Alonso Lucky?

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by McTed, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. #1 McTed, Sep 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016

    Hamilton feels strain of life with enemy within
    Fernando Alonso should consider himself lucky to have McLaren's Ron Dennis as his boss.

    Although he might not see it this way, Fernando Alonso can count himself fortunate to have Ron Dennis as a boss. Very few managers in any sport would tolerate a player who threatens to blackmail the entire team in order to get his way and then limits future conversation to the minimum when the ploy has failed. It might have been an understandable fit of pique that drove Alonso to intimidate Dennis after the Spaniard had been penalised for his part in a row that had been started by Lewis Hamilton, but the inherent menace exposed a hitherto unseen side of Alonso's character.

    Incensed over the punishment for blocking Hamilton in the pit lane in Hungary, Alonso tried to gain respect for his position as reigning world champion by threatening to tell the FIA, the sport's governing body, about the full extent of McLaren's involvement in the Ferrari spy scandal. Dennis steadfastly refused either to be intimidated or to change his policy of equality for both drivers. Alonso quickly retracted his words. According to Dennis, he has hardly spoken at all since the incident on 5 August. Yet Dennis, driven by an almost crippling desire to be even-handed, has continued to ensure that Alonso has parity even though most team principals would feel inclined to favour Hamilton and relieve Alonso of his duties.

    These facts came to light in the transcript, released on Tuesday, of the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 13 September. Apart from underlining the absence of convincing evidence to warrant having McLaren kicked out of the Constructors' Championship and fined a savage $100million (£50m), the narrative demonstrates a note of despair as Dennis explains how his relationship with Alonso has deteriorated.

    At the beginning of the season, Dennis had rarely been happier. The Englishman saw himself in charge of a dream team with Hamilton making his debut as a promising novice and Alonso moving from Renault, with whom he had won successive championships. Now the liaison is in tatters and it is inconceivable that Alonso will be with McLaren in 2008 despite having another year to run on his contract. Yet Alonso is edging towards a third title in the knowledge that Dennis will ensure the team will not stand in his way.

    Alonso's behaviour in Hungary may have startled Dennis, but it also sent a message Hamilton is beginning to understand all too clearly. Alonso's desire to win knows no bounds and that, coupled with experience, aggression and outstanding natural ability, will be the key as the championship moves into the final three races, starting in Japan next weekend.

    Although Ferrari dominated last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton came away with the equally uncomfortable thought that, for the second race in succession, he had no answer to Alonso's speed as they finished third and fourth. The McLaren pair had taken the top two places in Italy the previous weekend, Hamilton following Alonso on each occasion and clearly unable to find that vital tenth of a second a lap that seems likely to decide such an intense contest.

    It is here Alonso's experience, gained during 102 grands prix, is coming into play as he works on the fine detail of the mechanical and aerodynamic set-up of his car. More significantly, perhaps, he has made his policy of non-communication work in his favour as he desists from the public moaning that affected his early-season efforts.

    Hamilton, on the other hand, made a small but crucial error by complaining about Alonso's tactics at the first corner of last Sunday's race. As they fought for third place, Alonso used the entire road to force Hamilton on to the asphalt run-off area on the outside of the corner. It was a marginal move, but one typical of the forceful driving to be expected on the first lap, and at such a crucial stage in the season. It prompted what will probably be the most hair-raising moment of the season as the silver cars ran side-by-side, downhill at 180mph, towards the switchback sequence at Eau Rouge. Neither driver wanted to back off, but, in the end, Hamilton had no option in the face of Alonso's unflinching determination.

    Hamilton lost out, which was no disgrace under the circumstances. His only mistake was to protest in public and let Alonso know he was rattled. Suddenly, the emphasis had changed. Hitherto the Spaniard had shown plentiful signs of being flustered by the unexpected pace of his inexperienced team-mate, a bonus for Hamilton as he continued to dominate the championship. Now the gap has been reduced to two points, Hamilton finding himself in the uncomfortable position of being the hunted as the teams head to three circuits he has not seen before, but two of which Alonso knows well.

    Hamilton's job is ensuring that the first-corner clash at Spa-Francorchamps does not become the defining moment when he began to lose the championship. The irony is that his task will be made even more difficult as Dennis bends over backwards to ensure Alonso cannot complain of unfair play.
  2. If Alonso is in Ferrari, the won't even get the chance to fart about it.
  3. I hope Alonso goes to Toyota.
  4. Yeah, I kinda like the drivers at Honda now so I'll let them have their fun.
  5. I think Alonso's ego will lead him to think that he'll be able to turn Toyota around. That is, after they give him Ralf's pay.
  6. ... as a truck driver!

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