Ron Dennis Five facts on McLaren boss' Formula One legacy

AFP Sports looks at four of the world champions produced during Ron's tenure.

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Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, seen in 1988, won three world and 35 Grand Prix titles for Mclaren play

Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, seen in 1988, won three world and 35 Grand Prix titles for Mclaren

(AFP/File)
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Ron Dennis's 35-year tenure as boss of McLaren Formula One team may have ended acrimoniously on Tuesday but under his stewardship the team enjoyed huge success.

AFP Sports looks at four of the world champions produced during his tenure and how the 69-year-old Englishman would like to be remembered:

Ayrton Senna

The remarkable Brazilian won three world titles and 35 Grand Prix for McLaren before leaving for Williams in 1994 and it was in just his third race for them that the 34-year-old was tragically killed.

Dennis prefers to keep his counsel about that day but told the team website a few years ago how he would recall Senna.

"He's remembered because he was just so unbelievably competitive," Dennis said.

"He was great, but he had good, human values. He had a few lapses in his life, but he was incredibly principled. And he was a good human being."

Niki Lauda

Austrian Formula One driver Niki Lauda gestures in the pitts during the Monaco Grand Prix in may 1979 play

Austrian Formula One driver Niki Lauda gestures in the pitts during the Monaco Grand Prix in may 1979

(AFP/File)

Austrian driving legend who had returned to the track despite suffering serious burns in an accident.

However, he walked away in 1979 to set up his airline but Dennis used some remarkable powers of persuasion to coax him back to the circuit after a three year hiatus.

It was well worth it as Lauda edged out team-mate Alain Prost for a fairytale 1984 world title.

Lauda also taught Dennis something.

"The thing about Niki was that he brought a mental and physical discipline to the job of being a driver that few other drivers had in those days," Dennis told Motorsportmagazine.com in 2012.

"He taught me, indirectly by observation, how to get an edge by being always totally focused."

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy on the podium after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 13, 2016 play

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy on the podium after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 13, 2016

(AFP/File)

The British tyro won the title in thrilling fashion in 2008 aged just 23 and Dennis must have thought it was the start of a new Senna-like era.

However, he was disabused of this idea when Hamilton decamped to Mercedes.

Dennis never one to take what he sees as a slight well finally had a go at Hamilton on CNN last year.

"To win a world championship at his age was a remarkable achievement for him -- but it also has to be remembered that he had the car in which to do it. I don't think he ever appreciated how lucky he was."

Mika Hakkinen

World Formula One champion in 1998 and 1999, McLaren-Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen of Finland, watches a television monitor during the qualifying practice session of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix in Suzuka in 2000 play

World Formula One champion in 1998 and 1999, McLaren-Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen of Finland, watches a television monitor during the qualifying practice session of the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix in Suzuka in 2000

(AFP/File)

Not exactly charismatic off the track but the 'Flying Finn' was a thrilling driver and was rewarded for his boldness with two championships with McLaren in 1998 and 1999.

Indeed Dennis was moved a few years ago to say Hakkinen had given him his most memorable individual thrill in the sport as McLaren chief.

"I am told I was punching the air when Mika won at Spa in 2000, and I find that very easy to believe.

His truly unbelievable move (passing Michael Schumacher as both men were) lapping Ricardo (Zonta) will stay in my memory as long as I live. I would rank it as the all-time absolute pinnacle of overtaking manoeuvres," he told FormulaOne.com in May this year.

Dennis on how he wants to be remembered

Given his removal as head of McLaren, his answer to caranddriver.com in 2010 on how he would like to be remembered may well come true.

"What do I want written on my tombstone? 'Ron Dennis, 1947 to so-and-so, one of the world's great entrepreneurs' -nothing to do with motor racing."

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