McLaren boss Ron Dennis has no doubts his company is doing the right thing in pursuing its road car ambitions, even though that decision proved a catalyst for Mercedes-Benz to switch its focus to Brawn.
Dennis is heading up McLaren's plans to build a range of road-going sports cars over the next few years, with the MP4-12C due to be the first of the new models. Although the expansion of the road car business has been suggested as a key reason why Mercedes-Benz chose to end its exclusive deal with McLaren and instead take over Brawn, Dennis is adamant the move is to the ultimate benefit of his company.
"It is really a development of the brand," said Dennis as he collected a lifetime achievement award at the AUTOSPORT Awards in London. "We have had some great partners – and I have to mention Mercedes-Benz. They have been phenomenally strong partners for us, and there was a time when we had to think long and hard about what was the right thing for McLaren.
"When I look at the achievements of Ferrari and what we intend for McLaren, it is absolutely categorically the right thing for us to plow our own furrow. It is a win-win situation for everyone. I am delighted for Brawn and the Mercedes GP team of the future and, at the end of the day, we were extremely supportive of solving the problems with Brawn.
"It is the way we have always been in F1. We make decisions for the benefit of F1, most of the time, if not all the time. I have had ups and downs in my career and I accept that being the boss you have to take the responsibility sometimes for things that are not always in your own mind your responsibility. But nevertheless that is part of being a boss and that is what I have had to do."
Dennis also dismissed any talk of him returning to a role within McLaren's F1 teams. "No. No. No," he said when asked about the possibility of coming back to F1. "My role in active F1 is definitely over. I will go to some grands prix, because I love it. My brain is in McLaren but my heart is in motor racing, so I will definitely be at some grands prix. But it will not be on the pit wall and not as anything other than a spectator.
"At the end of the day I live and breath for McLaren, and that is never going to change."