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September 20, 2007

More on Alonso & McLaren

Filed under: Formula One — admin @ 10:37 am

A few days ago, I noted that Alonso’s threatening of his team boss was a grave misjudgement on Alonso’s part. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about McLaren (and, in particular, Ron Dennis) would know before they started that it was a futile and ultimately pointless effort by Alonso.

It now seems that Alonso and Dennis are no longer on speaking terms; indeed, they haven’t been since the Hungary debacle (when Alonso was found guilty of impeding team mate Hamilton during final qualifying, thereby ensuring Hamilton couldn’t get another lap in and leaving Alonso free to run to pole position) back in August.

Historically, when a team boss and driver are no longer speaking it doesn’t bode well for the relationship. Think of Prost and Alesi in 2001.

So where does that leave the Alonso/McLaren relationship? Can they continue after this? I think it highly unlikely. The facts, as they have recently emerged, are:

  • Alonso did threaten his team boss.
  • Alonso felt his status as World Champion should mean McLaren focussed their efforts on him, to the detriment of his team mate. Ron Dennis disagreed.
  • Ron Dennis demonstrated his integrity by going straight to the FIA as soon as he had knowledge of the extra evidence Alonso threatened him with (thereby effectively calling Alonso’s bluff).
  • When asked by the team to attend the FIA hearing in September, Alonso refused, prompting Ron Dennis to label him “…a remarkable recluse for a driver.”
  • Alonso was in possession of crucial evidence in the ‘spygate’ scandal yet didn’t notify Ron Dennis immediately.

The last point is also true of Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren’s test driver. I wouldn’t be surprised if, as a result, de la Rosa was shown the door.

Also questionable is how much effort the team are now prepared to put into engineering Alonso to a championship: he’s already proved he thinks he’s above the team, we’ve had revelations that he’s offered money (out of his own pocket) to his mechanics to ensure he beats Hamilton, so surely he can’t expect any preferential treatment now?

It all smacks somewhat of an insecure driver who has been rattled by a rookie.

So all this leaves the burning question: will Alonso be sitting in a McLaren next year?

My guess is that he won’t. He’ll either go back to Renault (who have failed to maintain their competitiveness since Alonso departed) or he’ll sign for Ferrari.

How better to poke Ron Dennis in the eye one last time?

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