McLaren's turmoil

Alonso might bale out of contract and seek return to Renault

Fernando Alonso’s dissatisfaction with the situation at McLaren has led to discussions about a possible return to Renault, and fuelled rumours that he might withdraw from his current contract.

The idea that Lewis Hamilton would play the role of student to the double World Champion were shattered at the season’s first race in Australia. Matters came to a head in Hungary, where Hamilton ignored the team’s pre-planned qualifying strategy and Alonso was penalised for impeding the Briton by not letting him get his final shot at pole (pictured above).

Ron Dennis admits that it has proved harder than expected to manage the Alonso and Hamilton fight, and hints that there is substance to the suggestions that the Spaniard could try to leave.

“There is an inevitability that these things are rumoured and discussed in other teams. We have two drivers contracted for several years. We will respect our part of that situation. We hope the drivers will respect theirs; that is what a contract is about. This is a challenging situation to manage, but that goes with my job,” he said.

Inevitably people have drawn comparisons with 1988-89, when Dennis had the near impossible task of handling Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The team boss has played down any  similarities: “There are obviously some patterns. Let’s say they’re involving two people, but they’re different characters, these are different circumstances and the outcome, whatever the outcome is, is most likely to be different as well.”