Monza intrigue puts drivers at centre of spy storm

Fri, 7 September 2007, 01:07

As the espionage saga reaches new heights of intrigue in the Monza paddock, Fernando Alonso has refuted rumours that he got involved because he wants to find a way out of his McLaren contract for 2008.

According to buzzing rumours on the scene of Sunday’s Italian grand prix, the reigning world champion could be a source of “new evidence” that moved the FIA to reconvene the World Motor Sport Council next week.

Asked by Spanish reporters if he has spilled the beans about emails from team test driver Pedro de la Rosa – containing confidential Ferrari setup information – so as to further implicate McLaren, he answered: “No way.”

Elsewhere in the paddock, McLaren representatives explained to the press that, for legal reasons, team members including drivers and management would not be commenting on the spy saga.

But Alonso, 26, explained: “I believe that if the team is sanctioned, then so will I be. I am a part of this team and we would share the problem.

“We are here to win the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, we are leading both, and there is not one person in the team that doesn’t want us to.”

The Spaniard declined to comment specifically on rumours that he and countryman de la Rosa had, earlier this season, conversed by email about Ferrari setup information allegedly learned by de la Rosa from suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan.

It is suggested in the paddock that the FIA asked McLaren’s drivers – and no others – to volunteer any relevant information, in exchange for an assurance that they would not personally be held accountable.

“As I said,” Alonso responded to another reporter’s question, “I am going to try to win these last five races and I am not going to talk about anything else because it has nothing to do with me.

“I have come here motivated, concentrated and isolated from everything else.”

Alonso’s British teammate Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, counted himself out of the intrigue by revealing that his internet connection at home has not recently been working.

He did, however, spare some time to heavily criticise Ferrari for its role in portraying McLaren as the villain of the espionage piece.

Hamilton, 22, said he would be “extremely happy” to win on the Italian team’s home soil on Sunday “because of what they’re putting our team through”.

“I know my team, I know the people and I think we are being unfairly treated.”

He added: “Ferrari are portrayed as the most innocent team and I don’t think that is the case.”

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