After a team meeting before the Turkish Grand Prix to clear the air within the McLaren Team it seemed that Alonso and Hamilton have put their differences after the events at the Hungarian Grand Prix behind them, with both stating that there are no grudges being held. McLaren though were careful all weekend to ensure that both drivers did not face the assembled press together.
There were also another couple of McLaren events this week that were quite interesting, firstly Alonso arrived at the Turkish Grand Prix sporting facial hair, something that is known to annoy team principal Ron Dennis, but the next day Alonso appeared cleanshaven, leading speculation that Alonso had been told to remove it.
The other incident was after the race, where Alonso finished 3rd. In the post race celebrations Ron Dennis appeared to congratulate Alonso, but it was hardly a hardy congratulations, but rather a typical stodgy “good race” from the McLaren team principal.
With the Hungarian episodes behind them McLaren appeared to be moving forward, but Alonso let it slip this week that he is still not happy with the way he has and is being treated by McLaren.
“That is always very clear in any team, you know, to have equal opportunities to everybody and to have an equal car to your teammate,” Alonso said on BBC Radio. “What I think sometimes is that I gave the team a lot. When I arrived in December, I remember the car I drove; I remember the results they had in 2006. And now, you know, I brought to the team half a second, six tenths, whatever, and I don’t see anything giving me back.”
With English being Alonso’s second language everyone does have to be careful with the things he says, but it seems that he feels that McLaren are not giving him enough credit in their revival, given their 2006 season. It’s almost impossible to know how much Alonso and/or Hamilton have contributed to the increased success of McLaren, after all McLaren have been a championship winning team many times over the years, and know what it takes to win.
If we look back to 2006, they knew they were not going to win the championship, and their star drive Raikkonen was leaving at years end, and Montoya left mid season, so the McLaren of 2006 is not really a real representation of where they would be in 2007. I am sure they stopped development on their 2006 car and were pouring all their resources into the 2007 car.
When Alonso came along in pre-season testing McLaren would have been behind a little as they had not have a top current drivers input up until that point for the 2007 car, but obviously the car had good potential. Alonso would have contributed significantly to the program in testing, but then as a top driver he would have been expected to, it’s part of being a top driver.
Now, if he contributed as he has said, more than that, then maybe all the noise about Stepneygagte should die down and we should be looking into Alonsogate, as above the normal input of a top driver he would only be able to contribute Renault secrets and methods. Maybe what he is actually saying is “I bought a lot of Renault secrets with me to McLaren, and McLaren have used them but have not given me credit for giving those secrets to them”
Only a few people know the true sequence of events, and who contributed what to the current McLaren team, so we will probably know. Whatever happens, Alonso should be quiet and act like the true World Champion he is, not the sniveling schoolboy he seems to be turning into.