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Ron gets a gong

MCLAREN Formula 1 boss Ron Dennis has finally been rewarded for his services to the motor racing industry with the announcement that he has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. The CBE is the top award beneath a knighthood and in the past only three other racing names have been recognized with the award: John Cooper of the Cooper Car Company, Robin Herd of March and Frank Williams.

Under Dennis's management McLaren has won a string of World Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The company is a big earner of export income for Britain.

The announcement means that while team owners Sir Frank Williams and Dennis have been recognized for their achievements, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Max Mosley have been overlooked for their services to the sport. There is no doubt that Ecclestone has done enough to justify an award but the scandal at the end of 1998 over Ecclestone's political donations will probably mean that such an award would be impossible, at least as long as Tony Blair's government (which decides on honours) is still in power.

While old-fashioned titles may not seem to be very relevant in the modern age, the award to Dennis is further recognition of the importance of the motor racing industry in Britain.

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