Putting it in context Ron hadn't won a wcc in more than a decade and only won one wcc in almost his last two decades of leadership at McLaren and at the end in 2009 he was no longer a force. I would say that If McLaren wins this season most of the credit certainly will have to go to Whitmarsh as this season is all about the car which Whitmarsh has apparently delivered in spades long before the Dennis coup d'etat.
First of all, it's never 'all about the car'. If it were, how do you explain Ferrari winning the WCC in 2008, but losing the WDC to Lewis? or the disparity between Webber and Vettel? It's about the entire team performing as unit, and maximizing the opportunities they get.
You're right though. Ron Dennis hadn't won a WCC in more than a decade, but if you're going to put it in context, at least be fair about it.
Let's list Ron's accomplishments at McLaren/ Project 4
1. Pioneered the use of the carbon fiber tub
2. Successfully merged 2 small privateer teams into a world-class engineering organization
3. Oversaw 4 hugely successful road car projects as group CEO
4. Under his leadership, 5 different drivers have become WDC
Granted, as you rightly pointed out, that success trailed off in the later years. However, in terms of professional success, Whitmarsh isn't even in the same class.
But that's not my point.
My point is that Whitmarsh, in my opinion, doesn't have the right personality to be a top TP. He reminds me of Dr. Mario Theisson of BMW: the people management and technical skills are there, but lacking in leadership and too risk-adverse so that they don't go for the opportunity when it presents itself. Granted, both Theisson and Whitmarsh only had 1 chance (2008, and 2012 respectively), but when competing at the world-class level, most of the time, you're lucky to even get that.
In contrast, Brawn could be the prototypical F1 TP. In 2009, no one could have faulted Brawn for packing it in. Huge global recession, his manufacturer (and funding) pulled out of the sport, along with 2 other major manufacturers. You couldn't have picked a worse time to start a racing team, never mind a privately backed one. He knew the Honda chassis was special, so he put all his chips on the table. Don't have an engine? Get a deal done with Mercedes. Have no sponsors? No problem: fund the team out of your own pocket till you can get some help. Other teams pass you in the development race? Don't have the money to compete? Back your better driver early on, and strategize to maximize his point haul per weekend. The result? 2009 WDC and WCC.
That being said, I'm curious as to where he will end up. He has way too much talent for McLaren to let him go. I could see him heading a technical department or something similar.