Double world champion to return to his roots; McLaren controversy continues
10 December 2007

Renault is today expected to announce that Fernando Alonso, its double world champion driver and prodigal son, will return to the team for the 2008 Formula One season. In doing so, he should become the highest earner in the sport.According to reports in the Spanish press, Alonso has signed a deal worth £50 million with the Enstone-run F1 team, which will keep him at Renault for two seasons at least. The Spaniard has also just published a bulletin on his own website in which he confirms the move.

Make me lead driver

It was widely reported that the Spanish driver had signed a letter of intent with Renault in October 2007, after announcing the end of his relationship with McLaren, that gave them first refusal on his services. The reason for the caution was Renault’s hearing with the World Motor Sport Council last week, where it was found guilty of cheating, but from which Flavio Briatore’s team escaped without punishment. Had the team been given the same £50mil fine that McLaren received for cheating back in September, F1 experts were expecting Renault to withdraw its involvement in the sport on cost grounds.Alonso is expected to be partnered at Renault by current test driver Nelson Piquet Jnr, in replacement of Heikki Kovalainen who, say pundits, is replacing Alonso at McLaren. However, Alonso’s contract gives him clear lead driver status over Piquet, a clause which should protect the Spaniard from further embarrassment at the hands of a talented rookie stepping up from GP2.

McLaren to face yet another enquiry

Meanwhile, Alonso's former employer McLaren’s chances on the 2008 F1 grid remain in jeopardy. The World Motor Sport Council has decided that the team must appear at another hearing in February, at which the legality of its 2008 car, the MP4-23, will be decided.The WMSC met last week to review a report on McLaren’s 2008 car written to ascertain whether it would benefit from any intellectual property belonging to Ferrari. At the time, the car could not be given a clean bill of health. Representatives from McLaren, Ferrari, and other competitors in the sport, will be given the opportunity to react to the report on February 14 2008. At that point, the WMSC will decide whether the MP4-23 is legal. And if they decide that it isn’t, McLaren will have only 31 days to make it so before the opening race of the season in Melbourne.

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Comments
4

AMG

10 December 2007

FIA may as well ban Mclaren forever. This will save them the headache of having to use every other means to help Ferrari be the world champions for a long time to come. The only worthy challenge Ferrari will face in the future will be from McLaren and they know that withut Schumacher there is no way ferrari can continue to be the champions.

10 December 2007

I wonder if the situation would be the same if Ferrari spied on McLaren, ha! I think not. Probably would have been congratulated for doing so!

10 December 2007

The whole thing stinks, I know we will never know the true details of the inquiries that have taken place, but the fine handed out to McLaren was not insignificant even in the high stakes world of F1. Why then does Renault not have a fine commensurate with the inquiry they had to endure, afterall the evidence against them must be pretty good to bring them to an inquiry in the first place.

How can one be found guilty and pay £50m and the other get away scot free?

If I was Ron Dennis I would be feeling highly victimised and would seriously be considering whether to continue in F1, in favour of developing it's road cars and continuing in the lower divisions of motorsport.

10 December 2007

Formula One needs McLaren, McLaren can do without Formula One. It's time the Ferrari backside lickers at the top of Formula One were told once and for all that if this one sided approach to punishment (Ferrari and Renault were just as guilty) doesn't cease, then it's time for McLaren to leave Formula One with immediate effect and loudly destroy the reputation of Formula One's governing body.

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