Saturday May 26th, 2001
By Alan Baldwin
McLaren boss Ron Dennis ruled himself out as a possible successor to Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday.
"I can't think of anything more boring than to try and run Formula One," he said at the Monaco Grand Prix after his driver David Coulthard qualified on pole for Sunday's race.
Dennis was answering questions about the possibility of an alternative Formula One series that major carmakers have threatened to set up. The 53-year-old Briton made clear that Formula One could not be run by a committee and needed a clear leader and decision-maker such as 70-year-old Ecclestone is and has been.
Ecclestone has sold 75 percent of his holding company SLEC, which has Formula One's commercial rights, to Germany's Kirch and EM.TV media groups but intends to carry on for some time to come and is in no hurry to retire.
"I can't see any sport or any entity run by a committee, there has to be a structure, a leader," Dennis said. "All have to be ultimately run by one person, committees don't do it. This is a far too dynamic a business."
Asked whether he might want to be such a man, Dennis replied: "The simple answer is no, and it really stems from my age and what gives me the enthusiasm to work hard. I don't think that power or even wealth is a particularly good motivator. It is for others but not for me. I do still harbour ambitions but not in that area."
He said he hated to be behind a desk and the "adrenalin rush of success and coping with failure" was more what drove him on.
Dennis said the threat of a rival championship was likely to lead to greater efforts to come up with a new solution to satisfy everybody than a new racing series.
"What is not going to suffer is Formula One," he said. "That is the important thing. We are not going to fight over a city and then stand over the rubble and the ruins of that city."
Dennis praised the Monaco marshals for their quick actions during Saturday's qualifying but was critical of the local authorities, although he said he was a big fan of the race. He said it was time Monaco did something about the sort of cramped conditions both in the pit lane and garages that would not be tolerated anywhere else.
"The pit lane is too narrow and we need some decent garages. There should be a plan for change, no matter how long it takes," he declared. "Why should other circuits have such tough conditions imposed on them and then Monaco gets a complete dispensation. It's not correct."
Dennis reiterated that McLaren would not be imposing team orders, with Coulthard only four points behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in the championship after six races. He suggested, however, that it permeated Ferrari's thinking and favoured world champion Schumacher.
"I don't think it is a case of bringing forward team orders," he said of Ferrari's action at the last race in Austria where Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was told to make way for Schumacher and did so on the last lap. "I think team orders prevail from the first race to the last".