Ron Dennis has revealed McLaren could have pushed to retain Lewis Hamilton, but chose not to.
Hamilton this week started in earnest a three-year deal with Mercedes, ending his 14-year association with McLaren, the last six of which were in Formula One.
Dennis said: "I think it's wrong to portray that Lewis left this team.
"Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes.
"Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn't think so."