Mercedes’ Norbert Haug has denied that the 30 per cent buyout of McLaren by the Kingdom of Bahrain will disrupt the formula one collaboration’s preparation for the ’07 season.
It is being widely reported that the news, although formally supported by Mercedes-Benz parent and fellow shareholder DaimlerChrysler, scuppers the German carmaker’s speculated plans to buy the Woking based F1 team outright.
Mercedes still owns 40 per cent of McLaren; the largest share.
“With our partners we are completely concentrated on achieving success in the new F1 season,” Haug, Mercedes vice president and competition director, told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst.
The bombshell news, however, has already sparked rumours that Ron Dennis’ decision to sell half of his McLaren shares is the first stage of the 59-year-old Briton’s plan to retire.
Dennis has already handed over much of the day-to-day running of McLaren to chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, and said recently: “Most people’s perception of retirement is that you stop working.
“My perception of retirement is completely different,” Dennis added. “It will be a slow process of disengagement but not a switch.
“I don’t want to quit as a loser.”