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DATE News (chronologically)
10/20/07
f1
Dennis plays down anti-Alonso slip
(GMM) Ron Dennis at Interlagos tried to play down a slip of the tongue that further aggravated relations between his McLaren team and Fernando Alonso's supporters.

Ruing Lewis Hamilton's pit entry mistake two weeks ago in China, the McLaren boss had said: "We weren't racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando."

In the Spanish press particularly, the comments were interpreted as further evidence that McLaren wants Hamilton, rather than his Spanish teammate, to win the title.

"It was a mistake with the language," the Briton told Spanish reporters on Friday, according to the news agency EFE.

Dennis admitted that he should have used the word 'he' rather than 'we', which implied that the McLaren organisation in general was manoeuvring against Alonso.

"What I meant to say was that Hamilton was fighting more against Alonso than he was with Raikkonen. I was attacked by the press about something that I did not mean. It was a small and a bad mistake.

"My team always strives for equality between our drivers."

Dennis' reaction follows reports that his recent visit to Spain was for 'crisis talks' with Spanish team sponsors, who are unhappy with the prospect that McLaren would prefer its British driver to win.

"I had planned the visit for two months," Dennis insisted to Spanish reporters.

"The purpose of my trip was to meet (Santander's) Emilio Botin to discuss the long term future of our partnership.

"I also invited representatives of the FIA in Spain to visit our garage in Brazil because of the misinformation that I have read emerging from your country," Dennis added.

Dennis also insisted that all of McLaren's contracts with Spanish backers "make no reference" to specific drivers, following reports that the team could be facing a sponsor exodus should Alonso depart.
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