Ecclestone slams McLaren Turkey no-show

Fri, 24 August 2007, 11:19

Bernie Ecclestone in Turkey slammed Ron Dennis’ decision to prohibit both McLaren drivers from travelling to the formula one circuit outside of Istanbul on Thursday.

Instead, feuding drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, and other leading team figures including boss Dennis, met at the plush downtown hotel ‘Conrad’ for ‘clear-the-air talks’ following their Hungary bust-up.

But their notable absence at the circuit meant that they could not complete ordinary pre-grand prix routines, such as walking the circuit, and it also drew the ire of the attending media who had to make do without access to the two leading title protagonists.

The Turkey incident follows Hungary three weeks ago, when McLaren officials gagged the drivers from speaking to the press.

“I believe that Ron is not handling the fight between his drivers well,” F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Spanish press, including the newspaper Diario As.

“It is not a good decision to stop them from coming here. I don’t know what is going on. It’s strange and it is not good for F1.”

One of reigning world champion Alonso’s only media engagements in the city on Thursday was a karting event for team sponsor Vodafone.

Shortly before a press conference, one of McLaren’s PR representatives warned that the 26-year-old would not be talking about Hungary, the espionage scandal or his teammate Hamilton.

In La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone was also quoted as saying: “I do not understand. If a driver does not want to answer a question, he is big enough to say ‘I do not want to answer’ or ‘I cannot answer that’.

“It would have been better if they had been here today, but tomorrow they must be here and they cannot refuse to talk.”

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