No one gives a pep talk quite like Ron Dennis and in today’s story at the Daily Telegraph, the anecdotal advice given to young McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen was ripe with the idiom of the newly returned Ron Dennis:
“A very wise old man went into his house and nailed to the celling was a pair of shoes,” Dennis told the 21-year-old. “I asked what they were for, and he said they were his son’s shoes. ’Every time he sees them it reminds him to keep his feet on the ground’, [the man said]. I will put some in your [Kevin’s] hotel room.”
Magnussen’s 2nd-place finish bested that of former McLaren phenom Lewis Hamilton’s debut and I suspect Ron wants to avoid the adulation and over-baked hype that the 2008 champion experienced with his entrance into F1.
Thanks to Magnussen and his veteran teammate, Jenson Button, McLaren leave Australia in the lead of the Constructor’s Championship. I sense that Magnussen has a level of maturity that will not need these “feet on the ground” talks because he has a dad who knows what happens when you don’t approach F1 with maturity and a focused goal. Kevin’s father, Jan, has stated that he was mature enough for the task of F1 when he entered but feels his certainly most certainly is and I would agree with that.
I wonder if Martin Whitmarsh has a pair of Ron’s shoes nailed to the ceiling of his office?