Long-serving McLaren boss Ron Dennis is set to step down from his position as chief of the British-based Formula One team, according to reports in the British press
Dennis, 60, was badly hurt by the fall-out from the 'spy scandal' that saw McLaren fined a record 50 million pounds and stripped of all their points in the 2007 Constructors' World Championship after they were found guilty of being in possession of 'leaked' technical information from Italian rivals Ferrari.
The McLaren principal put his personal credibility at stake when he told Formula One governing body the FIA that Ferrari information had not been widely shared throughout the team.
This was later proved to be incorrect although Dennis has been adamant in insiting he was telling the truth at the time as he knew it.
Monday's Guardian newspaper said Dennis would be replaced ahead of the opening 2008 Grand Prix in Australia on March 16 by Martin Whitmarsh, currently McLaren's chief executive, who has been with the team since 1989.
But the Sunday Times said Dennis might step down as early as this week.
On Thursday, senior figures at the team were interviewed by Italian investigators as part of the separate legal probe into the 'spygate' affair.
McLaren reacted furiously to suggestions Italian police had discovered incriminating evidence as a result of their latest investigation.
"McLaren Racing wishes to record its extreme displeasure with the wording of a statement that the Italian police are reported to have made yesterday (Thursday)," said a team statement issued on Friday.
"If those reports accurately reflect the police statement, the statement is grossly inaccurate and misleading.
"The reports incorrectly claim that the searches produced material which clearly shows the responsibility of certain people at McLaren Racing.
"In fact, the Italian police have not yet even been given access to any of the material taken, nor have they even started to review that material."
Dennis joined McLaren in 1980 since when the team, based in Woking, south-west of London, has won the drivers world championship nine times and the constructors title seven times.