Ron Dennis wins Lifetime Achievement Award

1st May 2009

McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis CBE was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sport Industry Awards 2009 on 30th April in London in front of a packed house of industry executives and sport and entertainment celebrities.

Ron Dennis, whose career in motor racing spans over 40 years, received his award on stage from two of his former drivers and world champion winners Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen.

In accepting his Award, Ron said:

“My involvement in Formula 1 motor racing began in 1966 - and, over the intervening 43 years, it's been my abiding passion.

“In that time I've worked alongside some of the greatest racing drivers in the history of the sport, as well as a large number of enormously talented and extremely hard-working individuals. I regard my interaction with all of them as a privilege - for, although it's the virtuoso performances of great racing drivers that inevitably attract all the attention, Formula 1 is above all a team endeavour. The winning is done as much by the unsung heroes as by the superstars.

“So, as far as McLaren is concerned, the word 'team' hardly suffices; I prefer the term 'family'. And, together with the many talented and hard-working individuals who have made up or still make up the McLaren family, I've been involved in the accruing of 138 grand prix wins, 10 Drivers' World Championships and seven Constructors' World Championships.

“It's particularly appropriate that those achievements should be recognised at this time, because it's only two weeks since I decided to bring my involvement in Formula 1 to a close. I did so in order to focus on opening a new chapter in McLaren's history: the McLaren Automotive chapter.

“Martin Whitmarsh, my friend and colleague for the past 20-odd years, will now take on the leadership of McLaren's Formula 1 programme, leaving me with the time to devote my energies to developing McLaren Automotive into the powerhouse of world-class engineering innovation that any company carrying the brand name 'McLaren' must always be.

“It's a challenge I intend to embrace with all the passion that, these past 43 years, I've devoted to Formula 1.

“Thank you.”

Alain Prost, who won three of his four world championship titles as a McLaren driver, added:

“Ron has been a pivotal and inspirational figure in my professional career and my three World Championship titles during my time at McLaren were as much to do with his passion and determination as any other factor. This Lifetime Achievement Award is just recognition for a man who has dedicated his life to motor racing and, without whom, the Formula One paddock would have been a poorer place.”

Said Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of the AT&T Williams team:

“I was honoured to be asked to comment on the award Ron is receiving tonight. Ron is a man of outstanding ability and in a class of his own in Formula One. Over the decades, he has demonstrated an ability to win consistently and indeed to do it with supreme elegance. He is infuriatingly good at what he does and I am delighted he is being honoured in this manner this evening.”

Commented Murray Walker, F1 broadcasting legend:

“Ron is Britain`s Enzo Ferrari and that`s the highest compliment I can give because no one, can come close to what he’s achieved for motor sport in Britain. He will say it’s a team effort. I would say he led and others followed.”

Previous winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton in 2008; Vic Wakeling, Managing Director, Sky Sports (2007); and Bernie Ecclestone, President, Formula One Management (2006).