http://www.pitpass. com/fes_php/ pitpass_news_ item.php? fes_art_id= 36826
Employees at the McLaren factory in Woking are reported to be in shock following a legal case involving team boss Ron Dennis.
The Englishman was accused of homophobia by a former employee who later withdrew his claim resulting in the case being dismissed. The man, who had been employed as an air steward on Dennis' private jet, subsequently apologised "unreservedly" for making "unfounded" allegations.
However, back at the team's Woking HQ, staff remain distraught claiming that the recent case has caused them great hurt and embarrassment, especially within F1 circles where McLaren is widely regarded as the gayest team in the pitlane. Hearing that the case was at an end, many workers downed tools and headed to the local pub, the Fireman's Helmet.
As Village People blasted out of the juke-box, Peter, a charge hand, who preferred not to give his real name, told Pitpass; "How could anyone accuse Ron of being like that, it's bloody outrageous.
"Homophobic, bloody homophobic" he shouted, his fist clenched tight, too tight for our liking, "do you think a man who was homophobic would sanction the sort of pit gear that we have to wear?"
Meanwhile over at the Blue Oyster Bar, landlord Everard O'Toole was nursing a sore head, having overseen the riotous lunchtime celebration of what would have been Cecil Beaton's 105th birthday. Despite the outward flamboyance, Everard visibly tightens up when asked about the McLaren case.
"They're lovely boys," he finally gushes. "We get most of them in here at some time or another, we've even got a special booth for Mr Dennis and Mr Whitmarsh.
"They come in here regular," he reveals, "and not just for the Singalonga Judy nights. In fact, it's usually round about this time of year when they come in and start doing the designs for their team wear.
"They're a right pair," he continues, smiling, "sitting up there working away with their artist pads and magic markers. Makes us feel quite proud when we watch the Grand Pricks (sic) on TV and see those lovely mechanics in their tight shirts and trousers and little Lewis in those shiny overalls. It's hard to believe that Ron and Marty did all that in here.
"Remember those overalls a couple of years back, black and a hint of reddish-orange, " Everard continues after a meaningful pause. "They designed those in here, we've still got the original sketches in here somewhere.
"When they showed them around the bar there were cries of 'bona' and 'varda the lallies', though it's a pity they didn't take my advice and have an orange hankie hanging out the back pocket.
"Then again," he continues, they did take my advice on the pictures for their footwear range, doesn't that Heikki look lovely, beautiful guns."
Preparing for the evening's highly popular Mama Mia karaoke night, Everard refuses to talk about the court case, however, he is quick to defend Dennis, "lovely guy," he enthuses, "nanti riah, and a strange way of talking, but a bona guy all the same."
Although fully aware that Dennis would be unlikely to talk about the case having already issued a formal statement, we nonetheless went to McLaren's HQ in the hope of learning more. Walking through the vast ultra-modern building, past the Senna Suite, Hamilton Hall and the Liberace Lounge, we were shown to the Prost Parlour where we were served afternoon tea. Sadly, as we bit into our second cucumber sandwich, a spokeswoman informed us that the team was unwilling to speak to us at this time, especially with the launch of the 2009 car just a couple of days away.
As we left, we walked past an enormous mahogany door bearing a nameplate which read simply 'Ron Dennis - Boss of Bosses', above the doorway was the legend, 'abandon hope all ye who enter here'.
From behind the door we could hear laughter, it sounded like Martin Whitmarsh; "you're joking Ronnie," he said, "you'll never get them to wear those!"
At which point the music began... it sounded like Dancing Queen.