Alonso slams McLaren near end of nightmare season

Sat, 6 October 2007, 06:10

Fernando Alonso on Saturday afternoon seemed to uncork a wave of intense frustration as he spoke to journalists from his native Spain.

After oddly qualifying six tenths behind his McLaren teammate and runaway title leader Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai, the reigning world champion did not try hard to hide his suspicion that the Woking based team had deliberately slowed down his single seater.

“I am really interested to know where I have lost this time, because I do not think I have lost six tenths in the other 100 laps that I have done this weekend,” he said, according to the news agency EFE.

Alonso answered “no” when specifically asked if he suspects McLaren of sabotage, but he also said he has “no idea” if he has been weighed down with much more fuel than pole sitter Hamilton.

He was rebuked on Friday by team boss Ron Dennis for saying he would “not answer” a question about whether he expects equal treatment at the penultimate race of 2007.

Alonso added after qualifying: “I don’t know. I am not going to make a comment about this after each session.

“If I was 3 or 4 thousandths behind, it doesn’t mean anything — it could be small differences in fuel levels or small details such as that.

“But six or seven tenths … I can’t remember any time that I was so far behind anybody. That was the strange thing about (today).

“If you have not had a good weekend, you say ‘ok, I did not get comfortable with the car, with this corner’ … but I have been fast all weekend, also in qualifying-1 and 2.

“To be so far behind in qualifying-3 — I am the most surprised of all.”

Alonso was asked how much optimism he will now carry to Sunday’s grid.

“None. Very little. You are fourth, you have to recover so many points, hope for the rain, hope for the others to have problems and you have the luck to finish,” he said.

Alonso was also critical of the “atmosphere” he encounters at McLaren at every race, and accused Ron Dennis and his other bosses of planting negative stories about him in the German and British press.

“When I joined the team, I hoped for more. I arrived with two world championships, we have improved the car as much as we can — last year they were struggling to go into qualifying-3 and this year then are going to win the championship.

“The truth is that the treatment has not been very good.”

Alonso seemed particularly bitter about Dennis, a day after the McLaren principal said he was “disappointed” that the Spaniard had not defended the team’s principles of equality.

“Sometimes it is better to shut up than to lie,” Alonso responded on Saturday. “And if he did that more often, I believe his team would be a better one.

“I believe that many of the things and the scandals that have occurred this year have been caused by him.

“I have spoken a lot with Coulthard, Montoya, with Kimi, and all of them left the team and found great happiness. There must be something.

“If something is going to improve, it has to start with them (the team). You always hear about, or I am always told about, the so-called equality of the team.

“It is impossible to have it in formula one — there is always a better engine, a better lap to stop, always a better something or other.”

Alonso is staunchly quiet about his plans for 2008, but he said he hopes to be able to prepare for next year “soon”.

“Sometimes, by the things you hear or the actions, it seems like they also do not have any desire (to continue together). I don’t have a problem; I have another 10 teams that could be interested in me.

“Staying here … it is necessary to look at whether it is the best thing to do or not,” he said.

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