Haug Downplays Alonsos Remarks

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes may be leading in the constructors' and drivers' championships but the team is battling with an internal issue as the team's two drivers have shown that they are hostile towards each other. The rift between the two-time defending champion Fernando Alonso and teammate Lewis Hamilton became more pronounced after the qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The fiasco cost the team the points that their drivers would have had given to the team. And at the Turkish Grand Prix, the two drivers failed to take a win as the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen finished first and second respectively.

The clash between the drivers is given more publicity as Fernando Alonso continues his attack on the Woking-based Formula One team. Just before the Turkish Grand Prix where he placed third behind the Ferrari duo, Alonso voiced out his dissatisfaction with the way McLaren is treating him. "What I think sometimes, and what I asked the team, is that I gave the team a lot," said the Spaniard. "When I arrived in December, I remember the car I drove; I remember the results they had in 2006," the defending champion continued.

"And now, you know, I brought to the team half a second, six tenths, whatever, and I don't see anything giving me back. So that's the only thing," added the Spaniard. Alonso is bemoaning the strategy employed by team principal Ron Dennis who allows his drivers to battle it out on the tracks. This move though does not sit well with Alonso who expects that being a two-time world champion and having a rookie teammate would mean that he would be favored by the team. This strategy though was never used by McLaren which in the past resulted to a clash of its own drivers like the Prost and Senna rivalry.

Mercedes-Benz motorsports boss Norbert Haug though only ignored the remarks by Alonso. The German automaker that produces road-bound cars and auto parts such as the is the engine supplier of the Formula One team. Haug's reaction to Alonso's outburst is: "That doesn't help, and seriously, I saw the quote and the impression that was made. We should not respond. It was an emotion of course."

"We are fighting very hard and a lot of people are working and pushing in the right direction. I think Alonso is quite satisfied after 12 races being five points behind the lead. These are the statistics and this is realistic," continued Haug. "It will create stories if we have a problem like Hungary, but I think we did our utmost to balance it out. And management-wise it was quite a good job."

Lewis Hamilton is currently leading the drivers' championship standings with 84 points despite his fifth place finish at the Turkish Grand Prix. Alonso has 79 points after twelve races. Third and fourth in the standings are Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen respectively. Massa has 69 points while Raikkonen has 68. The next race of the season will be held at Autodromo Nationale Di Monza, Italy. During the first day of practice session for the Grand Prix, Hamilton posted the fastest lap time, setting the bar for his teammate and competitors alike.

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