SEPTEMBER 19, 2007
Revelations from the FIA transcripts
The full transcripts of the FIA World Council meetings have now been published and these reveal some interesting things, not least the state of the relationship between McLaren boss Ron Dennis and the team's number one driver Fernando Alonso.
"The relationship between Fernando and myself is extremely cold," Dennis said. "That is an understatement. In Fernando’s mind, there is the firm belief that our policy, whereby each driver receives equal treatment, does not properly reflect his status as World Champion. He bases this assertion on the fact that his experience and knowledge and what came to him from his former team is such that he should receive an advantage."
Referring to a conversation on the Sunday morning at the Hungarian GP, Dennis said that Alonso was "extremely upset with what had taken place the previous day, but nowhere nearly as upset as I was. He said things that he subsequently and fully retracted. Within the passage of material, he made a specific reference to e-mails from a McLaren engineer. When he made this statement, I said, “Stop”. I went out, brought Mr Whitmarsh him in, and Fernando said everything again, in front of his manager. When he had finished, I turned to Martin Whitmarsh, asking what we should do with this particular part of the conversation. Martin said we should find Max. After Martin and Fernando left, that is exactly what he did. I recounted the entire conversation to Max. I was upset and angry, but mainly upset. Max calmed me down. He said that I should do nothing. I started to calm down. Then, prior to the race, Fernando’s manager came and said that he had lost his temper and completely retracted everything he said. When I phoned Max, Max was understanding and said things to me that are irrelevant here, though I would be more than comfortable sharing them. He was completely understanding and said that, on the basis of what I told him, if he felt there was any real validity in what Fernando had said, he would contact me prior to taking any action."
Dennis went on to say that after the race Alonso "apologised for the outburst and I put it down to the heat of the moment, in which he was angry. That is how I took it. Other than following up with Martin, the matter ended there, until 26 days later, when the drivers received a letter. What took place between those times, I do not know. I do not know what circumstances brought that into the public domain."
He added that "we are not on speaking terms".
Dennis said that calling Mosley "clearly indicates that there was absolutely no effort on my part to hide what had happened. There was no such effort at all. It was subsequently retracted and put down to one of our engineers. I had absolute confidence that the information passed to our engineers had not been involved in it. That gave me the confidence that he was not telling the truth. And he retracted it."
When asked by the court why Alonso had not appeared at the World Council, Dennis said:
"Mr Alonso is not here because he does not want to be here. He does not speak to anyone much. He is a remarkable recluse for a driver. He is not here by choice. Moreover, he said he had other things to do by previous arrangement. I cannot force him to come. We asked him to come."
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