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Monday, August 4, 2008

Dennis's Alonso response a lesson in RonSpeak

Perhaps you remember this exchange from Thursday’s Hungarian Grand Prix pre-race press conference:

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association) Fernando, this race last year was a difficult one for you personally. How much happier do you feel personally even though you are not in a championship winning car?

FA: Much happier this year for sure. Last year again it is true that I had a possibility to fight for the championship and it was okay. I knew that this year it was not possible any more. But if I was racing for McLaren now at this moment maybe I would be in the same position as I am now without the possibility to win. So at least I am happy to be with Renault with the full support of the team and knowing that everybody is working night and day to give me the best car possible. One day we will be seventh, one day we will be fifth and hopefully one day we will be on the podium and everybody on the podium will be there with some excitement.

Well Ron Dennis has fired back, and that response, reported by several outlets, was classic RonSpeak.

"Firstly, when the contract with Fernando was terminated there were pre-conditions which determined the behaviour of both parties post-termination," he said. "We have no intention of breaching that agreement. His opinion is his opinion - I'm not going to voice my opinion about anything that Fernando has done or said.”

So, of course, Ron is not going to criticize, right? I mean, that's what he said.

"What I would say is you can't see any strings leading to Heikki's shoulders and he's an honest guy. He will more than convince anyone who talks to him that this is a team absolutely committed to equality. It always has been and it always will be.”

Um... ok... that’s not really critical, Heikki is happy with his role in the team and that contract extension was just signed, so he’s a company guy. And Ron is just talking about Heikki. No criticism here.

"People will point to the last grand prix [at Hockenheim] and say it's absolutely obvious there were team orders in that event because it was clear that Heikki moved over and let Lewis past. The essential fact was that throughout that race Lewis was nearly seven-tenths of a second faster than Heikki and he knew that, he was told that. He was not told to let Lewis past."

Hmm... not really an answer. After all, it may be company policy to let the faster car by. Then no one has to get on the radio and say “let Lewis past,” incurring the wrath of the FIA and all things good.

And imagine if you don’t have the better car on a regular basis? I think Fernando was also referring to equal equipment. Wait, wait, you argue, maybe Lewis is just better at setting up a car. Well ...

But, hold on, this story was all about Ron not breaching the agreement and criticizing Fernado, right? So far so good.

"But when you're in a team and you know your team-mate has the opportunity to win the race and you don't, if you have the right values that are not lodged solely and exclusively in your own motives and your own objectives and your own selfishness, then you take a decision which is to allow the driver past and allow him a chance to win the race, which is what he did."

Woah! WOAH! Where'd that come from? I’m guessing because we only implied a name we didn’t get all tit-for-tat there. Riiiiiiiiiight.

"You can go back through the entire history of McLaren and talk to any driver who's driven for us and you will not find anyone, save for one, who will not verify this team always runs on the basis of equality and always will."

Just because it isn’t said don’t make it true. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

McLaren appears to make a lot of decisions about it's drivers, both during the race and earlier. In fact, I think it was an argument from a driver during qualifying, last year, that started all the trouble. In the U.S., marketers and PR people will tell you to take your weakest point and push it as your strongest. Equality, equality, equality, the man beats it to death.

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