Ecclestone stands up for McLaren boss Dennis
By Alan Baldwin
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has spoken out in support of Ron Dennis amid continuing speculation that shareholders are seeking to replace the McLaren boss.
"If I was going to run a team I’d like to have Ron with me," the Briton told Reuters at the U.S. Grand Prix, which Dennis attended 50 years on from his first involvement at a race weekend.
"I think he does a good job. Anyone that chucks him out is stupid. He’s dedicated. I think we ought to try and support him so they don’t get rid of him," added Ecclestone, who will turn 86 in Mexico next Sunday.
"It would be a shame to see him go. He’s one of the good old timers."
Britain's autosport.com website said in an unsourced report last week that Dennis, 69, would be leaving as McLaren chairman and chief executive at the end of the year when his contract expired.
A McLaren spokesman said in response that Dennis, who attended his first Formula One race as a Cooper mechanic in Mexico in 1966, had stated "categorically" that he is not stepping down.
"Moreover, he remains contracted as chairman and chief executive officer of McLaren Technology Group and he retains a 25 percent shareholding -- exactly equal to that of (Saudi-born business partner) Mansour Ojjeh."