Current world champion Fernando Alonso has confirmed that he does not feel totally comfortable at McLaren. Alonso switched teams at the end of 2006 from Renault to McLaren, and was joined by British rookie, Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton has outshone his team mate at many of the races with the media focusing on the new boy rather than the world champion. Many have speculated that this has caused a rift in the McLaren camp with Ron Dennis favouring the young star over the Spaniard.
“Well, right from the start I have never felt totally comfortable,” Alonso explained in a radio interview. “I have a British team mate in a British team and he is doing a great job and we know that all the support and help is going to him and I understood that from the beginning. But I am not complaining. I have won two races out of six and I have finished on the podium four times and I have those 40 points that will allow me to fight for the title in the end.”
Referring to some British newspaper headlines, he responded, “I am totally indifferent to that. Those are the same journalists and newspapers that, if the safety car had come out on lap 23 instead of lap 24, when Hamilton didn’t have enough fuel for another lap, would have not been able to say anything. The Spanish press has more respect than the British one.”
Alonso claims he is staying calm, although many would question this after a flurry of uncharacteristics mistakes during the Canadian Grand Prix. “I am calm, I am fine,” Alonso explained. “But I know there is a certain impatience to return to the top and dominate. But I am second in the championship – I am eight points behing. I would be worse if I were at Renault, or Honda, or any other team. At the moment, I am where I expected to be and with a clear chance of winning the title in Brazil, and not now, in the sixth race.”
Meanwhile, in what looks like a damage limitation exercise against some of Alonso’s remarks, Ron Dennis has spoken out saying that there was no favouritsm in the team. “It is completely understandanle that the results of each Grand Prix are going to provide both the British and Spanish media with an opportunity to hang on every word that the drivers say. And sometimes quotes are taken out of context which can put a completely different spin on an innocent remark.
“The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is made up by extremely passionate and competitive people and there is a healthy competition between the teams working on each car – this is inevitable and there is no issue with that. However I can catergorically state, once again, that both drivers have equal equipment, equal support and equal opportunity to win within the team and both Fernando and Lewis know and support this.
“Fernando’s comments when read carefully are correct – he has not been with the team long and the relationship can only continue to develop. The team is not going to do anything to jeopardise this positive and growing partnership.”