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DATE News (chronologically)
09/16/07
f1
McLaren test, media ban for Alonso?  (GMM) McLaren-Mercedes bosses on Sunday denied rumors that Fernando Alonso has been banned by the team from testing and giving interviews to the press.

"I've heard that as well -- Fernando may talk," Mercedes-Benz competition director told the German broadcaster Premiere after the Belgian grand prix.

It is understood that the rumor began when Alonso turned down an interview for German television prior to the race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Amid speculation of blackmail and treachery following the espionage saga and the infamous 'spy emails', as well as rumors that Alonso will surely leave the team at the end of 2007, Ron Dennis also rejected suggestions that the Spaniard will no longer be allowed to test -- starting with the session next week at Jerez.

"He can test," the Briton told reporters in Belgium.

"He can also talk to whoever he likes, and if he had wanted to be a part of the (Jerez) test, then he could have."

Dennis acknowledges, however, that Alonso's involvement with the team for 2008 is yet to be discussed.

"We have not spoken about next year, because we want to win this year," he is quoted as saying. "I can understand that these sorts of questions are asked. Teams go through difficult times and relationships are strained, because we are talking about very ambitious people.

"My job is to hold it all together."

Alonso's teammate Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was furious with the Spaniard after the incident at the first corner of the Belgian grand prix, despite the intervention of a PR representative who told him to calm his attitude with the media.

The Briton, however, was not in a mood to concede that he had been simply beaten by a better driver at Spa.

Referring to the espionage saga, for which he traveled to the World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on Thursday, Hamilton said: "It's been a tough week, for sure a lot tougher for me than for Fernando because ... I won't say any more."

Even Ron Dennis had to admit that the recent turmoil at McLaren may have played a role in Hamilton's struggle for pace this weekend.

"Perhaps Lewis has taken the situation of the last days and months more to heart," he admitted.
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