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DATE News (chronologically)
09/15/07
f1
Alonso, manager, play down McLaren crisis reports  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso at Spa-Francorchamps denied reports that emails stored on his laptop led directly to McLaren's $100 million fine and championship exclusion.

Widespread reports late on Friday said the espionage saga was re-fired following a furious row between the Spaniard and McLaren's Ron Dennis in Hungary.

As they argued about the qualifying pit stop incident, 26-year-old Alonso is believed to have threatened to take the incriminating spy emails to the FIA if Dennis did not give him either number one status or release him from his contract.

Dennis pre-empted the reigning world champion by calling the governing body himself.

Alonso was quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper 'As': "I do not believe that the (FIA's) decision was taken only because of this.

"I assume that there was much more information than this, but I am not going to say any more about it.  Neither yes or no about anything."

But even Dennis had to admit to the World Motor Sport Council on Thursday that his relationship with Alonso is now "very cold", according to Bild newspaper.

His manager Luis Garcia Abad also played down the reports, including suggestions that Alonso's position at McLaren is now untenable despite the existence of a three year contract.

Asked if the Spaniard would stay in 2008, he answered in the Spanish press: "He has to.

"We have an agreement.  We are not negotiating with anybody and our plan is to continue here," he also told the BBC.

Such is the gravity of the fallout from the whole affair, however, that Dennis has commissioned a specialist PR agency to help deal with it.

The Daily Mail said that Bell Pottinger, the company that acted for the McCann family following Madeleine's high profile disappearance, is now working with McLaren.

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