Speaking to Spanish journalists, Double World Champion Fernando Alonso has openly attacked his McLaren team. The Spaniard has felt increasingly under-loved at McLaren, and has continually hinted at running back into the arms of Flavio Briatore at Renault for the 2008 season.
Alonso, having thrown a tantrum after being left holding the baby in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, lines up fourth for today s race, behind his team-mate and both the Ferraris. The Spaniard complained to his native press that his team had failed to support him sufficiently this season in his title hunt, and rebuked earlier criticism from Ron Dennis over his behaviour at McLaren.
“I was expecting a lot more, we all were. From the outside, the team had a different image, serious, but very professionalâ€, he said. “And I arrived here after two titles; I improved the car as much as I could.â€
“Last year they were fighting to make it into Q3 and this year they are going to win the championship, and the truth is that the treatment has not been very good.â€ He then replied to a journalist s question, whether he had been given the support warranted of a two times World Champion, to this he replied: “Not a double champion, but a normal person.â€ Suggesting that he felt he should have been favoured over Lewis Hamilton, who started 2008 with no Formula One track record.
Earlier in the weekend Ron Dennis spoke of his disappointment at the Spaniard s refusal to rebuff allegations of favouritism within the Woking based team.
“It’s better to be silent than to lie, that’s for sure, and that’s something he should do more often and I think the team would do better. Many of the scandals McLaren have been involved in off the track this year have been created by his things.â€
“Each one has his own philosophy, he has his, and we all understand it. I have spoken a lot with Coulthard, with Montoya, and Kimi, and they have all left the team and found a lot of happiness. There must be a reason.â€ Although to be fair, you would have to question why Coulthard would stay within the team for nine seasons if the atmosphere were that bad.
Speaking of the policies at McLaren, in particular, the allowance of drivers to race and share equal equipment, he said: “He didn’t promise me anything. You are always hearing about that so called equality in the team, but tell me what you brag about and I’ll tell you what you are lacking.â€
“It’s impossible to have equality in a Formula One team, there’s always a better engine, a better lap to stop in, there’s always a better option.â€
“I’m not saying it’s not equality, because sometimes it’s one driver’s turn and other times it’s the other’s, but you always hear him talk about that or promising things, and it’s not like that.â€
Alonso was then asked about his plans for the 2008 season, although given his recent behaviour, his position within the squad seems completely untenable for another season.
“I don’t know. What happens next year is another matter. All I know is that I have a contract here and we will see next year. There are ten teams that could be interested in me. I’m ready to do the best I can, to help the team, to have a good car and try to win races.â€
When asked whether Hamilton would be a worthy champion, he said: “I think so, I think he deserves it if he wins it in the end. I think you have to know how to win and how to lose, and if I don’t win this year it’s because someone has scored more points than me, and if that’s the case it’s because he has done a better job.â€
Despite the fact that the media is unable to understand the team dynamics at McLaren, this whole saga with Alonso smacks of an almost child like jealousy over Lewis’s success. His antics in the hospitality area post qualifying, the impeding of Hamilton during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix and the subsequent threats made by the driver in light of the Spy-gate investigation that weekend, just don t seem the behaviour befitting a worthy Double World Champion.