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 …