A McLaren spokesman has dismissed speculation that team boss Eric Boullier was rebuked by Ron Dennis after the recent Brazilian grand prix. It was at Interlagos that Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button frolicked jokingly on the podium, before Alonso's trackside 'sunbathing' following a series of car breakdowns triggered a hash-tag storm.
"I think it (the mass photoshopping) was something positive," Alonso told the Spanish newspaper Marca in Abu Dhabi. "The power of social networks is now very strong and if you use it and take it with humour, that's good for everyone."
Honda's Yasuhisa Arai agreed, forgiving McLaren's drivers for their frustration and saying their humour helped the whole team. But according to Spain's El Mundo, McLaren supremo Ron Dennis had a different view entirely. Absent in Brazil, Dennis reportedly picked up the phone when he saw Alonso and Button frolicking on the podium and told team boss Boullier: "Can you not control your drivers? What are they doing? Control them!"
When asked by Marca what he thought of the drivers' antics in Brazil, Boullier answered: "I'd prefer not to say truthfully." But a McLaren spokesman denied Dennis' phone call happened at all. "This report is total codswallop," he told us, "which means, to make it crystal clear for the El Mundo journalist who wrote it, it's completely untrue." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing