Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, 2007

Can Alonso and McLaren banish the trauma of 2007?

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, 2007In one sense, Fernando Alonso’s return to McLaren doesn’t qualify as a ‘surprise’. Rumours of it happening first surfaced over 12 months ago, and some have been claiming for several weeks it was a done deal.

Even so, there was a very good reason why many will have thought “I’ll believe it when I see it” when reading the rumours. Few drivers have parted with a team on worse terms in recent F1 history than when Alonso walked out of the McLaren Technology Centre at the end of 2007.

That year is often remembered chiefly for the sensational details of the ‘spygate’ affair, and Alonso’s role in revealing McLaren’s use of sensitive information concerning Ferrari’s car.

But this came about because of a deeper grievance between Alonso and McLaren, and his rivalry with team mate Lewis Hamilton. Tension rose throughout the year between Alonso, the winner of the previous two championships, and Hamilton, who made an extraordinary start to his F1 career that year and led the points for much of the season. A tit-for-tat exchange between the two during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix provided the spark which ignited the flames.

Hamilton ignored an instruction to let Alonso pass him during the qualifying session and Alonso retaliated by holding Hamilton up in the McLaren pit box, costing his team mate a chance to improve his lap time. The FIA took a dim view of Alonso’s behaviour – and McLaren’s apparent complicity – and handed him a penalty which cost him pole position.

A furious Alonso turned his anger on the team, and threatened to reveal his knowledge of what had been going on at McLaren. His departure was inevitable from that moment – some within the team even wanted him thrown out on the spot. The idea he might ever return after 2007 seemed unthinkable.

By the final races of 2007 it was clear Alonso’s tenure as a McLaren driver would end shortly after the season finale in Brazil. In the meantime he continued to pillory his team principal in the press.

“He didn’t promise me anything,” said Alonso in China when asked Dennis had given his drivers equal treatment. “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.”

“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.

“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.”

The enmity between Alonso and Ron Dennis lingered in the years that followed their separation. The following year, having returned to Renault, Alonso made veiled remarks about having been “without the possibility to win” at McLaren.

But to Dennis, Alonso had been given the same equal treatment his many predecessors had enjoyed and simply underestimated his new team mate. “Alonso didn’t expect Hamilton to be that competitive in his first year,” he said in 2007.

“He told me at the beginning that it was my decision to sign a rookie like Hamilton, but that it could cost me the constructors’ championship. Fernando was calculating everything, but not that Lewis would challenge him.”

The antipathy between the two seemed too deep for a future reconciliation to be possible. In 2009 Dennis talked about the difficulties of attempting a rapprochement.

“Would I be able to eliminate in my mind the negativity that he caused to everyone – no, of course not,” said Dennis. “But I mean that’s… you’ve got to be the bigger person.”

That year Dennis took a step back from the Formula One team to develop McLaren’s road car operation. His return to a more active presence in the F1 team at the beginning of this year appeared to put an end to any prospect of Alonso coming back.

But whether the passage of time had allowed wounds to heal, or other factors had heightened the need to bring Alonso back, Dennis’s position had clearly softened. “You never say never,” he answered when asked l2 months ago whether Alonso might return.

Some may interpret the move as a marriage of convenience: that Alonso needs a car to drive while he waits for a possible vacancy at Mercedes in 2016, and that McLaren want to keep Honda happy by bringing back the driver many consider the greatest talent in Formula One today.

One thing is indisputable: The second time around, neither party has any excuse for not knowing what they are letting themselves in for.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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118 comments on “Can Alonso and McLaren banish the trauma of 2007?”

  1. I hope McLaren has learned a thing or two about PGP keys and the CC field.

    1. This is a recipe for a disaster of a huge magnitude.It will cost much more than $100 million dollars this time.Alonso does not share equal status ever.Button has signed as SECOND driver.but once on the track he will quickly remind Alonso that he is as political as him and that his winning instinct is bigger in 2015 than before.CATASTROPHE in the making take a very good note of it.

      1. There is no way Button will provide a challenge to Alonso on track.

        1. Everyone said that in his tenure as Hamilton’s teammate.
          I was the first in line when it came to discard this guy, and BOY WAS I WRONG.

          1. That would be the teammate who outscored Button two out of three seasons, and lapped him in identical cars at Canada in 2012, yes?

          2. Outscoring narrowly != no challenge provided.
            That’s really hard to grasp for a lot of people, unfortunately.

          3. If you count the number of failures Hamilton had in those years, you will realise that the points gap is mis-representative. Coupled with the fact, that Hamilton was clearly going through a tough mental phase in 2011, and it wasn’t all because Button managed Pirellis better. Hamilton outqualified Button 44-14 in the three year period. In both 2010 and 2012, Button could simply not fight Hamilton on a regular basis at all. In 2011, he was helped by some new factors, plus Hamilton’s mental state.

    2. @stefanauss Of course – they’re going to use Charlie Whiting’s!

  2. Certainly going to be one to watch. That said, how many of us expected a bit of fireworks at Ferrari with Kimi and Fernando? Instead we got a wet rag.

    1. @bascb More like a wet doughnut.

      1. sure, why not.

      2. melted choc ice from a poorly insulated cool box?

    2. BasCB ,sure did .but this one will be a major blast.cant wait 2015.now I have a reason to enjoy F1 again.Thanks everyone:Dennis,Honda,alonso,button.Thanks,oh thanks cant wait

  3. Not so long ago I re-watched the 2007 season to see how it matched with my memory of the season.

    The best summation of the season I can use is: Alonso raced against Ferrari with the (incorrect) understanding that Hamilton would help him and the team. Hamilton’s sole purpose was to prove himself by beating Alonso.

    The season began to unravel after Monaco when the Hamiltons thought they were deprived of victory despite Alonso clearly outpacing Lewis all weekend. Ron failed to properly identify then address the issues. Managing his drivers (and their entourages) then became impossible.

    The Hungaroring episode was just a public display from both drivers that they either didn’t fear any consequences or knew there would be none coming from the team.

    1. @kazinho No, the season began to unravel with what you wrote the paragraph above Monaco. Alonso’s incorrect assumption of an automatic number 1 status and his underestimation of Hamilton simply on the basis of the latter being a rookie, had destroyed what should’ve been a dominant season for Mclaren with 1-2 in WDC and p1 in WCC.

      Fernando is the best all-round driver on track arguably now, but off track he has been his own worst enemy on more than one occasion. This contrast of on track brilliance and off track uselessness reminds me of Mansell, albeit for completely different reasons

    2. The only reason Alonso was “outpacing” Hamilton was because they kept fuelling Hamilton for 3 laps extra which he actually wasn’t ever allowed to use. That cost Hamilton around half a second (at least) during qualification and each race lap.

      Even with that half a second deficit due to the extra fuel, Hamilton still could have won if they had actually let him run the full middle stint.

      Keeping all that in mind it’s not hard to understand how Hamilton indeed would easily have won that race and therefore was rightly miffed.

      1. Again with the conspiracy theories?

        This has been thoroughly hosed down many times before. All stops were completed as soon as the pit window opened due to the chances of a safety car and the “closed pits” situation.

        The race after Monaco was Canada and look what happened there when they didn’t bring the pit stops forward…

        1. It’s not a conspiracy theory it’s a fact. Hamilton did get 3 laps of extra fuel in Q3 and during the race stints and therefore was half a second slower than he could have been. So Alonso wasn’t “outpacing” Hamilton, fuel corrected Alonso was a lot slower.

          The conspiracy theory would be if McLaren was holding Hamilton back on purpose. I would say so yes, but indeed McLaren claimed they didn’t let Hamilton use the extra fuel because of safety car dangers, buuuuuuut (and as you can see this is a really big but) why did they keep fueling Hamilton for an extra 3 laps every time? Knowing he would never be allowed to use those 3 extra laps?

        2. Sorry @kazinho but it’s difficult to take you at all seriously when you omit the US race and Alonso telling McLaren to tell Hamilton to let him pass (repeated some years later at Ferrari with a very different and self-destructive response from Massa).

          Alonso had no reason to think Hamilton would be there to ‘help’ him. He just presumed. Wrongly. It’s all there for you in Ron Dennis’s own evaluation that Alonso misjudged Hamilton’s competitive threat to him. That says two things: Hamilton was a *lot* better driver than Alonso had presumed, and McLaren would *allow him to be a threat* to Alonso over the season.

          You also seem to have some weird issue about Hamilton’s ‘entourage’ – i.e. his father, when plenty of other drivers have had their fathers around the paddock assisting them in various ways. Like to elaborate on why you want to pick out ‘the Hamiltons’ especially?

  4. A source close to a Ferrari tells me it’s all different this time. Alonso offered to bring detailed designs of the 2014 Ferrari with him, but McLaren said “no thanks”.

    1. Made me chuckle , thanks :)

    2. thanks. A+

    3. COTD.

    4. it’s rather a tough call, i mean, the McLaren wasn’t exactly a thoroughbred!

    5. LOL

      “He told me at the beginning that it was my decision to sign a rookie like Hamilton, but that it could cost me the constructors’ championship. ”
      A true prediction, but not in the way anyone envisioned…

    6. Definitely COTD!!!

    7. Ha ha…don’t think McLaren would want the designs of a team that has significantly deteriorated in performance…

      But maybe 2015 will be different for the Prancing Horse!

  5. We must remember that the 2007 disaster was not merely Alonso vs Dennis, but a fundamental dislike of McLaren’s procedural culture and its simulator-centric approach, much of which will still be in existence. However Alonso is not the man he was in 2007, and whilst he is still divisive when it suits him, I doubt 2014-spec Alonso would have chosen to be in the R28 rather than the MP4-23 for little more than ideological reasons. If this is his best chance of a third title, then have no doubt he will grasp it with both hands…

    1. Can we stop with that “divisive” nonsense?
      If anything became obvious since 2007, is that it’s Hamilton who is the one who creates tension and is divisive. He started it in 2007 too, but many still refuse to see it.

      1. Hang on, Hamilton left McLaren with the entire team begging him to stay and has been an asset to Mercedes from day one: where is the divisiveness? If you are referring to the Hamilton versus Rosberg campaign, isn’t all fair in love, war and F1 with regards his post-Spa comments? In terms of the driver division we have seen this year, that is inevitable in a championship duel, but it has hardly damaged the team’s unity.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          11th December 2014, 12:57

          @countrygent don’t forget who twitted telemetry

          1. agree… Controversy seems to follow Lewis a bit… Is it because he is, erm… Difficult?

          2. Alonso is no stranger to controversy either though, is he?

          3. And who was caught with Ferrari’s details. its like Mr Kettle saying hello to Mr Pot

          4. The telemetry was mostly useless to the other teams– all it really showed is how much time per lap Hamilton got screwed out of, by his own engineers.

      2. Hamilton is ego-centric but … divisive? No. There wasn’t any problem after Alonso left the team.

        1. “after” , lol imagine if he had stayed. Hamilton only got over the issues with Rosberg this year after he won the title. imagine in Hamiltons car had the problem instead of Rosberg’s in the final race, I don’t believe Hamilton would have come to Rosberg straight after the race and congratulated him on the championship the way Rosberg did to Hamilton. there is also video on youtube of Alonso coming to Hamilton and his family and offering them all individual congratulations.

      3. Biggsy- I agree, Way too many people think Alonso is the devil and Hammy is an angel.
        Nowadays of course it’s not politically correct to criticize Hammy.

        1. Hamilton’s sole purpose was to prove himself by beating Alonso.
          Which was exactly Senna’s sole purpose in 88 against Prost, but Senna is a god and Hamilton is a brat.

          1. And what about in 93 or 94 when Mika Häkkinen outqualified Senna in his own car?

          2. @dam00rr
            1) what that has to do with the topic?

            2) Hakkinen outqualified Senna in exactly one race out of three they were team-mates. so it’s 2-1 to Senna. Just to clear that up

          3. You mean that one time Senna underperformed in qualifying and it later turned out Senna had been busy all weekend trying to get a Williams contract? Sure.

            Not sure how that has any bearing on the subject though.

            Also, I don’t recall Hakkinen moving to Williams for 1994. Pretty sure he stayed at McLaren.

      4. Biggsy.The dictionnary needs rewritting here.the only thing hamilton prooved in 2007 is that he was the best rookie EVER to join F1 .he beat a 2 time world champion fair and square.and was it not for mismanagement by maclaren would have won the title that 1st year which he finished 2nd by 1 or 2 points for his FIRST year with MANY victories.NEVER seen again.so please give the man a bit of respect.and this year it was a VERY close championship he only won 11 grand prix to 5 for his rival VERY CLOSE INDEED 11 to 5.this sport is about winning is it not?11 wins 5 wins = VERY ,VERY CLOSE. next year when it is 9victories to 7 we will call the man that gets 7 victories winner just watch.damnnn

      5. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        11th December 2014, 14:30

        I agree- I think Mercedes F1 bosses were lucky 2014 didn’t turn into 2007 all over again. Hammy definitely needs to just chill out & stop with the public crying, moaning & tweeting etc. It all gets a bit personal for him which is a huge weakness in one sense but then his greatest strength in another because it’s the moaning/spitefulness against his teammates that really fuels his hunger. A bit sad really.

        1. Excellently said. And sad.

      6. Biggsy, Alonso is divisive. to deny that is ridiculous. He has been involved in the vast majority of scandals that occured during his time in F1.

        They way he and his manager acted toward Trulli at Renault. His whining vs Fisichella at the same team, 2007 when he thought that just because he’s Alonso it gives him an automatic number 1 and also underestimated Hamilton instead of proving that he’s faster on the track. 2008 and the Crashgate, 2010 and the ridiculous overtake of Massa on the pit entry to Shanghai to assert himself as number 1(if it was Lewis and not Massa there would’ve been a crash), Hockenheim 2010, the maneuvers behind the scenes that lead to his exit from Ferrari(2 excellent Mark Hughes articles on Motorsport about that).

        Fernando is IMO the best overall driver of this generation. he should just shut up and drive and stop playing those ridiculous off track games that hurt him most of all in the long term. but as leopard cannot change its spots so a political animal cannot stop being political

        1. Just ask Massa about Alonso and he’ll have absolutely no ill feeling about him…in spite of Germany 2010. Earlier this year Massa admitted that Alonso’s capabilities (on track and off track) simply nullified the prospect of who ever his team mates became…

          It would be intriguing though to know whether that would work in Woking

  6. I can’t see much controversy this time… In terms of on track rivarly, on paper, Alonso should dominate Button except for the odd wet race… JB is an old dog too, so they should get along well off track too.

    Afterall, Ron and Fernando know they need each other. One has to provide a good car, so the best driver on the grid takes it to victory, and the ohter needs a car capable of winning championships, because he really doesn’t have another option except racing at Mercedes which seems unlikely at this point.

    But you never know… sparks could fly too. It all depends on Jenson, IMO.

    1. @fer-no65

      A bit early to start that debate, but I believe Button will do well against Alonso. I think he’ll beat him in some races, but will be quite a few points behind at the end.

      I think the main difference will be Alonso’s ability to do something magic every once in a while, like in his three victores in 2012.

      1. Jenson could handle being beaten (or behind in points during the season) Alonso much better than Fernando could handle the opposite case. Button has nothing to lose, so is really in the better position — kind of like 2010.

        1. Good point…

      2. @enigma Oh, I think he’ll do well too. He won’t be completely beaten like Massa or Kimi this year.

        But at the end of the day, he’ll definetly be behind Alonso and probably by a long way. Only because FA is just relentless during the season, whereas Button does have those slumps… But anyway, Alonso is not losing this battle.

    2. I think Button will prove to be a firm rival. Once Alonso beats him and starts gathering the praise, Button will come back stronger. It’s surprising to see what jealousy could do to people. Either you lace it up and show them what you got, or you accept being beaten.

  7. “But this came about because of a deeper grievance between Alonso and McLaren, and his rivalry with team mate Lewis Hamilton. Tension rose throughout the year between Alonso, the winner of the previous two championships, and Hamilton, who made an extraordinary start to his F1 career”

    I think a repeat of 2007 is very unlikly. It’s a different Alonso and Button is not Lewis. Plus, it’s now clear that Lewis is from a different cut and losing to him is not that bad after all :)

  8. Give him time and he will folllow Nigel Mansell steps in McLaren.

  9. I am not worried. Jenson Button is not even remotely good enough to challenge Fernando Alonso, so if he was promised a leadership role, he will recieve it, unlike in 2007 where Hamilton just was too good to be a number two driver.

    1. lewis Hamilton fans also said that about Jenson too look what happened the only driver to beat lewis on points in all seasons they were partnered together so i would disagree with your comment :)

      1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        11th December 2014, 12:21

        @waynedru78 He beat Lewis in one season only, but it was by a large amount and therefore over three seasons he outscored him.

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          11th December 2014, 13:04

          @thegrapeunwashed well, but Jenson beat Lewis after all, make it just one season or as a 3-year period.
          And even for those who say numbers and points mean nothing, many predicted Lewis was going to sweep the floor with Jenson, but truth is, Jenson prevailed, or if you are also in the points-are-nothing wagon, it’s undeniable both of them were closely matched.
          I don’t think Alonso can repeat a Massa or Raikkonnen situation with JB. At least everyone of us know Jenson is more consistent in results, and hardworking. Kimi has that reputation of “I don’t like it, I’ll go to my boat” and Massa is still accident-prone or spin-prone. I remember he was going well in Canada (or it was Nurburgring?) during his Ferrari days and spoiled it with a spin. He was going well in Canada this year and (some may blame just Perez but) LET Perez ruin his race.
          So I don’t really think Button will suffer against Alonso. They wil keep each other honest (I hope, honest in all the meanings of the word).

        2. That was the year Lewis had a melt down. But I like Jenson too and am glad he will be in F1 next year.

        3. Yes, true. the first season, though, you would have expected Ham to come out on top as But was adapting and was held up by Brawn/Merc until 1 Jan. Basically it was not a walk for Hammy any of the three years, despite being consistently faster in qually by at least 3 tenths. Speaks more to Ham’s lack of consistency and tendency to red misting, really given how 2014 turned out. (Ros really never overtook Ham in anger without a massive advantage in tyres or strategy).

          1. to finish my though: and yet the 2014 season was decided in the final race… Ham has since gained a great deal in racecraft since the days with But — seems to ahve lost a step in raw speed unless Ros’ qually victory of 2014 was simply down to coaching.

          2. @abbinator

            Speaks more to Ham’s lack of consistency and tendency to red misting,

            Depends how you look at it. While he does seem unconsistent at times, in 2012 particularly, he wasn’t the one to blame. His DNF while leading plus all the mistakes in the pit stops, made way for Button to capitalize and end up ahead on points over the 3 seasons.

            Take that away and Lewis beat JB in 2010 and 2012, while melting down in 2011. So 2 to 1, advantage Lewis.

          3. Figures still speak for themselves though however you suger coat it.:)

          4. I don’t think Hamilton was a better driver in 2014 then in McLaren years, if we had 2013 tyres Rosberg would have won WDC, and even as it is, it was a car failure that decided the result, if it happened on Hamilons car instead of Rosbergs, Rosberg would be World champ. I know many people do not consider Rosberg a top 4 driver, and Hamilton barely beat him. I don not believe Hamilton has improved as a driver since 2007, his intellect in his interviews in the past 8 years also proves this to me, he had a great car this year and won the championship because he is a fast driver.

        4. Of course figures don’t speak, they are numbers. Someone has to speak them. Thus someone who watched all the races might speak 150 as the points that non-driving factors cost Hamilton in 2012. They may speak the 3 that was the number of races that Jenson was actually quicker even in 2011 ;)

          1. figures speak, and your 150 is a fake figure that is not accurate. also saying 3 races jenson was only quicker in matters not if Hamilton bumbed it in 6 other races. the final result is what matters, and Button scored more points then Hamilton in their time as teammates, and as Murray Walker says, to finish first, first you have to finish!

          2. Figures do not speak, people cite them. It’s a nonsense to suggest that because of all the points Hamilton lost through non-driving factors in 2012 (150, it’s been calculated) Jenson was a match. Typically Jenson followed Lewis in races.

            Now he’s up against Fernando. Well I think he might give Alonso a good run in some races, and I hope so. JB is quick. But his record against Lewis isn’t encouraging and faking it with numbers doesn’t change that. He might do it, if Nando is slower than Lewis; which could be the case.

            It’s a matchup I’ve wished for, so I’m looking forward to it.

      2. Arguing Button was able to challenge Hamilton because of 2011 is like saying Eddie Irvine was able to challenge Michael Schumacher during their time at Ferrari because he outscored him in 1999. LH had the mental equivalent of a broken leg that year.

  10. Can Alonso and McLaren banish the trauma of 2007?


    It’s been seven years. Easily enough to get over all the animosity.

  11. Robert Cochran
    11th December 2014, 11:59

    Since we have no choice but to re-visit once again 2007, can one of your well informed readers clear up one point for me. I seem to remember that the order was Massa – Alonso – Raikkenon half way through the final GP in Brazil which would have given Alonso the title. But Ferrari shuffled Raikkenon in front of Massa to with the title. Was Alonso as close to the 2007 WDC as I remember? Rob from Inverness

    1. Ferraris were in the front the whole race. Alonso was in the 3rd place and there was no challenging Ferrari in that one.

      1. Well if either Ferrari had retired Alonso would have been champion by 1 point over Hamilton. But Ferrari were in 1-2 and in total control of the race throughout.

    2. Depending what you mean by close. He was nowhere near the Ferraris in Brazil and finished a minute behind. Ferraris circulated in formation and shuffled away Massa ,who was not in contention for the title, at the pitstops. The only way for Alonso to win the title was if Kimi broke down

  12. I don’t think there will be any problems this time around with Alonso, 2007 he was what 26, same age as Vettel was last year, and we have seen on occasions his immaturity too (only relative young multi world champion comparable). Another 7-8 years of development as a person since then, as many know at a younger age that means more than at an older.

    Many of us work for Bosses we don’t agree with or even like, but it serves our purpose too and theirs to keep us, some jobs are just enjoyable and avoiding the boss when ever possible and getting on with it can still be successful.

    And Button is not stupid, has 15 years experience in Formula 1, wants to win, but also is aware. I can see no problem in their partnership either.

  13. I was certainly in that “I’ll believe when I see it” camp. Even though the most reliable sources have told us Alonso will be at McLaren in 2015 for a while now, it was difficult to fathom. If you said after 2007 Alonso would return to McLaren one day, you would’ve been laughed at to say the least.

    It all makes for a very tasty second spell for the Alonso-McLaren partnership. I can’t wait…

  14. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    11th December 2014, 12:19

    It takes time to settle into a new team, I don’t expect Alonso to convincingly beat Button – in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Button outscore his teammate over a full season. It should be a good battle.

    Alonso’s burned too many bridges that he can afford to displease the team a second time. He’s nearing retirement too, I expect he’ll fit in well and concentrate on gaining a third title in the few years remaining to him. I suspect Magnussen will be recalled once Alonso has settled in.

    1. Alonso is not nearing retirement! he has said in interviews previous he has many years left in f1, he entererd f1 early (at age 19), so many people see him as a veteran, but he is at his peak in driving and only in his early 30s I thing he will be in f1 until he is 38 to 40, so another solid 5 to 7 years. Button today said he wants to extend his McLaren stay, and he has been signed for another 2 years.

      1. Agreed. I reckon at least another five years at the top for Alonso.

  15. Paddock Club Pass for a GP weekend 3.000€
    Catherman’s Front wing (Public auction) 30.000€
    Watch the face of Ron Dennis for the first Alonso’s win with McLaren-Honda… has no price.
    For all the rest, master card!

    1. Or pawn a Rolex or two:)

  16. This time, it should work unless Mclaren chassis and Honda PU is not good enough. They know each other, They know what each want. Everything would be negligible if MP4-30 is competitive enough. otherwise, well, you know…

  17. I’m really curious how many clauses are packed into the contract that ensure Alonso his status in the team or if he gambled again that Button wouldn’t be able to challenge him.

  18. It’s funny, I totally forgot Alonso’s lengthy stop during qualifying at the Hungaroring was a revenge for Hamilton ignoring a team order minutes earlier.

    Nor I remembered the Hamiltons apparent distrust from Monaco.

    In other words, I didn’t remember it was Hamilton who poked first and not Alonso… This makes a big difference, because I can’t imagine Button poking at all. He never did with Kevin when it was his very seat in F1 on stake. So they should be fine, I guess… *insert still unsure facial expression*

    1. *nor did I remember…

      1. Button was asked in a BBC interview towards the end of the season whether he’d be able to work with Alonso and his kind of bemused answer was “well yes, he’s another human being isn’t he?”. A sensible response

    2. @atticus-2
      Hamilton did the same this year with Rosberg. He kept provoking and making those remarks who Rosberg isn’t as good as him, how he didn’t have to fight as hard as he did, how he used his telemetry and everything while Rosberg was pretty much surprised by it because he thought they are good friends.
      After 7 years, I’d say that Hamilton is divisive one, while Alonso can be blamed for being emotional one and reacting on Hamilton’s provocations emotionally and straight on, instead more cunningly.

      It always reminds me of that story where one kid keeps pinching and slapping the other kid, and the parent looks in their direction just as the other kid wanted to to retaliate, hence, getting all the blame ,while the other one acts like an innocent one who is just a victim.

  19. Button is the only driver who beat Hamilton in one season as a teammate, and Hamilton beat Alonso in his rookie year. It should will be interesting to see Alonso vs Button

    1. Err, are you using an instance from 2007, the other from 2011, to predict 2015?

  20. Alonso reportedly is on £25m while Jense has taken a pay cut down to £6m, so the pecking order is pretty clear.

    Even so I’m thinking JB will have his moments. Maybe 3 weekends? Could be more. Though even in 2011 he only beat Lewis on pace 3 times iirc.

    Anyway between the two of them they could well move McLaren up the grid, probably at Ferrari’s expense.

    1. @lockup

      Alonso reportedly is on £25m while Jense has taken a pay cut down to £6m

      According to who?

    2. I only see Jenson having multiple “good weekends” if the car is a top-2 performer. If it is 3rd-5th Alonso is the only one who may win a race, and the only one who I think would grab more than 2 or 3 podiums.

      Jenson is GREAT at managing a race strategy and driving consistently. He’s repeatedly done this to impress compared with teammates. The problem is, the only driver who does this better than he does, and does it while driving faster, is the guy who is now his teammate for the first time ever.

  21. Let’s face it, who would have predicted just about anything that happened between 2007 and 2014?

    Who would have predicted that Honda would pull out, and that the team would be put on the grid under the name of Brawn, and that they would become champions with Jenson Button?

    Who’d have predicted that during that time, Ferrari would only win one single championship, before slipping down to the midfield?

    Would you have predicted that Alonso, at that point the hottest driver on the grid, would only have one serious attempt at winning another championship, after the back to back champioships of 05 and 06?

    That Michael Schumacher would return to drive for Meredes GP?

    That the scrawny little kid drafted in by Torro Rosso halfway through the season to replace Scott Speed would go on to win four consecutive championships for the midfield team owned by a soft drinks company?

    That Williams would find themselves spending several years at the back of the midfield, barely scoring points?

    How about that Robert Kubica would never get a chance to deliver on the incredible promise he showed?

    So what will be the next chapter in F1 history? Who knows. But I bet it’ll involve stuff that none of us expect!

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      11th December 2014, 14:16


    2. The safest bet is it will involve Ricciardo and/or Bottas. But safest is a relative term

    3. I predicted a Honda pull-out. Actually they lasted 1 season longer than I had thought they would.
      I didn’t predict Brawn to win – that was immense, but I did predict Button to race full throttle, over the edge in the penultimate race that year, even if all the F1 journo’s I hear/read predicted that he would go for the safe amount of points and then close it in the last race.
      I did predict Ferrari to struggle, and already when Vettel finished his first race for BMW I predicted that he was going to become one of F1’s great drivers with multiple titles.
      I also predicted that BMW would bale out on Williams – that cooperation didn’t go well – and it was easy to see that Williams would go down and down untill old Williams gave the stick to someone else – his leadership was a thing of the past for many years. Good to see Williams back with success again. I did also predicted BMW Sauber to move on to win a title, and then BMW would bale out of F1. It turned out that the first didn’t happen, but the bale out came.
      I did predict however that Kubica would become a champion sooner or later, poor guy, feel for him.
      Alonso – I never ever thought McLaren and him would heal up again, but nice to see, but I hated to see Kevin loose out before he really got started.
      The future from here? I’ll put it in a new thread, but could be interesting with a “F1 Crystal ball competition” on this site, Keith?

  22. This was definitely the only solution for Alonso given his situation. He opted to leave Ferrari and as we all know there are no seat available in a top team. If we talk about egos on the other hand, no one can outmatch Alonso and Dennis. In the first year no one expects wonders, but in their second and third year Alonso should expect to have a winning car. Otherwise he could went back in Lotus Mercedes if he wanted to just drive around…Maybe Alonso has a performance clause in his contract that could set him free after just one year but I can’t see where he would go in 2016. Who knows. F1 is a fast moving environment and anything could happen in 12 months from now…

  23. Expecting Alonso to outscore Button 60-40 in points at the end of 2015, at the most. Button is already used to the team unlike Raikkonen this year at Ferrari, and Alonso hasn’t got the political power anymore. Should be good fun to watch how this turns out. Certainly not counting out Button to match Alonso.

  24. I’ll believe that Alonso is a changed man when I see it.

  25. of course they can get over 2007, dennis came back to bring McLaren back to winning ways, and he needed the best driver, which has always been his philosophy, to have the best available drivers in the sport, now he has his man.

  26. well, Ron may “forget” about all the fuss and war of the words…but he surely remembers 100M fine caused by Alonso…so I`m sure not all smiles were real today on Press conference….

    1. $100M fine caused by Alonso? I think McLaren shot their own foot on that one by being involved in Spygate in the first place. Didn’t Ron claim it was he himself who came forward with the evidence, and not Alonso?:


      Alonso was no angel in 2007, but neither was McLaren.

      1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6998040.stm

        In the course of a heated row with Dennis over, among other things, his desire to have number one status over Hamilton, Alonso threatened to hand over e-mails incriminating his own team to Formula One’s governing body, the FIA.

        Dennis knew this would keep hanging over his head so he did the only thing he could, which was to hand it in himself.

    2. Absurd logic.
      Saying the fine is Alonso’s fault is like saying that a murderer being convicted is the fault of the testifying witness.

    3. The fine was the fault of one Max Mosely who chose to use the opportunity presented to him to try & hound Ron Dennis out of F1 altogether for a personal vendetta that dated back years. Sweet how that backfired & Mosely was the one jettisoned instead. F1 is all the better for it IMO. Funny how people forget things although to be honest, the best place for Mosely to be is forgotten and consigned to history. Bring on Alonso-McLaren Mark II – can’t wait!

  27. Funny how Lewis signed for Mercedes and announced it in September with smiles whereas Fernando has taken until December to finally announce he’s signed for McL.

    Was he holding out for #1 status, waiting to see what hp/sfc the Honda was capable of, or waiting for the possibility of a three car team place at Mercedes?

    Either way it’s not a good way to start your second coming to such a potentially tense situation, I doubt if history will show Fernando has played the ‘blinder’ that Lewis did.

  28. Wow! Even the Mclaren team and the team boss (and big share owner) has realized they made a misstake back in 2007 and has corrected it now. The auther of this site is however exactly where he has been for the last seven years – with his head digged deaply in the sand. It is a show of bad character and lacking professional integrity when you, despite having so many facts, stats and statements screaming to you that your standpoint is WRONG and assumptions are FAULTY, still continue to write articles that contradict the info available – keeping your head deap down in the sand.
    “Few drivers have parted with a team on worse terms in recent F1 history than when Alonso walked out of the McLaren Technology Centre at the end of 2007.”
    You fail to mention that in few occations, if any in the history of F1, a team treated a top driver, acknowledged talent and a youngest ever double drivers world champion – the one that ended the Schumacher era – as bad as Mclaren and the Mclaren management did to ALO back in 2007.
    “A furious Alonso turned his anger on the team, and threatened to reveal his knowledge of what had been going on at McLaren.”
    This is the kind of oversimplified, ungrounded, low-standard statements that you DO NOT find in respectable sports media.
    “That year is often remembered chiefly for the sensational details of the ‘spygate’ affair, and Alonso’s role in revealing McLaren’s use of sensitive information concerning Ferrari’s car.”
    You should be thanking ALO for helping to disclose blatant cheating in the sport you work with and claim you love.
    “Tension rose throughout the year between Alonso, the winner of the previous two championships, and Hamilton, who made an extraordinary start to his F1 career that year and led the points for much of the season.”
    Again, you fail to mention key aspects to the percieved outcome. One of those is the well-known fact that a team will distance a driver that is leaving it at the end of the season from understanding, developing or using any new important parts or developments on the car from the point in time when they know he is to leave. As you should know, for the simple reason that they do not want to leak valuable info to rivals. Hence, you fail to mention that, most probably, ALO and HAM were NOT racing with the exact same machinary to the 2nd half of the 2007. You also fail to mention that the relation between ALO and the team that was providing and preparing his race car, the same car he had to use to compete with the rest, was so bad that he used to have visiting family members in the Renault garage, WHILE he was “driving” for Mclaren.
    These facts helps only your bias, not what should be your aim, i e to give the reader an accurate and unbiased info.
    Last but not least. You like keep saying that HAM did beat ALO in 2007, despite the apparent lack of balance and equity that was present at that team in that season, regarding both equipment and mental support. I would like you to, for a moment, pull your head out of the sand and take a look at the score tables for the following seasons, when ALO had a somewhat competitive car in relation to the Mclaren, and a team that did not treat him with hatred. Given your assumptions about the outcome of 2007 when HAM was a rookie, he should continue to be a big threat to ALO, yes?
    ALO started to beat HAM – the driver you blatantly claim did beat ALO fair and square in 2007 – as soon as he was given a somewhat competitive package. That happened in Ferrari 2010. He continued to beat the driver you blatantly claim did beat ALO fair and square in 2007, EACH AND EVERY season following 2010, I e 2011, 2012 and 2013, and did that more often than not with a FIAT that was slower overall than the Mclaren. He has basically been cleaning the floor with the same driver you claim did beat him in equal machinary in 2007, for four consecutive seasons. What does that tell you, and when are we to see an article about that? I suppose it will happen when head is above surface again, but I can imagine it will take some time. After all, hyping HAM is probably much more profitable.

    1. Wow, that was quite a spray although not entirely undeserved I must admit. Even Martin Brundle seems to have re-assessed his anti-Alonso stance of recent years, it would be nice if others could try not to be so partisan. I admit I am a massive Alonso fan, have been since 2004. I think he is the best driver of this generation and it is a travesty that he has only won 2 titles. I certainly agree he did not behave in a manner befitting a reigning world champion in 2007. But to still, 7 years later and with what we now know, to insist 2007 was either solely or mostly the fault of Alonso smacks of wilful bias.

    2. Alonso was actually the one who had the most support of the team up until Hungary. The team even helped Alonso win the Monaco GP and nearly got a penalty for how far they went in doing so.

      Even after the Hungary debacle he was given identical support. The FIA allocated a steward to see to that. So Alonso was beaten by a rookie while Alonso was enjoying the most support for the majority of the season and identical support for the last few races. There really is no way around it.

      The whole nonsense about how Alonso was given inferior machinery is just beyond ridiculous. If anything he got the most support. Pedro De La Rosa remarked during testing that the car was completely developed to cater for Alonso’s wishes.

      What he didn’t get was an absolute No 1 status in the team and rightly so because Hamilton was outperforming him. As a rookie and with less support than Alonso got …

      Funniest text from Alonso was that he didn’t want Hamilton as his team mate because a rookie could never be good enough.

      You should be thanking ALO for helping to disclose blatant cheating in the sport you work with and claim you love.

      Trouble is, Alonso was the one doing the cheating. He handed in the e-mails of his active involvement of the spying on Ferrari. He only did so after he got a pardon in return for helping Mosley bring down McLaren/Dennis and when his blackmail didn’t work. Such a saint …

    3. You should be thanking ALO for helping to disclose blatant cheating in the sport

      Alonso was asking for the insider info, that’s what his emails were about. He was as much into using Ferrari IP as anybody. He and that nice Pedro de la Rosa. It wasn’t such a big deal at the time.

      And for sure Nando made a threat to Ron and Ron naively phoned Max who then stitched him up.

      Though in the end I gather Alonso just told his manager Flav about the emails, rather than vindictively telling Bernie himself, and it was to cover himself. Certainly nothing to do with ethics. Then of course the T-shirt salesman told Bernie, and that probably was vindictive.

      And btw Alonso obviously did have the same equipment, otherwise Hamilton would not have been left out ‘racing Fernando’ on bald tyres. Not that Nando had any rights afaic after doing lunch with the team’s arch-enemy Max, leading to the FIA observer in the garage at Brazil.

      Lots of people behaved badly in 2007, including Alonso. But nobody expected him to trail his rookie teammate the whole season from Canada, so it’s forgiveable, for me, with the healing passage of time. I hope things go well for him now, together with Ron and Jenson.

  29. A faswcinating discussion is definitely worth comment.

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