Alonso ‘urged McLaren to sabotage Hamilton’s race’ at Hungary in 2007

2007 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso wanted McLaren to make his team mate Lewis Hamilton run out of fuel during the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The two-times world champion, who will make his final F1 start for the team in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, made the demand after he had been given a penalty for holding Hamilton up in the pits during qualifying for the race, according to the BBC.

Hamilton had refused an instruction from the team to allow Alonso to overtake him during the qualifying session. Alonso held Hamilton up in retaliation, but was given a five-place grid penalty by the stewards.

That prompted Alonso to issue his demand to McLaren team principal Ron Dennis that the team sabotage Hamilton’s race by making him run out of fuel. The BBC claims Alonso made this demand in a meeting between him, his manager Luis Garcia Abad, and Dennis.

Alonso told Dennis that he would reveal new details about the extent of McLaren’s use of confidential information belonging to Ferrari if Dennis did not agree.

Instead Dennis informed FIA president Max Mosley of the information Alonso had. This prompted the FIA to begin a second investigation in McLaren’s possession of the information. It led to the team being thrown out of that year’s championship and receiving a $100 million fine.

Abad later approached Dennis and said Alonso had made the demand in a fit of temper, and had retracted his demand.

Hamilton won the race from pole position while Alonso, who was demoted to sixth on the grid, finished fourth. Alonso split from the team at the end of the year but rejoined McLaren in 2015, after Hamilton had left.

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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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153 comments on “Alonso ‘urged McLaren to sabotage Hamilton’s race’ at Hungary in 2007”

  1. Good riddance!

    1. I wouldn’t call Hamilton retiring due to running out of fuel ‘good riddance’ :P

      1. I think he meant good riddance to Ron not capitulating. @coldfly

        1. More likely good riodamce that overrated underachieving diva Alonso is taking his roadshow elsewhere as of next week.

    2. @kgn11

      Hamilton has not retired from F1.

  2. A movie with all the sporting highs and off-track intrigues/lows would be interesting.

    I’d like Javier Bardem to play Alonso (just needs to lose a few kg and be made a lot younger)

    1. Fernando Rey [baddie in French Connection] could play Alonso, or the short guy in Serpico whose name just escapes me for the moment…

    2. @coldfly We probably wouldn’t believe the 2007 movie to be true if it’s really as intriguing as has been implied!

      1. Welcome back @fastiesty.

        1. “Don Fernando. I don’t want you to worry yourself about this young hotshot from Belgium. If he don’t watch hisself then pretty soon he’s going to run out of fuel, crash on the pit straight, or wake up with a prancing horse’s head in his bed! Capiche?”

          1. Montréalais (@)
            21st November 2018, 19:25

            +1 MaliceCooper

            “We’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

        2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          20th November 2018, 20:52

          Ditto @fastiesty !

          1. Boby Deerfield…

  3. The BBC claims Alonso made this demand in a meeting between him, his manager Luis Garcia Abad, and Dennis.
    Abad later approached Dennis and said Alonso had made the demand in a fit of temper, and had retracted his demand.

    If the latter sentence is true, then I’d have to say that’s a pretty rubbish manager if he can’t channel or manage his driver’s emotions.

    1. More like a “rubbish” person in Alonso.

      The man can drive, but this is just further proof of his lacking moral fiber. I hope he knows Lewis won.

      1. You guys haven’t read the entire BBC article. If anyone, it’s Hamilton and Dennis lacking “moral fiber”.

  4. The Alonso Chronicles

    Could we have one of these until the weekend? You know like some sort of goodbye, surely there is plenty of material. Keith you can make some parallel ones about his racing and what-not, just to keep everyone happy.

    You can call the series of articles: Not the goodbye he needed but the goodbye he deserved

    1. “If you can’t leave happy…. just leave!”

    2. The comments section would be juicy, guaranteed.

  5. Good article. Being tired of all the sorrow and hype about alonso leaving F1. The sport will be a better place without him.

    1. No it will not. Like him, loathe him or hate him.. Fernando Alonso has been a darn exciting racer who made my love for F1 ‘t kbetween 2001 & now grow massively.

      I don’t care what sort of person people claim him to be. None of us know him personally, I’ve never met him, don’t know him personally but I’ll sure as heck miss him. We all believe the stuff we read on websites and newspapers and on Twitter. How much of it is true? I don’t know.

      Wasn’t all this spygate stuff instigated by Mike Couglan and Nigel Stepney?

      F1 will be a less exciting sport from 2019 without Fernando Alonso. No matter what sort of person he is in the paddock, in the garage or at home he’s a great racer with a great sense of humour. I’ll miss him.

      1. If people read the BBC article in full they will see the story is not as one sided as the comments here seem to make it out to be, yes Alonso was wrong to try and blackmail Ron Dennis but Lewis was not squeaky clean either.

        I won’t miss Alonso, he is undoubtedly a highly talented driver but he seems to have a built in self destruct mode, bad choices, bad decisions and now says he is leaving F1 because it has no show appeal, sorry but the truth is that the top teams don’t want him or his disruptive impact.

        Some people believe that without him F1 wont be as exciting, I have to disagree … we have Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and the other new boys to entertain us, but what I would love to see is him in Indycar full time and do well, hope he wins the 500.

        1. He should also check out the Baja 1000.

      2. Also show Lewis taking no notice of team orders and him being so big on respect 🤔

    2. If you don’t appreciate Alonso’s abitlies and the simple fact that he is a well deserved f1 legend, then you don’t understand f1. The sport is Gr8 with him, his commentary in past 2 years has been tongue in cheek often, overstated to make a point, his comments in cockpit are calculated, but still lost in translation often,

      1. Is he a legend?

        Why do you think he is a legend?

        1. HansieSlim (@)
          21st November 2018, 9:40

          Double world champion who ended Ferrari and Schumacher’s winning streak in a car that was not as dominating as Lewis’ car has been for his last four championships = legend

          1. He didn’t end Schumacher’s winning streak, new tyres regulations do! And the second year, with the best car in the grid, and some extra hidden “devices” (illegal launch start control, mass dumpers) and Schumacher dominated him until the car broke in the last race. So don’t make up the history like u would, because that didn’t happen, only in your imagination.

    3. I miss Flavio Briatore. And no, I never liked him one bit, and was allways sceptical about drivers who worked with him for prolonged times, yet… F1 is running out of villains, and all the intrigue and the cheating is missing from the somewhat soap-opera-appeal F1 had in earlier years. We’ve had far to few scandals in recent times. And besides villains, further in the past F1 has also run out of comical characters and teams, and the sometimes unbelievable things backmarkers brought to the grid.
      Those, to me, are core reasons why F1 is becoming a bit stale, rather than anything about the ontrack-action. Because if there have been more overtakes in 80s and early 90s -races, they were rarely to be seen on camera.

      1. You don’t think Williams is comical this year😉

  6. Maybe that’ws why there a so few F1 movies: there is only bad guys.

  7. Excellent racer but I never liked Alonso as a person, so, it’s not surprising for me. Just like demanding apology from RBR that he was offered a deal. What an astronomical d.head.

  8. I’m sure that looking back on his career, Alonso has made a lot of decisions that he regrets; probably most of them in 2007. If Hamilton or Vettel were lingering in a poor McLaren for the last four years, you could bet that one of the top teams would be trying to make room for them. Perhaps it’s an indication of all the bridges Alonso has burned that his only realistic options now lie outside the sport.

    For his sake, I’m pleased that he managed to get his two World Championships because he certainly deserved them. In my opinion, he’s consistently the best driver since Schumacher. He has an incredible talent of fighting an average car to places it shouldn’t be (see Ferrari 2012 for details).

    If he’d concentrated on driving in 2007, he would very likely have won the Championship, with a good chance of winning in 2008 if he’d stuck around. The two paths of Hamilton vs Alonso post-2007 perfectly indicates how the careers of two equally talented drivers can diverge based on attitude and decision making. All that said, Alonso’s not the first one to speak out about Ron Dennis (Raikkonen, Prost, Lauda, Coulthard, Montoya… to name but a few).

    1. Agree with you on his talent, but can’t say I agree that he wasn’t concentrating on driving when LH refused that team order and things unraveled from there. This was a newly crowned 2 time WDC that was being treated with total disrespect by a rookie. And Ron Dennis didn’t do enough to support FA and penalize LH ie. didn’t manage the situation.

      1. “This was a newly crowned 2 time WDC that was being treated with total disrespect by a rookie. And Ron Dennis didn’t do enough to support FA and penalize LH”

        Oh, so was Lewis mean to have bowed down and worship the ground he walked on?

        “First of all, his self-confidence assured him he would have no problem beating a driver in his rookie season.”

        That line was taken from the original article written by Andrew Benson. The little disrespectful rookie surely damaged his self confidence

        1. Nope. Nobody said bow down and worship the ground he walked on. Just show some respect and do what the team asked.

          1. Did Alonso show the team or Hamilton any respect? Alonso’s paranoia began to rear its ugly head long before Monaco or Hungary

            “That would not have been an issue if he had been decisively faster than his team-mate. But he wasn’t. Hamilton was immediately on the pace, giving Alonso a hard time on track, and the older man did not like it.

            In the first race of the season in Australia, Hamilton announced his intentions by passing his team-mate around the outside of the first corner just after the start, before Alonso re-passed him in the pits to take second behind Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

            Alonso won next time out in Malaysia, but team harmony was already fracturing.

            Hamilton’s performances were unsettling Alonso. Hamilton’s father Anthony was arguing his son’s case vehemently and consistently with Dennis and his number two Martin Whitmarsh. And Alonso was beginning to make the point to Dennis that the two drivers should not be racing each other. The cocktail was combustible.”

            Lewis wasn’t in F1 to just ‘make up the numbers’

          2. He did. He drove fast, and won races.

          3. @robbie

            Ham was no slouch from the get go… and has proven himself to be a match/equal if not better at race craft than alonso esp in rain where real talent shines! If Alo doesnt respect his team mate, why do you think his team mate should respect him… if he cant match him on merrit, why alo needs team to shove lewis aside?

            his behaviour/threats shown his real ugly face as a person… noone doubted his skills, but he didnt expect to be beaten by rookie esp after being 2 wdc crowns… my personal opinion is that he feared lewis, and wanted his shadow over him using his 2wdc credentials… if he didnt sabotaged hamilton, ham would have 6 wdc by now most likely… and noone would bash him now… only reason he has been taken to mclaren again is HONDA wanted him which they regretted dearly…

      2. @Robbie – surely you’d agree that his head wasn’t totally focussed on driving the car quickly in 2007. I’m not saying he wasn’t trying his best when he was on track, but I’m sure that with his off-track exploits, he must have left some performance somewhere.

        I agree that Dennis didn’t manage the situation at all well. I can’t blame Hamilton for being fast, just as I can’t blame Alonso for being frustrated that his team-mate was fast. I simply think that, with the benefit of hindsight, Alonso would probably revise some of his actions in 2007, whereas Hamilton might not.

        1. @ben-n Perhaps. It’s just so hard to know, to be claiming FA was too distracted to drive as well as he could have. Wouldn’t it be just as easy to claim he was as focused as ever given that he started to feel RD was favouring LH by his inaction when LH refused that team order that set the ball rolling?

          1. @Robbie – absolutely; we can never know for sure… the joy of armchair opinions!

            Between Alonso, Hamilton and Dennis, there is no innocent party in the shenanigans of 2007; but I know who I’d point to personally as the “least innocent”…

      3. @robbie

        You could also argue if McLaren had supported Hamilton better they would have won the WDC with a rookie driver. It would have been a, literally, legendary feat.

        Instead, well, let’s just move on.

        1. @slotopen Not sure how they could have supported Hamilton better, but as to moving on…probably a good idea.

          1. “Not sure how they could have supported Hamilton better”

            Maybe by not denying him the win in Monaco?

          2. Pull him in 3 laps earlier in China, when the Bridgestone guys told them to?

          3. By not giving Alonso the better strategy in Australia?

      4. but can’t say I agree that he wasn’t concentrating on driving when LH refused that team order

        But you can when Alonso was sitting in the pits like a child earning himself a grid penalty, or trying to blackmail his team into screwing over his teammate because he was finding it too difficult to beat him on track.

      5. Well said!!

    2. The two paths of Hamilton vs Alonso post-2007 perfectly indicates how the careers of two equally talented drivers can diverge based on attitude and decision making.

      Good quote/wise lesson, @ben-n.

    3. When you resort to blakmailing your team boss and then offer cash payments to the mechanics so that they would side with, you don’t deserve a drive in any team.

      1. I agree – naturally, blackmail in any sport is unacceptable; indeed in any form of life.

        Given his off-track reputation, I can’t say I would sign Alonso unless I was building an entire team around him. His talent is unquestionable, but perhaps you could argue that he brings more negative points than he can outweigh with even his considerable driving skills.

        1. Alonso had a self-entitlement attitude and no one should dear challenge him. Flavio adhered to that policy. 2007 was the only time in his entire career that he found himself matched against someone who was just as quick and ruthless on track like he was and that did not sit well with him.

          He is by no means a fantastic driver, but i don’t buy into the notion that he is the best of his or any generation.

          1. He is by no means a fantastic driver, but I don’t buy into the notion that he is the best of his or any generation.

            Now this statement has just lost you all credibility. Not a fantastic driver? He might be terrible off the track but on the track, he was certainly up there with the best. He beat Hamilton in the standings 4 years on the trot from 2010-2013, despite only arguably having the stronger car in 2013.

          2. He is by no means a fantastic driver, but i don’t buy into the notion that he is the best of his or any generation.

            No offense but your opinion seems to be biased as it is so obviously off the mark as his peers rate him as one of the best including your idol.

          3. @mashiat

            You might wanna read what i wrote, because at no point did i not say he’s not a fantastic driver


            Wait, so because Lewis and his peers view him as such, so should i?…. Oh, that’s how it works?… ok

          4. at no point did i not say he’s not a fantastic driver

            Triple negative. Now my head hurts ;)

          5. @KGN11 Except for when you quite literally stated: “He is by no means a fantastic driver”. How can you argue that you didn’t say that?

          6. By all means necessary a fantastic driver ;-)

            You may have misspoke there

  9. before the farewell, Racefans should recover other Teflonso themes
    did he know about the Singapore 2008 arrangement or just accepted a stupid fuel strategy for no reason?

  10. Instead of getting his head down and fighting Hamilton, Alonso chose to play politics, burning bridges and building a reputation that did not help later. Too much talent wasted by self doing.

  11. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    20th November 2018, 14:05

    Sounds like Alonso behaviour – sadly not the only example of his ego behaviour – brilliant driver but horrible person and I am happy he will be gone from F1

    1. You haven’t read the entire BBC article. Lewis and Dennis were the “horrible” people.

  12. Is it curious to anyone else that the BBC “reports” this?

    Alonso made many mistakes in his career, but I’m always amused when these “reports” about these private conversations are randomly exposed 11 years after they happened. Never by anyone in the room, but by some random journalist who claims to have knowledge.

    The BBC especially loves to gloss over the ignored team orders by Lewis and extreme mismanagement by Ron Dennis to make Alonso the villain. Everyone hates Alonso for expecting a rookie to be more respectful, but they ignore Lewis’ constant bickering about Rosberg, Bottas, or anyone else who doesn’t move over for him.

    1. “but they ignore Lewis’ constant bickering about Rosberg, Bottas, or anyone else who doesn’t move over for him.”

      He still didn’t blackmail his team or asked that they sabotage their cars, he just goes out there and beat them on track. I mean, is that not what the man dubbed ‘the greatest driver of his generation’ should have done?

      Would you believe the word of Mark Priestley?

      1. Uh actually Hamilton has on more than one occasion tried to undermine his teams. He tweeted team data when partnered with Button and was losing. He whined about garages when Nico was beating him. He was investigated and actually found guilty of lying to stewards, something Alonso has never been found guilty of. Mercedes themselves despite giving him the fastest car of all time for 5 years in a row have even commented on his phone calls and needing extra reassurances. His father, in the article referenced, was shown to have greatly lobbied against Lewis’ team mate both internally and externally. What’s your glorified speech about just driving again? The only driver who just drives is Kimi.

        1. Excellent!!

    2. Yes it is curious, this is a story made for British people to love Lewis and hate alonso, it plays so much on ideologies and poletics to make a hero and villain.
      really immateur but is programmed correctly for western viewers as witnessed by comments above.

      1. Wow! You really don’t understand the British people or the British press.

    3. I guess the wisdom of those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it applies, but this is a very sad episode in F1 history. It just leaves you wishing you didn’t need to go over this again. The only thing that I’m surprised about in this report is that it appeared before the Grand Prix, not after it was over. Who was the source of this information? I don’t see any names mentioned. I don’t recall this bit about Alonso preventing Hamilton from posting a Qualifying time. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t.

    4. Given that at least Dennis, Whitmarsh, Alonso (and his manager), as well as at least Mosley (and thus likely Bernie Ecclestone as well) knew about this, I’d say it was only a matter of time people. Now that Alonso is out of F1, it’s not harming his relationship with the team anymore. Those who then go ‘but Hamilton’ are a bit pathetic to me (not from UK, though admittedly a bit of a Hamilton fan) – the article mentions exactly what Hamilton did there, but also show why the stewards thought Alonso’s actions merited a penalty, and that was before he started blackmailing his team.

      The recent Andrea Stella article about working with Alonso as a driver was great to show us why Alonso was deserving of at least two WDC’s, and why he is still considered one of the very best around. It is a pity (for his results, and his ability to show us the best in the best cars) that he unites the site shown here with his great talent with racing cars. I gather a lot of people here like him better for it; I can’t really say I do, and neither do the big teams, I would say. He blackmailed the team ‘because Lewis started it’, come on.

    5. Isn’t it interesting that days before the last race Alonso will participate in, this story springs up out of nowhere.
      Benson of course seems to be neutral but then all of a sudden brings a blackmail incident into it knowing full well it will grab headlines smearing Alonso.
      Could he have waited until after he was gone to publish it? Sure, but it wouldn’t have the same negative effect.
      And of course this site, which is anti-Alonso, makes sure to pick up on it to spread the “good” news.
      The British media are a lowly lot, but despite their efforts, it won’t affect Alonso’s recognition as one of the all time greats.
      Not a VER fan until now but I hope he hands Hamilton his @$$ next year.

      1. Being a “lowly lot” isn’t a monopoly of the British media! Replace British with any country in the world and you’d still be correct. That said, the BBC are one the better, although not perfect, outlets worldwide.

        1. The British media mightn’t have a monopoly on being a “lowly lot” but they’re certainly very good at at. And while the BBC were one of the better ones, their news reporting has become more and more sensationalist over recent decades and has become increasingly shallow. It appears that they are in a race to the bottom with the Murdoch muck.
          That said, Benson is an F1 reporter and his job is reporting on entertainment, not in-depth analysis on the latest political manoeuvring over Brexit. He is, however, not a particularly competent one but sadly was the last one standing when the BBC’s F1 team was decimated a few years back.
          Ten or fifteen years ago the BBC was one of the very top news sites in the world, but these days it is rarely worth a visit – particularly for F1.

      2. Nick,

        I’m with you. This article, which highlights only certain aspects to make Alonso look like a villain, should not have appeared a few days before his retirement. And I hope Verstappen lands Lewis a big blow. Not only that, I hope Alonso will have such an illustrious career that even his haters can’t help but acknowledge his greatness, which many of us already acknowledge.

  13. This is the type of driver I’m interested in viewing, someone to whom the sport means everything. I’m not interested in watching a sterile spokesperson for the best paying sponsor. I don’t expect drivers to be nice people. In fact I can’t name one driver on the current grid I’d like to meet for a pint (or a sports drink) and that’s fine, massive egos and an unhealthy obsession with winning are powerful tools for a driver. Look at Schumacher, even the scandals we know about are ridiculously unsporting.
    I would go as far as to say that Senna who I worshipped as a kid (like many people on here) was all heart and passion yes but also obnoxiously bullheaded and hot tempered on and off the track.
    I also completely disagree with the previous article on here re. the Verstappen push on Ocon, people are not robots and drivers are the most hot headed egotistical animals on the planet (up there with 100m sprinters) and I enjoy watching that. The audience are smart enough to understand that blackmail or violence is not acceptable behavior generally but also that if you breed a dog for fighting you can’t expected it not to bite every now and again.

  14. “but they ignore Lewis’ constant bickering about Rosberg, Bottas, or anyone else who doesn’t move over for him.”

    He still didn’t blackmail his team or asked that they sabotage their cars, he just goes out there and beat them on track. I mean, is that not what the man dubbed ‘the greatest driver of his generation’ should have done?

    1. He did threaten to quit the team after Monaco if they ever told him to not race Alonso again & Hungary qualifying was also not the only time that year (Or in future years) where he went against team instructions.

      1. Sorry, but that’s not nearly the same to me @gt-racer (and look where McLaren ended up w/o Hamilton, looks to me that in 2012 maybe he should have disobeyed the team more and perhaps they could have won the WDC …).

      2. @gt-racer

        He did threaten to quit the team after Monaco if they ever told him to not race Alonso again

        If so, that was a brilliant answer, and indeed the only one. We all know what the alternative is: accept the message ‘Fernando is faster than you’ and roll over for the rest of your career with the team.

        Going against team instructions is something else. It may work for that race (or qualifying session) but that’s it. You’ll presumably face a penalty, some kind of redress and next time you’ll be trusted less or threatened with a more serious sanction. That’s always puzzled me about Hungary 2007. Why didn’t Alonso just let Hamilton have a qualifying run and then use the incident for subsequent leverage as the innocent party? Instead he did the opposite, involving the team in his revenge, getting himself and them penalized, and turning Hamilton into the aggrieved party?

        The reported idea of asking the team to let Hamilton to run out of fuel also, I think, sheds a fresh light on Singapore 2008 and Renault’s use of its second driver to Alonso’s benefit. It indicates a driver quite content to enlist other people in dubious and anti-sporting strategies for his personal benefit, whatever the cost to them – as shown by the qualifing incident itself, where he effectively coopted the pit crew. If you pan out from those tactics, you probably get some idea of the level of inter-team politics Hamilton and his father were up against from very early on in 2007.

        1. and Black

  15. If I was in Alonso’s shoes, Ie believing in a contract he has and being the Spanish and emotive guy that he is, I would do the same! This posted on a British site will no doubt trigger lots of anti-alonso hate, but I actually love reading that he might have done this, he was thinking of other ways to disrupt a competitor and testing rules limits for an advantage. Its a shame Ron Dennis didnt think the same, they could have walked the 2007 championship.

  16. What Alonso has done off the track, especially at McLaren, has not been great. Blackmailing your team boss should never be condoned. However, I get the suspicion that had this article put Senna’s or Schumacher’s name in place of Alonso’s, the comment section would be very different indeed. We’d be talking about a driver who wanted to win at all costs, and how it showed they were willing to get one up on their teammates using any means necessary.

    1. That would just underline my view of Senna & Schumacher. They both had prodigious speed and were great talents but to my mind, any driver deliberately taking out a competitor to ‘win’ a world championship should be docked the same number of points as a win.

      Would certainly improve the show as deliberate cheating would actually be punished.

  17. For good or ill, in my opinion the 2007 season was one of the most exciting of the modern era. If you were to make a film about modern F1, that’s the year I’d choose. I remember watching open-mouthed seeing teammates stooping to new levels of ruthlessness to get one over on each other.

    I don’t think we’ve had anything so incredible since.

    1. @mazdachris – Rosberg at Monaco quali comes to mind :-)

      1. @phylyp For sure, though that was pretty much just an isolated moment.

        2007 had everything. The seasoned reigning champ, the prodigious rookie, both new to a resurgent McLaren team at the peak of its powers headed up by hard-nosed, no-nonsense Ron Dennis. A rivalry that built and built to the point it eventually blew up. Drivers disobeying team orders, Alonso parking his car in the garage during quali and his subsequent demotion. The finale with three drivers in contention that saw both Alonso and Hamilton defeated by a single point. And loads of other things going on that season, like Kubica’s horror show of a crash and Toro Rosso giving a debut drive to a ten year old Sebastian Vettel. The great moments with Super Aguri and the far less great moments with Honda’s Earth Nightmare.

        Really, it’s a script straight out of Hollywood.

        1. @mazdachris – when you put it like that… :-) Seeing how nicely you’ve described it, you should be the one writing the script.

        2. @mazdachris What about 2012? You had a huge battle every race between plenty of drivers. We saw a return of the old guard in Raikkonen, we saw a divorce in what seemed like a sustainable relationship in Hamilton and McLaren, we saw Maldonado win a race out of the blue, we saw Alonso get to within 3 points of the title in a car that wasn’t capable of fighting at that level. You could make a whole movie on the Brazil race alone. That race remains one of the best races ever.

      2. Hi Phylyp – the way Hollywood operates they could simply slot the ROS/Monaco sequence (which ploy, incidentally he learned from SCH… ;-) into 2007…

        1. LOL, yes, they’re likely to do that :-)

  18. Why is this suddenly news now, LOL?

    1. Book release next week.
      Movie just in time for Christmas.
      Can’t wait for the musical.

  19. I’ll just say this about 2007.

    Pretty much everything that has been said about it tends to show some bias towards one side (McLaren/Hamilton) and very few dig into the reason’s Alonso had some of the feeling’s he did that year & how some of what was going on within the team played into that.

    It’s the same with the whole blackmail stuff, Even at the time the English speaking media especially were focused & reporting on that more than they were the actual activities that Mclaren were guilty of. I don’t excuse Fernando’s behavior in this regard but I also think his threats were used to conveniently not have to talk about what the team were guilty of & just how deeply embedded in the team what they had been doing actually was.
    I mean how often was it/is it brought up that upon inspecting the 2008 McLaren design blueprints it was found to include detailed parts under the skin that were an identical copy of what was in the Ferrari documents they had? The quick shift brake balance system for instance.

    Just like with the 2005 USGP there is a lot of facts that have never been reported as they don’t fit the ‘popular’ narrative.

    1. So what did the Spanish media have to say at the time?

    2. McLaren were caught red handed, they used the dossier to their benefit, material facts were never in doubt, and they were given a massive fine. What else did you want disclosed about this? In fact, given how deep the conspriracy went in the team, it’s remarkable that people like Alsono and De La Rosa, who seemed to have direct knowledge of what was going on, escaped their own direct sanction.

      1. That, indeed @dmv, @gt-racer; I have read a lot of people (like Marc Priestley for example) saying the Hamiltons were certainly not without fault, and even in the referenced BBC article say

        “The problems had started before,” a source says. “This was just the final volcanic eruption. But Lewis started it. Let’s not forget that. If he had let Fernando past, there would not have been an explosion.”

        and it also talks about how after Monaco Dennis and Alonso hardly spoke – that does not say ‘Alonso was solely repsonsible’ to me.

        But, apart from Dennis not handling the whole thing well, and Anthony Hamilton seemingly egging on his son to demand he could go for gold, it was Alonso who was the experienced WDC who might have been expected to keep his cool, while Hamilton was a rookie. Petulant, but a rookie.

        In addition, after the Alonso/Dennis breakdown (after Monaco?!), there was even less room to put a lid on Hamilton, because with Alonso likely out after 2007, they needed to keep the other driver, so in that sense, Alonso’s moves dug his own hole deeper (a bit like his getting moved out of Ferrari later). And then he shot his foot with that stupid blackmail attempt? And all that while there wasn’t a lot of direct evidence of Hamilton at all being aware of the extent of the spygate stuff, while Alonso was deeply into using a lot of it.

        I do think Dennis should have listened more seriously to Alonso’s ‘but look where Ferrari is’ and told Hamilton they needed rules of engagement for a reason and that his time would come (surely Toto Wolff would agree ;), even if that argument was self interested by Alonso, he wasn’t wrong (look at who won it, at the end).

        1. The same could be said if they backed Hamilton fully and Alonso played the supporting role. At the point it went south Hamilton was leading the championship.

      2. @dmw At that time (and since 2003), the FIA had had an immunity rule (and, indeed, a potential $1 m bounty) for anyone revealing information leading to a technical infringement being discovered. I don’t think the expectation was for drivers to use it, but it would make sense that Alonso and de la Rosa would do so, if they felt that this was the correct course of action.

  20. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    20th November 2018, 16:38

    I stopped supporting Alonso during 2007, the way he behaved was absolutely disgraceful – it’s one thing to try to politically out-manoeuvre your teammate, quite another to collaborate in cheating only to subsequently use that in an attempted blackmail. McLaren has never recovered from that blow. He showed how little he’d learned when crashgate subsequently came to light in his second spell at Renault – he clearly knew what was going on, the strategy was crazy and could only have worked by Piquet Jr instigating a safety car period immediately after Alonso’s pitstop. A great talent, but a lousy sportsman.

  21. Whatever. Nothing sticks at the Teflonman anyway.

  22. I feel like this was reported or known at the time, the idea that Alonso tried to blackmail Dennis and that Dennis instead went to the law rather than let Alonso run the team henceforth.

    As for Alonso’s strategy, he was at the time the most influential driver in the sport, but he seemed to forget that Hamilton was a golden child who had been nurtured by Dennis himself from a wee bairn. And, by that point, Hamilton had already proven by his speed against Alsonso that he was going to be the team’s future.

    1. DaveW – you’re quite right, but I think the request to have HAM run out of fuel is new…

      1. Yeah, I was pretty much familiar with all aspects except the running out of fuel bit. I remember hearing that Alonso had demanded preferential treatment at Hungary after Lewis had ignored the team orders & plonked the McLaren on pole for the fourth time that year, but no details were forthcoming. By that point Alonso had to realize that Hamilton’s pace was real & that he wasn’t a pushover: Lewis had out qualified & out raced him wheel to wheel @ Montreal & Indy, coming home ahead. What’s more, Lewis had been leading the driver’s championship since after they left Monaco tied for the points lead. Hungary was the last straw Alonso’s camel could bear, apparently. How different his career might have been if he’d just gotten his head down & drove like we know he can. Lewis wasn’t as measured as he is now.

    2. @dmw That Alonso had made some sort of threat against Ron Dennis that got up Ron’s nose was known at the time – even Alonso didn’t bother hiding this. The question was what, exactly was threatened – for not all threats constitute blackmail (which, lest we forget, is a serious crime). Those claiming “blackmail” had, before this point, been stating that the blackmail was to reveal Alonso’s knowledge of Spygate – which in that highly charged context, already made sense in terms of everyone involved’s motives and subsequent actions. Only in recent days had it been suggested (to my knowledge) that anything be done to Hamilton himself.

  23. Agree – well put!

  24. It’s water under the bridge. These massively talented drivers are just human beings, capable of grace and generosity and alternatively, being selfish jackssses. Alonso is a particularly interesting character, his behavior stunted his potential to a nearly tragic degree.

    A cautionary tale from which Hamilton has apparently learned… I wonder if Max will do the same?

    1. ^ The best summation.

    2. Big thumbs up!

  25. Hamilton and his dad seem very similar to Max and Jos. Enough said.

  26. Reading the article on this subject thanks to the BBC, in my opinion several factors came together to cause the McLaren debacle eleven years ago. One of the major ones was that few people thought that Hamilton would be as fast as he was, most thought that just Raikkonen and Alonso were going to fight for the championship.
    The second was that Fernando, with a rookie as a team mate, assumed that he would have number one status in the team. No one knows what status Ron Dennis promised Alonso upon moving to McLaren, but as a defending double world champion, most would have expected number one status for the Spaniard. Michael Schumacher had retired, Alonso was the main star up until that point. That is important to remember.
    Third, is Ron Dennis. In my opinion he tried to please both drivers, which was never going to work. When Hamilton’s true speed in an F1 car was realized, Ron knew he had to move heaven and earth to keep him. Not unlike Verstappen at Red Bull now, with the father lurking in the background never too shy to voice his opinion.
    Ron Dennis mishandled the whole situation, and it snowballed. $100 million later and a lost championship, you can see why the people at Stuttgart wanted to form their own team.
    The seeds of McLaren’s demise were sown in 2007, and the irony of it, was that Alonso has been directly affected by the disastrous Honda and Renault powered cars that have resulted from it!

    1. And the movie will be called No Honor Among Thieves.

  27. Greatest F1 driver in history!

  28. I’m amazed that among the multi part BBC article, that had a lot of different interesting pieces of info that I hadn’t read before, that this is the headline and article chosen to pull from it.

    1. @tim-m This was the only thing that struck me as new and newsworthy so far. But these decisions are always part knowledge (what’s new to one person may not be ‘new’) and part opinion (what’s significant to one person may be insignificant to the rest).

      1. Newsworthy?
        You jumped on the bandwagon and published this so Alonso will have to answer questions about it making what would have been a nice farewell a media slaughter.
        Great work!

        1. To be fair, BBC published it and Racefans has somewhat smaller influence on the outcome you are suggesting.

          1. Nonetheless, if you google Fernando Alonso, you see a caption of the headline with Racefan as the publisher.
            Pathetic when you have stoop that low to get viewers.

      2. It’s pathetic, not newsworthy. Think that’s the word you were looking for.

    2. This was exactly my thoughts as well. The 5 part series on Beeb was a great read.

      Sadly, Fernando’s entire career will be/has been diluted down to this one moment. The narrative is simple Hamilton = Good, Alonso = Bad. The role of everyone else involved is conveniently forgotten. I’d like to have seen how any of Fernando’s peers would have reacted in the same situation.

      I am happy that Fernando is leaving F1. It will end this debate of his character and how engineering his own demise to bed.

      1. @jaymenon10

        Alonso isn’t done with, Jay. You’re spot on in your assessment of the Alonso-Hamilton situation. But there’s lot more to look forward to in Alonso’s career, and at the end of it all he’ll shine brighter than Hamilton with all his motorsport exploits. God has His way of eventually getting the balance right.

    3. @tim-m

      That too a few days before Alonso’s retirement.

  29. Thing is with us fans is that we read Twitter, news reports on the Internet and in newspapers and books and believe everything that is said.

    Hamiltons idol, Ayrton Senna, took out Alain Prost deliberately to win the world title and yet cos the guy is dead everyone loves him and forgets his past transgressions.

  30. “Thing is with us fans is that we read Twitter, news reports on the Internet and in newspapers and books and believe everything that is said.”

    So who should we believe? What should we read?

  31. If this is true than i am happy Alonso suffered what he suffered. He desrves it. But it also shows what Kind of a person Ron Dennis was, that even after Alonso blackmailed him, he still went on and signed Alonso again at the end of 2014.
    Ron also had an embarrassing exit from Mclaren so he deserves that too.

    In Alonso’s words ‘Karma’.

    And look where Lewis is…

  32. I must say I’m dubious of the section of the article stating that Alonso tried to blackmail the team. Everywhere else in the article statements are clearly attributed to someone but in the blackmail story that is not the case. As the story does not make Alonso or his manager look good, one can assume they did not leak the story, which leaves Dennis or Whitmarsh as the leakers. I doubt they did which means at best this was a third hand account of something that may or may not be true and may or may not have been confirmed by the reporter.

  33. Hi Keith,

    I think this article is quoted really out of context. I visit Racefans everyday but this article has prompted me to register and post this comment.

    The Andrew Benson’s articles all 4 of them on BBC must be read to understand what happened . I am not Alonso’s fan or anything infact I am Hamilton’s fan.

    So just to briefly add some context to it.
    It was Alonso’s turn to go out first instead Hamilton went out and ignored repeated team orders costing Alonso in qualifying when everything was so close in terms of championship.

    Then Alonso did the pit stop payback and Hamilton’s dad persuaded race director to issue Alonso 5 place penalty.

    Next day Alonso made this threat in the heat of the moment.

    I am sorry but I did not expect this from Racefans.

    1. @fxr8au1 I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the claim about Anthony Hamilton persuading Charlie Whiting before, and I wouldn’t take it at face value.

      On the rest, I have covered the context of what Hamilton was doing. I haven’t gone into exhaustive detail but as the rest of the story has been known for 11 years I didn’t consider it necessary:

      1. So you pick and choose as to what you determine to be “face value” ?
        Sounds valid to me:)

    2. @Fx
      They aren’t interested in truth or facts here. It’s a British site hell bent on rubbing Alonso’s face into the dirt at every opportunity. Always been that way.
      Good news is after next week, they will have to let it go.
      Then it will be Vettel and Versteppen’s turn:)

      1. Amen to that!

      2. I haven’t noticed the bias against Alonso here. The articles seem to be neutral and the comments seem pretty evenly split between those in favour and those against.

        On the other had, it does seem that the subject matter in question invites the criticism that has arisen. If this is due to a lack of attention to facts, please enlighten me.

    3. “…Hamilton went out and ignored repeated team orders”

      He didn’t ‘ignore’ them, the Ferrari’s where released right behind Alonso, Hamilton did slow up but couldn’t just let Alonso past without getting tangled up with Raikonnen.

      1. Uh, no..he ignored team orders several times. Fact!

    4. @fxr8au1

      That’s the fact of the matter. Alonso haters (not referring to any particular person here) like to portray Hamilton as the noble, golden boy. He and his dad played a great deal of politics in his rookie year, and one of the reasons for that was Ron Dennis, who was too receptive to Hamilton’s tricks. That’s the reason for Alonso’s anger. And Alonso was younger then, and all the anger spilled out in the way Alonso behaved with Ron and Martin Whitmarsh back then. Ron realized his mistake, as is quite clear in the comments he made when he announced Alonso’s re-entry to the team at the end of 2014.

      This same phenomenon was witnessed in the Senna-Prost episode. Ayrton Senna was always portrayed as the noble, true and divine individual while Alain Prost was the devious, wicked, son of the devil. Unfortunately, what’s portrayed becomes paraded as the fact.

  34. This is all very pretty (or should I say petty?) but does anyone else find it curious that this article comes out at the same time the spanish PM threatens to reject the Brexit’s draft because of the Gibraltar issue?

    1. Please elaborate?

  35. what is the source here? for real? journalism?

  36. This is the most shoddy “article” I’ve seen on this site. It’s downright slanted in its view. You’ve cherry picked one or two points and presented them as an entire story. You claim Hamilton simply “refused an instruction” from McLaren in Hungary, when its well established that he broke prearranged team protocol, and the very article you’ve siphoned info from lays the trigger and blame for the incident on Hamilton’s shoulders.

    No one could guess that from the gossip column article you’ve put up here. I generally thought your site was better than this, but I suppose at the end of the day it’s a British blog, for a largely British sport. You may fool some more than happy clowns into only seeing part of the picture, but not everyone.

  37. Lets forget about the blackmail.
    By getting the grid penalty and only finishing 4th it was this race where he lost the Title. Had he finished 2nd or 3rd, he would have had more points at the end. Wasnt he tied in points with hamilton and only one point behind kimi?
    I dont care if he tried to blackmail them. That was just “Karma”.

  38. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st November 2018, 12:33

    It doesn’t excuse his actions or behavior but I believe that Fernando was heavily influenced by Flavio Briatore especially in the early stages of his career. In a way Flavio was more than just Alonso’s manager – more of a father figure to Alonso. If I recall reading correctly, Fernando was the driver at his wedding. I don’t know if it’s possible to come into contact with Flavio for so long and not become like Alonso. Alonso’s career may be the one thing that Flavio regrets the most, assuming people like Flavio can have regrets :-)

    We may have a similar situation next year at Ferrari where Leclerc will be pairing up with Vettel.

  39. @keithcollantine
    Interesting timing of this article, i m sure you would have posted something about Schumi and Hill s crash before his last race in 2012. Since Fernando is retiring and this is how you expect us to remember him, i m out, from watch F1 and from reading this site.

    1. Interesting timing of this article

      Blame the BBC?

      i m out, from watch F1 and from reading this site.

      Good riddance!

      1. He’s already gone chief – read closely.

  40. I consider that Fernando Alonso does behave like a Petulant Child at times and has some flaws in character, but he is still an outstanding race driver and this makes him very interesting and entertaining for fans of Formula 1. In 2007 Alonso came from driving the Renault in 2006, which required unique driving style, there is an excellent article online look up ‘Driving Styles Part A’ Alonso, Part B is Schumacher. When he joined Mclaren he was adapting back to a conventional driving style and this took time, over the season his performance improved considerably. Alonso would be looking to mould the team around him into 2008 as the Number 1 driver, Lewis was far quicker than any one expected and would have taken Alonso by surprise? Why he did not just let his driving do the talking, I do not know back to those character flaws. For a Mclaren not to win the Constructors and Drivers Championship in 2007 is a lesson that all teams now make sure does not happen. In the past Ron has also favoured particular drivers Hakkinen over Coultard so no reason to doubt that this did not happen with Hamilton over Alonso. If Fernando’s inappropriate behaviour, was completely without reason, Ron would not have re employed him for a second time.

    1. @andyb1 well said. And let’s not forget, Hamilton refused to follow team orders.

  41. Senna, Vettel, Schumacher(ask damon hill, villeneuve, alonso: monaco parking incident) etc also used questionable tactics, exuded massive egos/self importance and petulant behaviour on many occasions. Alonso is no different to them at all. Good boys like rosberg needed to get their elbows out and be ruthless to finally beat a hamilton type driver(now, jesus…apparently) and win the tittle. Now, you can have a robust debate on who wins and who loses in this reality that we exist in, on this planet of ours(and who would you rather be….for example, i would rather not be a bottas type driver).

    In this case, it simply didn’t work out for Alonso(like it worked out for schumacher,vettel in similar cases). Karma doesn’t exist.

    In 2007, reality smacked Alonso right in his face, just as he got his hands on a super fast mclaren. Hamilton was special and fully competitive in his rookie season. He wouldn’t be needing a year or two to grow into a racer, whilst Alonso is winning titles. Personally -as a fan- i wouldn’t want that season in any other way. It was great for us. Alonso’s career stalled from that point on…which is a shame for him and fans as well. At the end, he did burn too many bridges and ferrari didn’t have the right people at the right places during his ferrari tenure. The good old, cunning, samurai & sideburns loving, toma yelling, sun tanning spaniard will be missed in f1. The Ricky bobbys(at daytona, indy 500) should be very afraid. Adios Alonso.

  42. The title of this article should be “Hamilton ignores team and team-mate causing a massive storm.”

    The truth is, as this article and the BBC source say, Hamilton chose to let Alonso past, something which was agreed on earlier as a result of the strange rules of qualifying back then. That’s the cause for chaos.

  43. Stop talking you guys ,this is fun,but i need to go to bed,

  44. The Gods spoke to Alonso thereafter and said he will have the most frustrating F1 career from then onwards. He will never win another F1 title. Hamilton will go on to score 4 x more pole positions, 2 times more titles and 2 x more wins than Alonso. Lesson for the day sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. Alonso learnt the hard way. Lewis – Look at me now.

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