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DATE News (chronologically)
08/09/07
f1
Alonso to quit McLaren  UPDATE #5 This rumor is downgraded back to 'speculation.' Fernando Alonso's manager has played down press speculation that the disgruntled reigning world champion could immediately quit McLaren.

With the 26-year-old Spaniard's relationship with the Mercedes-powered outfit at an all time low after the Hungarian grand prix, his manager Luis Garcia Abad told the newspaper 'El Pais' that Alonso is not planning to leave McLaren any time soon.

Spanish newspapers had also reported that Abad recently met with Renault's Flavio Briatore about a possible return for Alonso to the French team, but he insists: "We are in McLaren to win races and the third title.

"That's our goal. And in these moments there aren't that many options: just McLaren and Ferrari."

Abad said he spoke to Dennis earlier this week to clarify reports that the Woking team's principal told Alonso in Hungary that he is now free to walk away from his three-year contract at the end of the season.

"He told me what has been published is not true. His intention is that the contract is fulfilled," said Abad.



08/07/07 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.'  According to The Times of London, McLaren are ready to say goodbye to Alonso at the end of the season.  'Fernando Alonso has been informed by Ron Dennis, the McLaren Mercedes team principal, that he can leave at the end of this season,' the newspaper reported.  "My understanding is that he's been told he can go because they're so fed up with him," a 'well-placed source' said. "Ron is just very p***ed off with both of them."  As for where Alonso will go, The Times speculates that it could be to either Ferrari, at the expense of Felipe Massa, back to Renault, he would probably replace Giancarlo Fisichella, or even to BMW.

08/07/07 (GMM)  "I can't imagine that Alonso and Hamilton will still be together next year."
That was the observation of Australian driver Mark Webber, a paddock ally of world champion Fernando Alonso, as formula one broke for its August break amid the spectacular falling-out of McLaren's driver lineup in Hungary.

Speculation that Spaniard Alonso was considering his future at Ron Dennis' team, or had issued an "ultimatum" about his disputed number one status alongside rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton, became fact as the reigning title winner spoke to the Spanish press on Monday.

Bild newspaper quotes him as plainly telling Spanish reporters: "Right now I am thinking: me or Hamilton?  But I know that nothing will change.

"I get the feeling that some people at McLaren do not even know that I speak English."

His comments follow his admission in Hungary that he did not know if he would see out the full three-year term of his current contract.

The Spanish newspaper Diario As, meanwhile, now claims that 26-year-old Alonso has already decided to leave McLaren in order to re-join Renault or switch to BMW.

He is "even considering the possibility of finishing this world championship with another team", 'As' added, even if it means sacrificing the 2007 title.

"His situation at McLaren is untenable," the newspaper - also raising the possibility of an internal anti-Alonso 'saboteur' - continued.

"We can reveal that Fernando wants to stay with the Silver Arrows for not a minute longer.

"When a driver loses the confidence of his team, there is no turning back."

08/07/07 BMW's Mario Theissen has counted the Munich manufacturer out of speculation that Fernando Alonso could be Hinwil-bound at the end of 2007. A Renault return is the obvious favorite amid speculation that Spaniard Alonso wants to desert his McLaren contract, but it has been pointed out by the media that BMW-Sauber team principal Theissen has been recently open in his admiration for F1's reigning world champion.

Sport-Informations-Dienst, however, quoted the German chief as saying in Hungary: "That is not momentarily a topic for us."

Instead, it is rumored strongly that - during the August break - Theissen will finalize Nick Heidfeld's new contract to drive alongside Robert Kubica in 2008.

08/06/07 McLaren boss Ron Dennis is fully expecting Fernando Alonso to see out his contract with McLaren - but he will not stand in the way of the reigning double world champion should he choose to quit. The question now is, what next for Alonso?

The No 1 status he believed would be his as world champion has not been forthcoming because of Dennis's insistence on equality between his two drivers.

"We have built the team and company on parity," insisted Dennis. "There are many teams who share that value, but do not have either a competitive racing car or two competitive racing drivers.

"When you get a combination of those two values you are definitely going to have a hard time. But if you go down an alternative route you end up with a team that has only one car and one driver and you inevitably have to have a very declared interest in one particular driver.

"I don't think that's the way to go about winning world titles.

"So we will continue to function as a team with specific values, and if anybody does not want to be part of those values - irrespective of where they sit in the organization - ultimately they all have a choice.

"But we will not deviate away from our values."

Obviously, Dennis is looking for Alonso to honor a deal he first agreed in December 2005 - in between his two title-winning years with Renault.

However, the rumor-mill is rife with suggestions Alonso will quit at the end of this season given his unhappiness, with a return to Renault on the cards, or a switch to BMW Sauber.

"There is an inevitability that these things are rumored and discussed in other teams," assessed Dennis. "We have two drivers who are contracted for several years into the future.

"We will respect our part of that bargain and we hope the drivers respect theirs because that's what a contract is about. That is our position, a challenging situation to manage, and I fully recognize that.

"But that goes with my job. I have to take any decisions that are in the interests of the team.

"But at the moment, we are most definitely going to maintain a very firm commitment to our principle of equality."

As Dennis concedes he is going through an "extremely challenging" time, one that is "emotional, stressful," while he also admits at present there are "some difficult pressures in the team."

But he added: "We're a close-knit family with some difficult times behind us and some difficult times ahead of us.

"We will stay together and stay true to our values. Between now and the next grand prix we will definitely try and put some calmness in the team, and arrive in Turkey in a more tranquil environment than we experienced this weekend." Scotsman.com

08/05/07 (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Sunday refused to commit to honoring the full three year term of his McLaren contract.

The Spaniard joined the Woking based team from Renault this year, but has endured rocky relationships with his British colleagues Lewis Hamilton and team boss Ron Dennis.

Alonso finished fourth on Sunday after his pole position was docked when stewards found that he "unnecessarily impeded" teammate Hamilton in a qualifying pitstop.

Asked by Spanish reporters in Budapest whether he will still be racing for Dennis' outfit in 2008 and 2009, 26-year-old Alonso replied: "I don't know, I don't know.

"We will see."

One such reporter enquired as to whether it would be a fair comment to surmise that he expected to be treated differently by McLaren this year after arriving as a twice world champion. 

"Very fair. That is absolutely true," Alonso said.

He also repeated his criticism of the stewards who took away his pole position and the chance for victory here.

"The sanction seems very strange to me," Alonso told the television transmitter Telecinco, "since it does not talk about any rule in particular.

"But it is like a bad penalty decision in football -- you have to keep playing anyway."

Alonso said his own relationship with Hamilton has not declined any further, but revealed that "nobody" in the team is currently talking to his British teammate.

"In normal circumstances I could have won this race, because I think I showed today that I was the fastest when I had a free track.

"It is a missed chance but fourth is not so bad," Alonso said.

He said he was able to clear his mind of anger prior to commencing the 70-lap race at the twisty Hungaroring.

"No, with the car and the engine you have enough to worry about. And since I knew I did not have a chance to win I could preserve my engine to try to win in Turkey.
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