Dennis the menace

That clean-shaven face, that spotless white shirt, the neatly combed hair (or whatever is left of it) and that straight face with a hint of a squint. Oh, and those carefully thought-through, cleverly-worded statements, or in F1 parlance – Ronspeak. Don’t you be fooled by any of that!

Behind all that’s propah is a mind that works as niftily as the new lightweight gearbox that McLaren ran at the Hungarian GP, albeit illegally. That’s Dennis for you. The naughty boy who constantly annoys our Mr. Wilson (FIA’s Max Mosley), with his repeated misadventures.

Notable among many, is the use of a ‘third pedal’ in the McLaren MP4 during the 1998 season. Thanks to providence Mika Hakkinen’s car ground to a halt in the Luxembourg GP right in front of a nosey F1 photographer, who promptly thrust his camera into the foot-well and got shutter happy. Soon it was clear to the world why only one of McLarens’ rear breaks was glowing while cornering.

The third pedal allowed drivers to operate either of the rear brakes independently of the others, giving them two additional means of controlling the car and improving the performance – by reducing either understeer or wheelspin depending on which wheel was braked and when.

Anyone as naughty would’ve got a spanking good enough to keep him awake in the night even during adulthood. However, like little Dennis, Ron Dennis too gets away easy. And the similarities don’t end there.

While Ron Dennis’ current life is governed by what Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso do, little Dennis’ life is the handiwork of Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand. The name of little Dennis’ city begins with a W (Wichita), just like Ron Dennis’ (Woking). The creator of little Dennis was made the honorary Mayor of his city. Our Ron Dennis was awarded the Order of the British Empire. Cute, no?


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