Ron Dennis breaks his silence on Alonso’s return
With the big news of the F1 2015 season being the return of Fernando Alonso to McLaren, the press have been quick to remind us of how it all went pear shaped last time. Alonso himself has spoken frankly about how he is now more mature, a different person etc. etc. but the McLaren camp has been pretty quiet; until now. They have now broken their silence about welcoming back into the ranks a driver who left on such acrimonious terms 7 years ago.
Ron Dennis is the chairman and CEO of the McLaren group and it is he who has spoken out rather than let a spokesperson do the job. Dennis is vehement in his insistence that there is no chance of a recurrence of the tension and acrimony which drove such an insurmountable wedge between the team and Alonso back in 2007.
He has also admitted, however, that due to the manner in which Alonso left last time his return has raised many questions regarding the harmony within the team. Dennis’ answer to these questions is that due to employing different approaches he is ensuring that the same mistakes will not be made again and history will not be repeating itself.
Reflecting on the incidents of 2007 that led to Alonso leaving McLaren, Dennis said that he was fully aware that the media would be hoping to pick up on any sort of fracture in any area of the team’s relationships. He also said he knew that they would be scrutinising the relationship between himself and Alonso to try and create a wedge. Dennis sent a word of warning to the media, telling them that they would be wasting their time.
He went onto say the reality was that in the world of F1, 7 weeks was a lifetime never mind 7 years, and admitted that he had mellowed over time and was now more inclusive. Looking back to 2007, Dennis said that when you look at who set the ball rolling it had to be said that Lewis Hamilton played a bit part in starting something which quickly escalated. He said that it had got away from him and that he could have handled it better. This was one of the mistakes he would regret for the rest of his life.
Dennis explained what it was like when he and Alonso first started meeting up again during the past few months, and that he had to admit there had been a fair amount of circling and discomfort but ultimately there was an existing friendship they had rekindled. He emphasised that despite suspicions to the contrary they were now working together and were focusing on the future.
Alonso has very much echoed Dennis’ sentiments and said that the disappointment of 2007 had played a fundamental role in his urge to re-join his old team. He has said that particular season was the only regret of his F1 career in that he didn’t deliver or achieve what he could have by not giving the best of himself. Alonso made it clear that he was returning to finish what he started and he too pressed home the point that he could see no problems ahead.
Obviously Alonso being behind the wheel of the McLaren-Honda motor will add to the thrill of the 2015 season. We can only hope that the phrase “he doth protest too much” doesn’t come back to haunt him as re-establishing a relationship over dinner is a far cry from working alongside somebody in the highly charged F1 environment. We wish Alonso the best of luck, but hope he doesn’t need it…