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  • McLaren suspect timing of police probe
  • Haug advises Alonso to stay at McLaren
  • Wurz rules out Prodrive move
  • Dennis weeps after fraught Monza contest

McLaren suspect timing of police probe
(GMM) McLaren has hit out at the "nature and timing" of the Italian police's visit to the Monza paddock on Saturday.

Ron Dennis and other team chiefs were served with notices of pending criminal prosecutions relating to the spy saga just prior to qualifying, but the Woking based outfit insisted in a statement on Sunday that no-one was "charged with anything".

"We strongly suspect that the nature and timing of this wholly unnecessary contact, just before the start of qualifying, was to disrupt our preparation for this important session and Thursday's World Motor Sport Council hearing," the statement added.

The British team also found a paddock ally on Sunday in the form of 1994 McLaren driver Martin Brundle.

He wrote in his column for The Times that the saga seems to have turned into a "witch-hunt", and pointed a critical finger at F1's governing body.

"Inside the paddock we can't fathom how, previously, two Toyota F1 employees can be handed prison sentences for industrial espionage using Ferrari software, yet the FIA was not interested in getting involved, and how Colin Kolles from Spyker could walk down the pit lane with a drawing from rival Toro Rosso presented as evidence of cloned cars, yet the FIA took no action," he wrote.

Brundle said his sense is of a wider struggle, possibly relating back to Dennis' stance against the FIA in past years, including the touted 'breakaway' world championship.

"Is the FIA looking for McLaren heads to roll?" he wondered.

Bernie Ecclestone, however, insists that if McLaren is found guilty of espionage, the team must be punished -- irrespective of the possible ramifications for the title battle and also things like disaffected sponsors.

F1's chief executive said: "If you let someone get away with that, what's next? Then after that you let them get away because you've let that get away, what comes after that?

"Then there are no rules and regulations."

Haug advises Alonso to stay at McLaren
(GMM) Norbert Haug has advised Fernando Alonso to ignore the possible advances of other F1 teams.

Amid the escalating spy scandal, and the scarcely disputed fact that the reigning world champion is unhappy at McLaren this year, 26-year-old Alonso has been linked with moves to rival teams for 2008 including Toyota, Renault and even Ferrari.

But Haug, Mercedes-Benz's competition chief, told the German broadcaster Premiere: "I do not believe that he would be better off anywhere else.

"With his team of last year (Renault), he would definitely not be where he is now, so to that extent you can say that our team has done a lot for him."

Haug hastily added: "And he has returned a lot to us as well."

Wurz rules out Prodrive move
(GMM) Alex Wurz has ruled out moving to the Prodrive team in 2008.

After a disappointing season so far alongside the impressive Nico Rosberg, Austrian veteran Wurz is yet to have his Williams deal renewed.

Sir Frank Williams admitted here at Monza that he is yet to decide who Rosberg's teammate will be next year.

Prodrive was touted as one possible alternative for Wurz, as the 33-year-old retains close links with boss David Richards from his days as a Benetton racer.

But Wurz is quoted as saying by sportnet.at: "(Richards) needs someone who can bring money. And I do not bring any money."

He even criticized those small formula one outfits that try to bolster their annual budgets with the bulging wallets of pay-drivers.

"As soon as teams begin to get drivers based on their sponsorship value, they never get away from the rear of the field," said Wurz.

Dennis weeps after fraught Monza contest
(GMM)  Ron Dennis laid his emotions bare on Sunday after his McLaren team secured a dominant one-two in the Italian grand prix.

The Mercedes-powered display not only makes it increasingly unlikely that a Ferrari rival can bridge the gap in the championship in the remaining four races, but it was a welcome boost for McLaren after a horror weekend off the track.

So, eight years after Mika Hakkinen cried tears of despair at the Autodromo Nazionale, boss Dennis similarly could not hold back the emotion as he spoke after the race to the German broadcaster Premiere.

"It was a very difficult weekend," said the Briton, referring to the reopening of the espionage scandal and his receipt of notice that he may be pursued by Italian authorities in the criminal system.

"For everyone in the team it was hard to retain the concentration, but we did it."

Dennis' wife Lisa also chipped in: "He lives for racing, this victory means everything to him.

"He rarely comes to me with his problems, but when you see someone as important as he is to me suffer, then you do as well."

With emotion returning to Dennis' voice and face, he turned to his wife and replied: "That means a lot ..."

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