News and views on motorsports

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Alonso's Ultimatum?

Now bear in mind how much the British press loves their prodigal son, Hamilton and it would seem to me in turn loves to paint Fernando Alonso in a bad light. Be that as it may, some serious allegations have been reported by both the Guardian and The Times, that none other than Fernando Alonso, threatened to leak information prejudicial to McLaren, to the FIA. Ron Dennis, who doesn't take shite from no one, called his bluff apparently and phoned Max Mosley directly. If true, I think its such a shameful act from an otherwise talented driver.

I take you back to 1986 when Ayrton Senna was in his second season with the Lotus team. Derek Warwick was slated to join him at Lotus but Ayrton apparently vetoed that decision, to which the team deferred to and put Johnny Dumfries in the second seat. Now, the British press likes to harp on that. However, the difference between that situation and the one facing Alonso today is that the Lotus team simply could not and did not have the resources to give both drivers equal opportunity at the championship. Ayrton knew this and quickly nipped it in the bud. Alas, despite this Lotus or should I say Renault still could not give him a car / engine to win the title. By contrast, at McLaren and later Williams, Aryton really couldn't be bothered who his teammate was for he knew he'd blow anyone out of the water.

Fast forward to 2007. McLaren is a team that can provide equal treatment for both its drivers. Frankly speaking I still rate Alonso's driving ahead of Hamilton but Alonso's attitude thus far has not put him in good stead. It seems to me that he's pressuring himself for nothing and on top of that demands special treatment. Despite Michael Schumacher's achievements, I've always looked upon his favourable treatment by Ferrari as a blemish. Why does Alonso want to do the same? How could he have allowed his confidence to be so dented that he resorts to throwing the toys out of the pram?

If these allegations are true then, I have certainly lost respect for the man. I mean, whatever happens, you do not threaten your team in that manner. It reeks of disloyalty. In fact it shows an utter lack of class.

Ron Dennis must have been in a really tight pickle. Perhaps being proud, he simply called the bluff. The consequence of which now is a ban on the constructor's championship and a USD100m fine. Some say thats offset by the USD30m or so McLaren would receive from FOM. But still thats a USD100m total that will be missing from the coffers. And that folks is not hay. Its a serious dent on McLaren's finances. One that threatens not only the competitiveness of its cars but I would imagine with all that debt carried from the building of its new Technology Centre, a serious blow to its status as a going concern.

I think that the punishment is way in excess of the crime. If you can really call it a crime in the first place. Whatever it may be its a helluva way to play poker, Ron. I know Ron Dennis is a man of integrity but at what cost?

I sincerely hope all these allegations aren't true. I really do. I think I shall not be the only Alonso fan who would be terribly disappointed by such behaviour. Hard charger on the track is fine. Tough racer on the track, brilliant. But threats of this nature and the demands for leading status, I cannot agree with.


Don Speekingleesh said...

I still believe Alonso was not looking for special treatment, but equal treatment, which he felt (rightly or wrongly) he wasn't getting.
If this broke over the Hungarian weekend then it's clear Hamilton got away with getting the team into trouble - which incensed Alonso enough to make the threat (which he didn't follow through on).

Francisco said...

I think the real point is McLaren's espionage.

British media finds it very difficult to admit these sort of things. They try to divert the attention talking about Ferrari, about Fernando alondo, about Toyota and Honda...

It is the same pattern as to Madeleine McCann's case. I really feel sorry about what the Portuguese have had to listen and read in the British media.

Clive said...

Good to see you back, Qwerty. Only just discovered your latest - I thought Toyota had chased you away for good!

As for Alonso, like you, I am severely disappointed in the man, especially in the light of the WMSC transcripts that reveal he did indeed follow through on his threat. Still a great driver but a seriously flawed character.

Where have I heard that before...?