Over the course of the season, there has been much speculation about the relationship between the two McLaren drivers. Publicly, the team has always said that the two drivers have a good working relationship, however after the weekend s debacle, it seems that the relationship is now sour.
Hamilton speaks out about team relationships
Hamilton has said that since Alonso was stripped of pole position, there has been a wall of silence between the two of them. “He doesn t seem to have been speaking to me since yesterday,â€ Hamilton remarked. “So I don t know if he has a problem.â€
After an expletive ridden transcript of the radio session between Dennis and Hamilton, it seemed all was not well in this relationship either. “With Ron, obviously yesterday he wasn t very happy,â€ Hamilton said. “We just had to be professional and sat down and spoke about it and I told him my views. He respected those and said OK, I respect that because it s part of your personality , so we came to a mutual understanding and started with a clean slate from today.
“It was difficult to stay focused because obviously you had this feeling in the team that the team weren t getting any points so you didn t know whether the team hated you, or whether they just hated the situation, who they blamed. I just tried to come in with a smile on my face and try to remain positive through it all and do the same procedure as always. So I did go around the whole team and I said come on, let s do this! Good luck! There was only one person that didn t respond that didn t really affect me. I just got on and did my job.â€
Meanwhile, the Spanish motorsports federation, the RFEA, is unhappy over the penalty that Alonso received during the Hungarian Grand Prix. Alonso was given a 5 grid-slot penalty after the stewards did not accept his explanation over the pit-stop debacle that left Lewis Hamilton unable to get back out on track to put in a final flying lap.
The penalty had severe repercussions the Hungarian track is notoriously difficult to overtake on and Alonso finished the race in fourth. The result meant that Hamilton increased his lead over Alonso in the drivers championship to seven points.
“The RFEA will show is most vigorous protest to the international bodies responsible for this decision and it will take all the available measures to clear up this conflict,â€ a statement from the RFEA read. “The RFEA faithfully believes Fernando Alonso s explanation, given in front of the Hungary race stewards, and endorsed by McLaren Mercedes through their representative Ron Dennis.
“We want to publicly show our support and absolute trust in Fernando Alonso, who has showed his professionalism and honesty during his successful sporting career. This Federation hopes and wishes that these events are never repeated as they seriously deteriorate motorsports image.â€
There has been much media speculation over how happy the world champion is at McLaren first, he is outshone by his rookie team-mate, then with the Ferrari espionage saga hanging over the team, and now, this pit-stop malarkey. Many are speculating that Alonso may not stay with the McLaren team past the 2007 season.
Ron Dennis is still hopeful that the Spaniard will complete his multi-year contract Alonso is contracted to McLaren until the end of the 2008 season, however he hesitated when asked after the race if he would see out his contract with the team.
If Alonso did decide to leave, there are plenty of teams who are willing to have him. It is rumoured that Renault want their driver back they have yet to confirm their 2008 line-up and Briatore does not seem in a hurry to do so.
Dennis is not paying any attention to the rumours and has dismissed them as inevitable. “There is an inevitability that these things are rumoured and discussed in other teams,â€ he said. “We have two drivers who are contracted for several years into the future. We will respect our part of that bargain and that part of the situation we hope that the drivers respect their, because that is what a contract is about.â€