I couldn’t write about this before, I couldn’t order my thoughts, I was angry and upset. I thought I would wait a day or two before putting something together but many days later I was still confused and my head muddled. Then I realised. I was experiencing the classic stages of grief.
The denial phase for me began long before the actual announcement of Ron’s leaving. In the weeks before there had been much speculation of his exit, as inevitable as it seemed there was no way it was ever going to happen. Ever. I mean they couldn’t do that. No one could oust Ron. He is McLaren. All of the media are wrong. ALL of them. Never mind the fact that he’s fallen out with all the shareholders and failed at an attempted take over bid with the Chinese, that doesn’t mean anything, they’ll work it out.
The anger hit as soon as I saw the breaking news. I still struggle to express myself on this, but I think many McLaren fans felt the same way as I did. Like they had just stolen away something we had believed in for decades. That without Ron, McLaren would just be an empty shell of a race team, robbed of its heart. I was angry reading Ron’s angry statement, I was angry reading McLaren’s lacklustre statement and then I was inexplicably angry at Zak Brown. How dare he be celebratory in this time of anger. I’m not ready to celebrate the fact that you’ll be very good for the team yet, I’m still angry.
I’m not really in any position to be bargaining for Ron Dennis’ career, but I definitely did more than my fair share of looking back and thinking “what if…?” Going back and reading through the history of each business deal made within McLaren. At what point did Ron give people the power to kick him out of running his own company etc etc. Obviously a total waste of time, but me sitting quietly reading for hours definitely gave my friends and family a break from my constant angry ranting about how much McLaren will rue the day they messed with Ron.
After there was nothing left for me to read and I had asked every “What if?” question I could think of I hit the depression (although to be honest it’s still intertwined with the anger). I stopped caring about the upcoming nail biting, title deciding finale, I wasn’t even sure I could support McLaren anymore. I started going through in my head who I could support next year, sure there’s loads of drivers I love, but no one that I love with the same unwavering belief as I used to have in McLaren; but if I don’t love them anymore what is the point in watching formula one, or any motor racing at all in fact (except WEC and maybe WRC if I can get over the despair of Volkswagen’s departure and Andreas Mikkelsen gets a good drive next year). A life without motorsport! This is unspeakable. McLaren how could you do this to me!?
I haven’t quite reached this phase yet. I don’t think I will ever accept the decision to get rid of Ron and I’ve never really experienced a stable set of emotions when it comes to McLaren anyway, so maybe I’m expecting too much from this whole “acceptance” thing; however I am beginning to be accepting of some new and positive change and will wait and see what the future holds, although since that’s Stoffel Vandoorne and McLaren 650S GT3s x 4 with the brilliant Strakka Racing in the Blancpain GT series it’s probably going to be pretty exciting.