McLaren boss Ron Dennis has admitted that he was disappointed to hear Fernando Alonso refuse to answer a question on the equality of equipment provided by the Woking team this season.

The Spaniard was asked whether he thought he had been 'treated in a fair way by the team' before the journalist suggested that 'maybe the team favour Lewis by making subtle changes to your car, like tyre pressures or wing settings'. Caught by surprise, the double world champion hesitated before replying that it was a 'difficult question... I will not answer."

Although he had refused to be drawn into making accusations against the team, Dennis clearly felt that Alonso - with whom he has apparently not spoken since Hungary - could have come out against the opinion and defended McLaren in one of the areas it prides itself on.

"Going into the Japanese Grand Prix, Fernando was two points behind Lewis," he pointed out, "I think the season so far, in respect of our two cars, their reliability, their competitiveness and the way that our team has conducted itself leaves nobody in Formula One with the view that we do anything other than provide equality to both of our drivers.

"There are numerous equality clauses in our contracts. They are reciprocal in both drivers' contracts, and it is a well known fact that we do not favour - even in very very difficult circumstances, even in the level of competitiveness and the spirit of competitiveness that sits between our drivers - we never will, never have and certainly are not favouring either driver at the moment.

"This is a straight fight and I'm obviously disappointed that someone who really has all the knowledge should not be more direct and open with the response, which is: equality is how we run our team."

Alonso goes into the Chinese Grand Prix twelve points adrift of Hamilton after crashing out at Fuji while the Briton took his fourth win of the year.

 

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