Ron rewrote the record books in the 1980s and 1990s, winning Grands Prix and World Championships as a matter of apparent routine. But it was not routine: it was in fact the result of a lot of clever thinking and a huge amount of extremely hard work.

“That ethos remains at McLaren, and I am very proud now to be assuming the position of Executive Chairman, alongside Mansour, my fellow Executive Committee principal, who will continue to work with me to drive McLaren Group forward to new successes.

“There will be time in the near future to outline our plans, for the coming months and years will be an extremely exciting time in the story of McLaren. But now, today, it is appropriate that we pause to express our gratitude to Ron.

“So, on behalf of McLaren and all who sail in her, may I say three heartfelt words: thank you Ron.”

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.