Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, 2007

Fernando Alonso to leave McLaren for 2008

2007 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 2 | DaimlerReports from Spain suggest that Fernando Alonso’s departure from McLaren for 2008 has been confirmed.

The newspaper El Mundo stated that Alonso will cut short his contract with two years left to run.

McLaren later confirmed the news in a statement but there is no indication who he may drive for or who will take his place alongside Lewis Hamilton.

The statement said:

The mutual parting of ways has not been discussed until now, since it was felt that any such discussion could have seriously disrupted the team’s and Fernando’s 2007 Formula One World Championship challenge.

Alonso, who has criticised the team vehemently on several occasions this year, said:

Since I was a boy I had always wanted to drive for McLaren, but sometimes in life things do not work out.

I continue to believe that McLaren is a great team. Yes, we have had our ups and downs during the season, which has made it extra-challenging for all of us, and it is not a secret that I never really felt at home.

He also denied his earlier suggestions that the team had given preferential treatment to Lewis Hamilton:

I know there have been suggestions of favouritism within the team and people say a lot of things in the heat of battle, but in the end I was always provided with an equal opportunity to win.

Ron Dennis added:

He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Fernando has not really worked out, and in the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward.

Alonso later claimed McLaren have imposed no restrictions on who he is allowed to sign for.

Photo: Daimler

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Fernando Alonso to leave McLaren for 2008”

  1. It will be interesting to find out whether it was mutual or if one party forced the hand of the other as this will impact on the financial situation of ending their partnership.

    It is interesting also that the news has linked via the web – Ron Dennis obviously has underestimated the speed of the internet, he obviously didn’t have his ducks in line before the decision was made!

  2. Marca say Alonso’s manager has confirmed the story with them (link in Spanish),


    They also say it won’t cost Alonso anything.

    … But no news of where he may go.

  3. “Lexus Williams” as team-mate to Rosberg?

  4. It is interesting that the team sponsors are mentioned continually in both quotes, just to reiterate that Alonso is not taking Santander with him.

  5. Am i the only one who would want Button to join McLaren to be the first team in ages to have two British drivers?

    From a UK perspective, it would be a great commercial prospect and finally give Button a reliable car to see what he really can do.

    But I’ve been reliably informed there ‘is absolutely no chance of Button going to McLaren – shame

  6. It’s be nice Adrian but I really can’t see it happening.

    It might sound good from a UK point of view but in an international sport like F1 having two drivers of the same nationality is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

    Really I’m surprised Mercedes haven’t had a German driver in there yet. Nico Rosberg would be perfect I’d’ve thought.

  7. It would not be a good commercial prospect if Button moved to McLaren. They already have Hamilton, so they get all the British sponsors already. If they get a driver of a different nationality, then they are more likely to attract a wider range of sponsors. We saw that when Alonso attracted Santander and Vodafone to McLaren this year.

    There is also the small matter that Button isn’t good enough to drive for a team as good as McLaren. It’s funny how the ‘Button to McLaren’ suggestion only ever comes from Brits! It doesn’t cross anyone else’s mind.

  8. I think Williams as well, but I don’t know why!

    For the full on merry-go-round effect, we could have Alonso to Red Bull, Webber to Renault and Heikki to McLaren just to make things a little complex!

  9. I agree with doctorvee, Button is an okay driver but as usual with the British media his talent has been blown out of all proportion!

  10. Thank God the nightmare is over.

    How about De la Rosa as Hamilton’s mate next year? I guess Spanish sponsors would like to have a Spanish driver in the team, right?

    I’d love to see Hamilton biting De la Rosa’s dust. :-DDD

  11. How can De La Rosa be suitable for Mclaren and Button not?? Saying that that might work out just fine for Mclaren, as De La Rosa would come nowhere near Lewis thus removing the issue of Number 1 and Number 2 status.

  12. De la rosa??? sorry kuti, he’s test driver material through & through

  13. I wonder which announcement will come first – who will be Hamilton’s team mate, or who will Alonso drive for next year?

    [I’m assuming the latter]

    I’m just thinking if it would be a gamble for McLaren to have 2 inexperienced, however talented, drivers on their team – thinking mainly Kovalainen, but Rosberg is still relatively inexperienced. Most of the experienced ones are quite past it, or not really McLaren material (IMO anyway).

  14. Shame the Alonso Mclaren combination could not work out. I dont think only one party is guilty here. Mclaren may not have been very sensitive to Alonso’s temperament, while Alonso may have overeacted in heat of competition and made unjust accussations.

    The fact Mclaren, prefares the hierachy of their drivers to be established through competition, and the eventual capitulation of one, such as Coulthard to Hakinnen, encourages their drivers to develope the killer instincts. From that point, that driver, assumes the lead role. Alonso just felt, he was already established, a two time world champion, and didnt need to prove anything. While that may be true, we should also realise that both drivers were new to the team.

    Its easy to speculate from the outside, and direct blame for the break up to either party. Mclaren is not Renault (Benetton of old), the working atmosphere is different. There is more one on one communication in a team like Renault, between the driver and the team principal than you will find in Mclaren. Alonso experience the austere nature of Mclaren and felt it was indifferent to his temperament. But did he really attempt to win the team over? not just by driving but approaching the management and dicussing issues openly. Perhaps he had just withdrawn himself too deep without even realising so.

    And Adrian,
    Formula1 is not a National sport. Other countries will like to have more drivers in there or in a top team. Button has sunk his boat with his indecision.

  15. I think De la Rosa could do as good a job as Hamilton does, but it’s OK, don’t panic! I know that will never happen, just trying to make some English people go mad. ;-D

    Seriously… I think both Spanish fans and English fans are too much influenced by our respective media. I understand Alonso is not an angel, but I also think Hamilton has a lot to prove. I can’t wait to see how next year’s car works without a World Champion developing it.

    PS: excuse my English if a make a mistake once in a while.

  16. If de la Rosa had a full F1 seat, i’m sure there would be calls to get he and FA into the same team ;-)

    I reckon it’s straight to Renault for FA and Heiki to McLaren. HK has already commented on the Beeb that “Equal status with my team-mate is also important”…..i wonder which team he’s leaning toward?

  17. “While that may be true, we should also realise that both drivers were new to the team.”

    Not technically true, Hamilton was just new to F1, I dare say he’s probably been, at the very least, a part of McLaren than some of the people in the F1 team.

  18. Ok the latest rumours are Mclaren wont let FA go to a competitive team leaving options such as Red Bull and Williams
    Red bull have two experienced drivers… (can you see where I am going with this)
    …one of whom is experienced and has driven for Mclaren before so:
    FA – RBR, DC back to Mclaren!!!

  19. Loki,

    I meant new to driving for the team. Except of course u mean, Alonso isn’t happy because Lewis gets more hugs from Ron.

  20. To be exact, according to the news from the Spanish newspaper AS the conditions for letting FA to break his contract with McLaren would prohibite him from signing with a team affiliated with a major car/motor manufacturer, not a “competitive” team. This demand does make a lot of sense from the legal point of view, since defining a “competitive” soundly in legal terms is basicly impossible.

    I personally think AS may have got this straight from the legal staff of FA. It would have been strange if McLaren had let FA go without setting some sort of conditions, and these demands seem quite reasonable.

  21. Hope Alonso takes up the rear of the grid for the rest of his F1 career. How about Toro Rosso, Super Aguri or

  22. I sincerily hope that Alonso drives a competitive car (I believe that a switch to Adrian Newey’s toy would not be a bad thing), because its best for everyone that a double world champion and a proven driver that is Alonso is able to fight for yet another crown.

  23. Ah! That would mean (at least for me) that Webber would be at the wheel of a Mclaren and give some headaches to Hamilton!

  24. Captain Caveman
    2nd November 2007, 17:15

    Like in any split in business and sport is a business, Alonso would have undoubtedly signed a compromise agreement, stipulating that both parties don’t talk of each other negatively etc. (gagging clause)

    This is common practice but does normally have a time clause, I personally can’t wait until this is up. I have my opinions that not everything was down to Alonso and most of the issues were down to Ron’s bad management.

    Anyway I believe this is bad for the sport if Alonso is limited to a non competitive drive as suggested by some articles. As long as he is mid pack he will have a chance to entertain, race and strive for a podium… but lets face it unless something else happens other than Ferrari and Mclaren which other manufacturers really have a race winning car?

    I have not evidence to justify this opinion I have next, but I can only assume that for Alonso to move from such a competitive car, he must be aware of something around the corner… problems with Ferarri IPR perhaps? . ( I assume he wanted to go because if mclaren had terminated it early there would have been financial penalties I am sure)

    Anyway, lets hope next season is just as intriguing, albeit for the right reasons.

  25. Alonso at Red Bull would be interesting. As mentioned they have Newey and cash shouldn’t be much of a problem. Not likely they will be at the front next year already but they’ve been improving lately and having Alonso on board should be positive (about 0.6 sec per lap positive? ;) ).

    Williams would be interesting too. BMW leaving hurt them but they’re an experienced team that knows how to build a car. They look to have improved this year (with Rosberg’s help) and Alonso + the sponsor money he could attract could help out a bit (unless it all goes to Alonso’s salary).

  26. Well at last it has happened – no regrets here about alonso’s departure – but still think rbr – again money will soth that delicate ego – and rosberg for mclaren – 2 young drivers – competively pushing as hard as they can – provided max’s boys haven’t banned the 2008 car – it has wheels on it – and an engine – obviously the intellectual property of ferrari!! – ps have voted keith – thanks fr great blog

  27. Don’t forget Alonso went to Mclaren mostly for the money. Not many people thought a year ago, that Mclaren will be a winning car. So the problem was Alonso never loved the team. He loved the money.
    Next year I think Rosberg will be at Mclaren with Lewis and Alonso, KOvalainen at Renault. The best for Flavio.He is the manager of both of them.
    If Alonso will go to Renault next year and the car will be really good again then Alonso is really better than Lewis. But I don’t think that will happen. Only Michael did something like this with a team.

  28. Next year I think Rosberg will be at Mclaren with Lewis and Alonso, KOvalainen at Renault. The best for Flavio.He is the manager of both of them. He would never let Kovalainen go away from the team.
    If Alonso will go to Renault next year and the car will be really good again then Alonso is really better than Lewis. But I don’t think that will happen. Only Michael did something like this with a team.

  29. AmericanTifosi
    3rd November 2007, 3:26

    Think about this, what is Ferrari put Massa back in a third driver role and signed Fernando?

  30. AmericanTifosi
    3rd November 2007, 3:26

    That should be ‘what if’ sorry I can’t type.

  31. Alonso should go to BMW….BMW should swap Heidfeld with Alonso with Nick going to Mclaren..

  32. Webber – Hamilton – a dream team :-) I am sure Webber would love to have Hamilton as a team mate, he loves the guy :-)

    DC will not go to McLaren for exactly the same reason as Button …

  33. milos love the joke about webber at mclaren – ron needs another whinger as with alonso leaving he wil probably think he has went deaf all of a sudden!!

  34. Heidfeld driving a McLaren would be very interesting… if BMW starts winning races with Alonso, and McLaren quits winning with their wonderboy after the ugly duck’s arrival, then I’ll be sure… Heidfeld is the most unlucky guy on the grid! He was Massa’s (2002) and Raikkonen’s (2001) teammate at Sauber, outpaced them both at the time, and never won anything after that, wasn’t hired by a better team (when he was, at 2005, Williams began its fall from grace), while Felipe and Kimi are driving Ferraris, winning races, and Kimi is the new world champion …

  35. I disagree that Alonso went to McLaren ONLY for the money. I think he was moved by the same vanity that led Schumacher to Ferrari back in 1996: the dream of giving back a ‘once-great’ team its greatness… considering this, and the rumors informed by the brazilian press, that Mercedes only liberated Alonso from the fine if he signs a non-manufacturer team, Williams would be a real option, and perhaps the last chance Frank would have to attract powerful sponsors and try to have a winning car again…

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