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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Reaction On Alonso's Move

The reaction to the shock announcement keeps on coming. Not long after the announcement, former McLaren driver Martin Brundle of ITV called it a coup for McLaren. His reaction was very similar to that just recently made by also former McLaren driver, Niki Lauda except the tone adopted by both were vastly different.

Martin Brundle hails it as a triumph for McLaren, which it really is. For many reasons, including destablising the competition, putting McLaren in a better frame for their negotiations with Kimi and the bragging rights of having a world champion (or potentially two by 2007) in their fold. However, Niki Lauda thinks that ultimately the timing of the announcement is bad for both incumbent McLaren drivers Raikkonen and Montoya and for Alonso as well. "Montoya now has to perform in the knowledge that he is only McLaren's third choice," says Niki.

Briatore meanwhile is protesting his innocence, claiming he had no knowledge of the transaction. In which case, people are asking, should he be able to claim a cut of Alonso's McLaren income? But if he did know about the whole affair, the wouldn't it have been a conflict of interest as he is simultaneously the CEO of Renault F1 and Alonso's manager?

People suspect there's more than meets the eyes and indeed, now we have Bernie absolutely livid at the news. To quote Bernie: "I know how things have gone, but I cannot reveal the details. On top of that Ron Dennis is Briatore's worst enemy, he spited him by exposing things publicly in order to make it difficult for him."

We must wonder what were those details that he could not reveal. And when he says he knew how things have gone, did he have foreknowledge of Monday's announcement?

My theory is, firstly, its no secret that Bernie and Flav are good mates. And for sure, Bernie is out to defend his mate.

Secondly, I think Bernie likes to "arrange" things in Formula 1. Looking back in time, it was Bernie who arranged Jacques Villeneuve Formula 1 debut with Williams, Mansell's 1994 Williams comeback and arranging Mansell to go to McLaren in his ill-fated 1995 season. This is wild speculation but I'm guessing he wanted Alonso to stay with Renault or at least with Briatore. Perhaps he could then have Flav arrange for Alonso to stay in "his" Formula 1. But now, Mr Dennis has totally buggered that plan, Alonso is with a GPMA team and Bernie is pissed.

Third, Ron Dennis really couldn't give a flying fig about Bernie's plans after all the crap Bernie himself threw at him in the late nineties. Basically, Bernie suckered both Ron Dennis and Frank Williams over their share of the proceeds from the sale to Kirsch. (Read the article entitled: Following Formula 1's Money Trail)

In the aftermath of the Alonso shock, Bernie proclaims that Kimi is certainly off to Ferrari, at least once Michael Schumacher leaves. However, he states that Michael's retirement is not assured but he feels that Michael will not be driving any other car. If Michael stays put, Bernie says that Kimi may be off to Renault!

More reaction to Alonso's move on PlanetF1 and Formula 1 blog.

Significantly it seems, McLaren today have signed Gary Paffet, this year's DTM champion to be a test driver. Now Gary is a serious driver with the endorsement of none other than Mika Hakkinen himself. Both drove for Mercedes in the DTM this year. Of course, Gary makes no secret that he wants a race seat. McLaren I think are covering all their bases nicely. If both Montoya and Raikkonen leaves in 2006 for whatever reason, there's not going to be any shortage of capable drivers ready to take their place.

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