Alonso gives a hint on drivers equality at McLaren

Alonso Hamilton Hungary 2007

It had to be expected that there willl be lots of talk about the 2007 Hungaroring events ahead of this weekend race. So it is no surprise that this topic has been touched also during the press conference yesterday. And this is what Alonso had to say when asking about his feelings one year on:

Much happier this year for sure. Last year again it is true that I had a possibility to fight for the championship and it was okay. I knew that this year it was not possible any more. But if I was racing for McLaren now at this moment maybe I would be in the same position as I am now without the possibility to win. So at least I am happy to be with Renault with the full support of the team and knowing that everybody is working night and day to give me the best car possible. One day we will be seventh, one day we will be fifth and hopefully one day we will be on the podium and everybody on the podium will be there with some excitement.

This seems to me to be the strongest hint yet from Alonso on the “equal” treatment the McLaren drivers get. He has done a good job so far not talking about the details of his 1 year stint with McLaren but it looks like he may be ready to start leaking some bits and pieces :-) .

I do not believe the claims that the drivers at McLaren are equal. I have no problems with any team having number one and number two, I have problems with being told all the time that it is not the case … We only need to look back to Hockenheim to see one example. And if that is not enough, then check the interview Felipe Massa gave to Autosport (Jonathan Noble) yesterday

Q: Lewis Hamilton is number one at McLaren and you and Kimi (Raikkonen) are equal at Ferrari. Sooner or later do you think there could be a decision to change that?

Massa: “For the moment where we are is very close in terms of points. For sure, maybe when we see that one driver has a lot more points than the other driver we will see what we can do. But it is not the case now, and it doesn’t change anything at the moment for us. We are always working the same and we will keep it like that.”

Q: How much of a disadvantage is it to you that McLaren appear to be concentrating on Lewis Hamilton?

Massa: “It’s no disadvantage.”

Both Massa and Noble seem to accept it as a fact that Hamilton is number and McLaren is fully behind him…

Heikki Kovalainen on the other hand still talks nice about his time with the team. But what other options does he have if he wants front running car ? Unlike Alonso he is not a double world champion and he is yet to prove himself in F1. He can’t afford to spend few years driving pointless races in the midfield. And so he keeps the smile on his face, plays drums with Lewis Hamilton and is happy with having the equal car for another year … At the end this is what Rubens Barrichello has been doing for years at Ferrari and he is still around in F1

4 Comments Post a Comment
  1. I do not believe the claims that the drivers at McLaren are not equal. Why? Because there’s no proof. Far from “leaking some bits and pieces” all Alonso has done so far is whinge and never supplied even the merest hint of proof that he had anything other than equal treatment with Hamilton.

    The Monaco race last year makes a mockery of any claim McLaren were biaised in Hamilton’s favour. Alonso beat him fair and square – but it’s clear Hamilton would have been closer and potentially able to put him under more pressure had he been able to run the full length of his first stint. Had the roles been reversed in this scenario, one could take it as a semblance of proof they were favouring Hamilton. But it weas Alonso who benefitted from the team’s call – not Hamilton.

    Alonso hasn’t even been consistent about this equality thing. Last year he gave all kinds of mixed messages – one day he would say he deserved preferable treatment, another day he would say they should have equal treatment, another he would say equal treatment is impossible. Take this single quote from last year as an example:

    “[Dennis] didn’t promise me anything. You are always hearing about that so called equality in the team, but tell me what you brag about and I’ll tell you what you are lacking.

    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.”

    (http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/10/06/alonso-continues-attacks-on-mclaren-hamilton/)

    I also don’t believe it because the idea a team would sign a twice world champion and then give him inferior equipment to a rookie is preposterous.

    And I also don’t believe it because McLaren have always tried to sign the best two drivers available to them – they’ve never gone for a number one plus number two driver, whether explicitly or implicitly, unlike, say, Ferrari. I would take the fact they’ve only given Kovalainen a one year extension as a sign they want to sign someone they think is better (possibly Rosberg or Kubica) in 2010.

    If you want to know what Ron Dennis wants from a driver line-up, look at 1988. he had the two best drivers in the world, and they came damn near to winning every race. Dennis wants Senna/Prost, not Schumacher/Barrichello. That is what he’s always gone after. If he wanted a lieutenant to Hamilton, he’d have put Pedro de la Rosa in the car.

    Keith Collantines last blog post..2008 Hungarian Grand Prix FP2 live blog

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      sorry for the moderation queue Keith, all set now

      in Alonso Hamilton case – Alonso keeps saying that one day he will tell his side of the story so we have to wait and see. Of course no one will suggest that Alonso was hired as number 2. We should also remember that at the time Alonso signed for McLaren, Kimi was still there. So I doubt Alonso was promised clear no status. Things changed when Kimi left for Ferrari and Hamilton started to collect podiums and race wins. I totally agree that Alonso himself brought lots of troubles upon himself. I also agree that no one can deny he was treated he should have been in Monaco. But from Monaco onwards Dennis got it all wrong. Hamilton was the one challenging the team decisions (pushing Alonso in Monaco, ignoring the instructions during Hungarian quali) but nothing happened … Alonso was the villain from then on, Hamilton the darling … While I do not agree with Alonso’s actions I am not surprised he lost it …

      When you mention Kubica – it is only my feeling but I think Kubica is more Ferrari material than McLaren … Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Kubica and Alonso are on quite friendly terms ;-)

      With Heikki I still think that Heikki likes it in McLaren simply because he does not have any other better choice, and they like him in McLaren because he is the way he is …

  2. BenNo Gravatar says:

    I do not believe Alonso was ever hired to be a number 2 driver, and I don’t think Kovalainen was hired for that reason either. But that does not mean that every driver is treated equally. In this I agree with Alonso, that complete equality is impossible in Formula 1, and most other things in life for that matter.

    In many cases its is ourselves or in this case the drivers that help stack odds in their favor.
    Alonso’s attitude was not as good as Hamiltons as he expected to be number 1, but had Hamilton rival him right from the start. So I think Alonso is partially responsible for inequality himself. That said I also think the fact that Ron Dennis has known and coached Hamilton, and that he is Brittish works to Hamiltons favor.
    It’s obvious that there is inequality in Formula 1 just like in everything else, but I agree that McLaren don’t hire support drivers to a leading driver. But I DO think that most at McLaren would rather see Hamilton win the world championship, than both Kovalainen and Alonso and even in that does not change anything consciously, its bound to have an impact subconsciously.

    No there is no equality in F1, but I’m ok with that. Such is like. A true winner is a man that makes the best out of what is given him, and that will gain respect and in turn move things more in your favor.
    Alonso was not “equal” but he did not exactly help himself with his attitude either.
    I think he was humiliated by having a rookie matching a 2 time champ (that has been the all-time best Schumacher) for pace.

  3. “…If he wanted a lieutenant to Hamilton, he’d have put Pedro de la Rosa in the car…” thats justs soo right, BUT on the other hand.. why do they NEVER give heikki less fuel than lewis to qualifiy??

    also i think that hekki letting lewis pass him its totally fair beacause lewis was faster.. i mean its your team mate, its going faster, you and the team know how much fuel both are carrying etc. etc….theres no point in not letting him pass…

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