MARCH 29, 2015
Dennis denies Alonso relationship breaking down again
Ron Dennis has played down suggestions McLaren's relationship with Fernando Alonso is once again breaking down.
In 2007, paired with rookie Lewis Hamilton and amid the spy scandal, Alonso's first McLaren tenure ended after just one acrimonious season.
The parties are back together in 2015, but some regard it as little more than a marriage of convenience, following the breakdown of Alonso's relationship with Ferrari after five consecutive title-less campaigns.
But Alonso-McLaren in 2015 has arguably already been more tumultuous than eight years ago, even though barely a wheel has turned.
Not only is the MP4-30 slow, the 33-year-old's mysterious Barcelona crash has reportedly driven a wedge between Alonso and McLaren.
Some observers remarked that Alonso's press conference on Thursday, during which he directly contradicted most of the official claims made by McLaren in the past weeks, was an obvious "attack" on the British team.
Team supremo Ron Dennis, who clashed so spectacularly with Alonso eight years ago, arrived at Sepang on Saturday.
He insisted: "There is no problem between the team and Fernando.
"He gave his recollection of events, we provided our data relating to the accident, and that's the end of the story. Everything is fine," Dennis is quoted by the Telegraph.
But glaring questions about the bizarre Barcelona testing crash and aftermath remain. Reigning champion Hamilton was a lone voice in the drivers' briefing in Malaysia when he pressed Charlie Whiting for answers.
"He crashed and then they did what?" the Briton is quoted as saying, after hearing about Alonso's account of the crash. "They gave him medication?
"Really? Has the FIA come out with their statement (following an investigation)? That will be very interesting to hear," said Hamilton.
So as the odd tale continues, so too will the wild speculation. The Cologne tabloid Express has floated a bizarre theory about doping.
It claims Alonso, a huge cycling fan, has links to Eufemiano Fuentes, a Spanish doctor linked to doping scandals.
And Alonso's trainer, Fabrizio Borra, has worked with the late cyclist Marco Pantani, who died of cocaine poisoning in 2004.