On Sunday evening, Ron Dennis made no secret of his satisfaction, not just at the performance of Kevin Magnussen, but also of the whole McLaren team which earned second and third places after Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion.
The pit wall made some particularly good calls with Jenson Button, which helped the Brit to leapfrog up the order.
“The team was very structured, very focused, and made the right decisions in the right way,” he said when asked by this writer. “It’s good. We’re not here to come third, we’re here to win. We certainly won’t be satisfied until we win. The structure is maturing well, and we will win.”
Prior to Australia, Dennis said his role wouldn’t involve being on the pit wall. While he changed his mind, he said he wasn’t taking over from McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier.
“I wasn’t on the pit wall telling him what to do, I was really just trying to understand the strategy as it was being remodelled through the race. I’m a racer, so the thought of not understanding and contributing doesn’t come across my mind. It’s just, when you observe things, it’s good to say, ‘Why not this, why not that?’
“It’s a luxury not to have a role in the team, if you stand back, you can watch what’s going on. The thing is everybody is receptive to change, everybody knows we have to change, and when you change things you get better. The outcome of today was a really good team effort. They called the pit stops at the right time, they were agile with the safety car, stops were all well executed, tire utilization, fuel, everything was well executed.
“I’m pleased about the discipline of the team. Everyone knows what we have to do, and we’ve just got to get on and do it.”
Regarding the team’s potential he said: “We don’t have the pace yet, but these earlier races are when you can accumulate points. We have very clear milestones of input performance, we know when we can realistically expect to win races, don’t ask the question, I’m not going to tell you. You don’t arrive back where you want to be just overnight, it takes time.
“I’ll come to more than 10 [races], and less than 16, I don’t know where that will fit. Most of the reason I come to the races is either investors or shareholders, or meetings that need to be attended.”