Button backs Dennis hoping to get McLaren up to speed
January 26, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
LONDON -- Former world champion Jenson Button expects Ron Dennis to restore McLaren to its' former glory after returning to take overall charge of the Formula One team.
Dennis is back in his former role as McLaren's chief executive officer after ousting Martin Whitmarsh in a shareholders' vote last week.
The 66-year-old has been given a mandate to conduct a thorough review of McLaren's operations and the first major change is set to be the replacement of team principal Whitmarsh, who has suffered five unsuccessful years in charge.
Eric Boullier has been widely tipped to take the post after resigning from his team principal role at Lotus on Friday.
The Dennis revolution has already triggered a surge of enthusiasm at McLaren headquarters, with both star driver Button and managing director Jonathan Neale showing support for the changes during the launch of their MP4-29 car on Friday.
Button, hired by Whitmarsh after winning his world title with Brawn GP in 2009, said of Dennis: “This team, under Ron, has won multiple world championships, back to the days of Ayrton (Senna) and Alain (Prost).
“There's so much history of Ron in this team. He's a true racer, he's a true fighter, and he really has built this team up over the years.
“It's good for the team, good for Ron, that he has the chance to drive this team on again.
“Everyone here is excited about the challenge of 2014 with Ron in charge.”
McLaren are looking to improve after a disappointing 2013 campaign, which ended with Button claiming their best result of the season, a fourth place, in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Button will be partnered at the team this season by Danish rookie Kevin Magnusson with the car set to be tested for first time at Jerez from next Tuesday.
Neale, a long-standing member of the McLaren organization, expects Dennis's passion for the sport to drive the team to renewed success.
“For those who know Ron, he is as fired up as he ever has been, and more passionate now than ever,” Neale said.
“He's excited about the changes ahead of us. He is very operational with us in the business, and he has a very strong vision about the brand, the values.
“It's not just about making sure McLaren is totally focused on winning, but there is that way McLaren go about things.
“If ever there was somebody who had a very strong vision, and a sense of true north, and how it is to win in Formula One and why that's important, then he's got it in spades, so it's exciting times.”
Meanwhile, Lotus on Friday named co-chairman, Gerard Lopez, as team principal to replace Boullier.
“Lotus F1 Team has never stood still and we head into what promises to be an exciting 2014 season with an innovative new car, new partners and a new management structure,” said Lopez.