Lewis Hamilton, who under Ron Dennis' wing rose from a ten-year old boy karter to reigning world champion, learned only minutes before the rest of the world that the McLaren team boss is stepping aside.

Lewis Hamilton, who under Ron Dennis' wing rose from a ten-year old boy karter to reigning world champion, learned only minutes before the rest of the world that the McLaren team boss is stepping aside.

Dennis, 61, announced to international media at his team's Woking headquarters last Friday that he will hand over the role of team principal on March 1 to his long-time deputy Martin Whitmarsh.

"I only heard Ron was standing down a couple of minutes before he announced his decision," 24-year-old Hamilton is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

The newspaper said the fact is evidence that the relationship between the pair is not the same as it was before an incident involving his then teammate Fernando Alonso in the summer of 2007.

Briton Hamilton, however, lauded Dennis at the launch of the 2009 contender, the MP4-24, crediting his entire career to the McLaren chairman.

But he insists that, while Dennis retains the controls of the McLaren organisation overall, the grand prix team will not suffer without him at the helm.

"The team have never been just Ron, as he says himself," Hamilton said.

"The foundations are here for the team to have a sustained period of dominance," he added.

Dennis, meanwhile, revealed that Hamilton's title triumph last year was a factor in his decision to call it a day.

"Lewis winning the championship made the decision easier but it was not the catalyst," he emphasised.

 

 

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