‘Team order’ controversy could return to the formula one paddock in Montreal later today after Ron Dennis warned that he may again control the closing laps of the Canadian grand prix.
The British press reacted furiously in the days after Monaco, where McLaren boss Dennis ordered rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton to kerb any attack on pole sitter and race leader Fernando Alonso.
At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, it was this time 22-year-old Hamilton who powered the newly dominant MP4-22 to pole, so it could be the ecstatic Englishman who enjoys the protection of the kind of ‘team strategy’ that sparked the attention of an FIA inquiry only days ago.
The governing body, however, gave Dennis’ ‘hold station’ order a clean bill of health, and he said in Montreal: “They will be allowed to race up to any point that we feel it is strategically right to protect our finishing positions.”
Alonso hinted that the cut-off may come early on during Sunday’s 71-lap race, when a journalist asked him if he had any ‘advice’ for his young teammate for Sunday.
“Don’t be too aggressive in the first corner and let me go through,” the Spaniard said to the laughter of the assembled media.
He also backed Dennis’ policy of protecting a dominant one-two rather than allowing all-out racing that could result in a crash, but suggested that his team chiefs may not even have to make the call.
“It is normal in formula one,” said Alonso. “Tomorrow, if I’m not P1 and I’m not fighting with the main opponents like Ferrari or BMW, I will not risk anything. I need the eight points.
“I need to win the championship in Brazil, not here.”