Ron Dennis has announced that he will step down as the team principal of Formula One team McLaren from March 1, meaning that Lewis Hamilton's championship winning season in 2008 was his last. It's a role that he has held since taking control of the team in 1981.
The shock announcement came as McLaren launched its radical 2009 challenger for the Formula One championship. The announcement took place at McLaren's headquarters, Paragon, in Woking, Surrey. His long-serving deputy, Martin Whitmarsh, (who has been groomed for the role for years) takes over, but Dennis, who is one of the best-known figures in the sport, insisted he was not retiring and would remain intimately involved with the team.
Dennis will retain his role as executive chairman of the McLaren Group.