11 December 2014
Dennis points finger at Hamilton for 2007 issues
Ron Dennis said Lewis Hamilton was a major part of the reason for the falling out between Fernando Alonso and McLaren in 2007
Ron Dennis said Lewis Hamilton was a major part of the reason for the falling out between Fernando Alonso and McLaren in 2007.
Alonso's return to the team was confirmed on Thursday morning, with his previous spell at McLaren lasting for just one season after a difficult year in 2007. While both Dennis and Alonso said they feel they have “unfinished business” together, Dennis was also keen to highlight the role played by Hamilton in the problems seven years ago.
“The reality is in Formula One seven weeks is a lifetime, seven years is just a huge amount of time in Formula One,” Dennis said. “Whilst I was unfortunately still 60 seven years ago – and boy I would like to be 60 now – nevertheless you still continue to mature and understand.
“I am very tough on myself, and that toughness and aggression that I focus on myself isn't always a good catalyst to a balanced approach to life. I've mellowed quite a bit over the last two years, and became much more inclusive which I think is a good strategy to have to address the change of succession in the company.
“But to go back to that period, you look at the chemistry. We had Lewis, a young guy who was understandably perceived by many people as the chosen one, but also someone who had immaturity. If you go down the 'who struck the first blow' route, actually I would say Lewis had his role to play in starting this process which escalated.
“By and large, those challenges that you have between drivers – I had them in previous championships with Alain [Prost] and Ayrton [Senna], several times – I have always managed to be able to defuse. But this one got away from me. I look back on my contribution to that with exactly the same emotion as Fernando expressed, which is you regret the mistakes you've made in your life but sometimes you can't change what's happened.
“Could I have engineered a way out of it? Well I could have probably done things better, but the reality is that you look back on your mistakes and if you're honest with yourself, you accept them and you're intent not to repeat them, then you put yourself in a frame of mind that actually you overcompensate. So I don't actually anticipate any issues between Fernando and I.”
And Alonso feels being paired with the more experienced Jenson Button – who himself has worked successfully alongside Hamilton in the past – would prevent any similar problems arising.
“You have to be honest with yourself - as long as you are, you think back and learn from the things you did,” Alonso said. “It is time to think of the future, and to be happy and competitive. That is what we want from this partnership. The other side, it is no longer 2007: it is not McLaren Mercedes, it is McLaren Honda, which is a completely different thing in my opinion. Jenson is not Lewis [Hamilton], which is completely different, and I am not the same as 2007. I had two years on my contract if I wanted at a very fantastic atmosphere. I am sitting here, ready for this challenge with McLaren Honda, because I see no problems at all. I see this as a winning project: that is very clear.”
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