Currently reading: McLaren: 'We can emulate Ferrari'
Ron Dennis looks to emulate Ferrari's success with road car project

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has revealed that a desire to emulate Ferrari's success is behind his company's decision to build road cars.

Speaking at the Autosport Awards, Dennis conceded that the decision to build McLaren road cars has led to the impending end of the team's exclusive F1 deal with Mercedes, but he insisted the long-term gains will justify the deal.

See Autocar's exclusive McLaren MP4-12C picture gallery

See Autocar's exclusive McLaren MP4-12C video

"It is really a development of the brand," said Dennis, who was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the award ceremony.

"We have had some great partners - and I have to mention Mercedes-Benz. They have been phenomenally strong partners of us, and there was a time when we had to think hard and long 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 plough 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."

Dennis also dimissed suggestions he could return to the race team next season, insisting his sole focus is now on McLaren's road car division.

"No. No. No," he said when asked about an F1 comeback. "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."

McLaren plans to build a range of sportscars over the next few years - with the MP4-12C due to be the first of the new range.

McLaren MP4-12C links:

See Autocar's exclusive McLaren MP4-12C picture gallery

Download the McLaren MP4-12C wallpaper picture

See Autocar's exclusive McLaren MP4-12C video

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Chas Hallett blog - inside the McLaren MP4-12C

Twitter - follow all the latest McLaren reviews, news and video

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Chunkster 10 December 2009

Re: McLaren: 'We can emulate Ferrari'

Yes, in total agreement with TStag.

The only gripe I have with the MP4-12C is that the interior dials, gauges, and air-con controls look like they came from Swatch when they should really have come from Richard Mille. They are very shiny and plasticky. I hope the finished product would look better.

TStag 8 December 2009

Re: McLaren: 'We can emulate Ferrari'

Ultimatley I think this is all about consistency and doing things differenlyt, and not one about one model. IF Mclaren are true to their word and deliver the levels of customer care they are talking about alongside consistently good models then Ferrari will have to be on their game.

Ferrari can't afford to make a bad car now that Mclaren are putting their oar in. Mclaren will make genuinely bespoke cars and so the likes of Aston will need to dump the Volvo sat nav systems and Lambo their VW parts. Mclaren will force Ferrari to keep making good cars and so the bar is about to be raised.

The question is not will Mclaren catch Ferrari. They will. The question is can the likes of Lamborgini and Aston respond to a power war from the F1 big guns.

Vertigo 8 December 2009

Re: McLaren: 'We can emulate Ferrari'

Well, they're certainly making a good start. The spare-no-expense attitude towards the MP4-12C reminds me of how Lamborghini was started, and look where they are today.

(Okay, so Lamborghini went bust 15 years in, but that was due to the one-two punch of Feruccio's tractor business going tits-up and forcing the big man to cut his assets, followed by six years of horrendous mismanagement from Automobili Lamborghini's subsequent owners. The company was doing pretty damn well before Feruccio backed out.)