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McLaren boss Dennis says he is not stepping down

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Chairman and CEO of McLaren Formula One team Ron Dennis signs autographs at the first practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone/files
Chairman and CEO of McLaren Formula One team Ron Dennis signs autographs at the first practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone/files

By Alan Baldwin

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - McLaren group head Ron Dennis said he was "categorically" not stepping down after a report on Wednesday suggested he would be leaving his role as chairman and chief executive at the end of the year.

The autosport.com website said Dennis, 69, would not have his current contract renewed when it expired.

It gave no source for the information but added that McLaren Automotive, the separately-constituted road car division, was not affected by any change of leadership at McLaren Technology Group.

"Ron Dennis responded by stating categorically that he is not stepping down," a McLaren spokesman said ahead of Sunday's U.S. Formula One Grand Prix at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.

"Moreover, he remains contracted as chairman and chief executive officer of McLaren Technology Group and he retains a 25 percent shareholding -- exactly equal to that of (Saudi-born Luxembourg-based business partner) Mansour Ojjeh."

Dennis, who started in Formula One in the 1960s and has been involved with McLaren since 1980, stood down as team boss in 2009 but returned as group chief executive in January 2014.

McLaren also changed their name in 2014 to McLaren Technology Group, incorporating the car company and applied technologies as well as the F1 team.

Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat agreed that same year to sell some of its 50 percent stake in McLaren to Dennis who was set to become the majority shareholder but there has been no confirmation of that happening.

"Over many years, many decades in fact, McLaren shareholders have often entered into dialogue on the subject of potential equity movements and realignments and Ron and Mansour have always been central to those discussions," said the spokesman.

"That is still the case. Their recent conversations can therefore be categorised as 'more of the same'."

He gave no further details.

McLaren, the sport's second most successful team historically, have not won a race since 2012 and have struggled on the track since they started a new partnership with Honda last season.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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