OCTOBER 30, 1995
Dennis - I was only joking
MCLAREN boss Ron Dennis told pressmen in Japan that stories which suggested that Roger Penske was buying shares in McLaren had been accurately reported - but that the whole story had actually been a joke between Dennis and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. According to Dennis they decided to play a trick on the rival team owners at a meeting at the Nurburgring and pretended that Roger Penske - who was present at the meeting - was taking a share of McLaren and would ultimately take over from Ecclestone as the boss of FOCA.
The only problem with this argument is that we heard the stories of a Penske involvement at McLaren before the FOCA meeting at the Nurburgring and it fails to explain why Dennis felt the need to scream at journalists in Aida when he could just have explained that the whole thing was actually a joke which had backfired on him. As a result, Ron's comments at Suzuka look like a rather clumsy attempt at damage limitation. Accepting the blame for the story is a great way to make people believe you but it has to be damaging to Dennis's credibility as people are beginning to ask how one knows when he is joking and when he is serious.
Ultimately, there is only one way in which the truth will emerge and that is with the passage of time.
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