'McLaren hold-up related to Alonso's contract'

  • Published on 10 Dec 2014 12:05
  • comments 1
  • By: Rob Veenstra
As the McLaren wait rolls on, the British team is continuing to take criticism for leaving Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen in the lurch. "What is happening at McLaren is unworthy of such a team," Mika Hakkinen, who won both his titles with the Woking outfit, is quoted by Blick newspaper.

At the same time, it is obvious that there is more to the situation than simply the dithering of McLaren supremo Ron Dennis. Spain's AS newspaper claims McLaren wants its driver decision to coincide with announcements about two new sponsors, and the "negotiations with one of them is complicated".

The report cited sources in saying one of the sponsors could be Movistar, to complement the Fernando Alonso deal, while another is "a major company from the United Arab Emirates". But there are other authoritative reports that suggest the hold-up could even be related to Alonso's contract.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Tuesday that the Spaniard's contract, although not yet announced, contains a unilateral exit clause. The news will re-fire speculation Alonso still sees his future at Mercedes in 2016, particularly after the less-than-smooth track debut of Honda's new V6 engine recently. And the latest rumours do not stop there.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Alonso could be so alarmed by the recent Honda test in Abu Dhabi that he might simply choose to sit 2015 out altogether and focus instead on a Le Mans campaign with Porsche. Another theory is that Alonso is waiting on the outcome of Ron Dennis' wrangling with McLaren's other shareholders, which could mean a new boss is installed for 2015. (GMM)

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  • Using a rather poor Elvis Presley imitation, I'd like to say, "Thankyouverymuch" to McLaren for confirming my guess, last week, that the recent delays in its announcements were related to major new sponsors for 2015. Will Air Emirates be one of those? Nice! It now looks like we'll know all tomorrow. (Or not . . )

    As for Alonso's contract, I seriously doubt that it has not be signed already, along with the reported clause on early-out if the McLaren-Honda partnership does not produce a winning car for him next year. I'm sure that he was smart enough to arrange signing while McLaren was still giddy over its prospects for 2015 - that is, before the awful trials in Abu Dhabi, when the new car and Honda PU could barely run 4 laps. And certainly, McLaren could hardly oppose that early-out provision, since it was acquiring Alonso's services by reason of his arranged early-exit from Ferrari, for essentially the same reasons. But, McLaren may now have new concerns about those arrangements with Alonso. Nothing would say "failure" and override the kind of rah-rah hype that Boulliard and Dennis can throw around like having their top driver take his toys and leave early for greener pastures.

    But, an early out for Alonso is no assurance that he'd end up driving for Mercedes, if that's what he would want in 2106. Merc can hardly be disappointed about its two current drivers, Hamilton and Rosberg. They had a sensational year. Hamilton is at the top of his game and, I think, risks continuation with that team only is he asks for too much money in his new contract, potentially allowing the older Alonso to underbid him the that seat down the line.

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    • Dec 10 2014 - 15:01

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