Ron Dennis will not leave McLaren voluntarily until they win again, former BAR boss Dave Richards has told the F1 Report.
Dennis is being linked with an exit from the racing side of the Woking squad this winter but Richards cannot see him leaving “unless he decides to go”.
McLaren have not won a race since the end of 2012 in Brazil and Dennis returned to the helm in 2014 after a barren year in which they failed to claim a podium.
“They’ve made a lot of changes recently, brought in a lot of good people now, they’ve got all the ingredients, I cannot imagine Ron stepping down until he sees that team winning again,” said Richards.
“And that will be the right time to do it.”
A number of names have been mentioned in respect of taking over the racing side of the McLaren business, but one man Richards does not expect to see arrive is former team principal and long-term lieutenant of Dennis, Martin Whitmarsh.
“No way. Martin is well established with the America’s Cup BAR Racing. I can’t imagine him ever wanting to come back to Formula 1,” he added.
Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley believes the team would benefit from change, but also thinks the loss of Dennis could destabilise them.
“I think he is both brilliant and perhaps one of the reasons McLaren struggled to move forwards,” Priestley said.
“We’ve looked over the years where McLaren have had a blank car with a lack of sponsors and maybe that is because Ron is so adamant and so set in his ways that he won’t reduce the price – he harks back to the tobacco era when you could ask whatever you wanted for a sticker on the side of the car.
“I think the team needs change, it has had change over the last couple of years and I think it is moving forwards in a pretty good direction at the moment.
“I think when Ron stepped away last time the team suffered because when Ron is in the team the standards are raised. I have huge respect for Martin Whitmarsh, but when he stepped in I think standards subconsciously dropped a little bit.
“That is no disrespect to Martin, but I think Ron demands an incredible level of respect throughout the team and the team would take a while to get used to it if he does go.”