Ron Dennis: “I hope he does want to race in Malaysia”

t is rare for the Briton to make a mistake, and even rarer for him to admit to it, far less apologise. However, on the eve of the season opener – what promises to be a very difficult season for his team – Ron Dennis has made such an admission.

Talking to reporters ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, an event the team has won 11 times, most recently in 2012, Dennis was forced to admit that the hastily convened press conference in Barcelona, days after Alonso’s crash, was essentially b******s, and that he was being economical with the truth.

Whereas he claimed that Alonso had not been concussed and would be fit for this weekend, we now know the truth. As did the McLaren boss at the time, it would appear.

“It was not the best performance by me,” he said. “I understand why the press beat me up for being inaccurate. I wanted to be open honest. I failed. But it is my objective to try to be as honest as possible in future.

“There are a lot of complexities about concussion. It is difficult to quantify, and it goes beyond my area of expertise,” he admitted. “It is not my decision. But as far as I know Fernando will be in Malaysia. I have every reason to believe he will be there.

“I spoke to him on the way over here. He wants to race there. I hope he does, but it is his decision, not mine. We have a mountain to climb and we are in the process of climbing that mountain. We will get to where we want to be.”

Following his decision to return to the team and take the helm from Martin Whitmarsh, much was expected of the move following several years of poor results. However, since his return Dennis, who is seeking to get control of the team in the boardroom also, has never quite convinced, many believing that his attention is elsewhere… with the sports car division.

As he rightly says, McLaren has a mountain to climb, and its cause is not helped by such pointless distractions. Furthermore, his claim that Alonso will be at Sepang didn’t sound entirely convincing.