[Autoblog]McLaren F1 doesn't need to cheat to win, but for some reason they keep on doing it – cheating, that is. The team's most recent snafu is being called Liargate, and it has resulted in a McLaren sporting director being sacked, Lewis Hamilton talking of switching teams, Martin Whitmarsh fumbling to right the ship, and everyone expecting the FIA to sock McLaren with a scorching penalty.
The next act in the soap opera involves Ron Dennis. After 43 years in in the sport, the 61-year-old has just announced that he is exiting the company's racing operations, although he is reportedly adamant that the timing of his leaving the team is "purely coincidental." Buzz around the F1 campfire would indicate otherwise, with some suggesting that the move may be designed in part to curry favor with the FIA in hopes of showing the team some mercy during its hearing later this month.
Dennis isn't leaving the McLaren clan altogether, however. He will now work as executive chairman of McLaren automotive, which has been long rumored to be pursuing a new range of sports cars. The first model is still expected to arrive for 2011.
It is a regrettable way for Dennis to end four decades at the second winningest team in F1 history. However, in addition to trying to help the team avoid the FIA's wrath, the move is also expected to make Hamilton and his father much more amenable to remaining in the fold.