Amid stories of FIA spies in the camp and realising that the eyes of Spain, at the very least, will be watching its every move, McLaren has again trotted out the promise that both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will be treated equally in this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix showdown.

Although the Woking team had built up a reputation for fairness and its belief in not running a favoured 'number one' driver, the events of this season - with the espionage scandal and the ongoing row between Alonso, Hamilton and the management - have led to paranoia on all sides as the two drivers go into the final round split by just four points.

Although Ferrari retains a hand in the outcome of the championship, with Kimi Raikkonen a contender and Felipe Massa a known quantity - and therefore a potential 'spoiler' - around Interlagos, McLaren knows that the destiny of the crown could lie in its own hands on Saturday and Sunday.

"The Brazilian Grand Prix is an appropriate cliff-hanger of a race for what has been an extraordinary F1 season," CEO Martin Whitmarsh said in the traditional pre-race communiqu?, "There have been well-publicised suggestions of there not being equality for both Fernando and Lewis. However, we can categorically state that they will be given the exact same opportunity to win the race - and the championship.

"Both drivers have held these [top two] positions for the majority of the year, and every single member of the team is pushing hard for the victor to be one of our two drivers. For all three championship contenders, and our nerves, we hope to have a race without any weather complications - given the unpredictability of the region -accidents or incidents. It is a fantastic end to the season, and we hope to have a fantastic race for the fans."

Engine partner Mercedes-Benz potentially stands to lose as much as anyone, reputation-wise, should there be claims of malpractice, and motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug is keen that all should be 'above board' this weekend.

"Twelve years ago at Interlagos we started our first F1 race with our partner McLaren [and], because this is obviously currently an issue for some, I would like to point out that, since then, all our drivers have had the same preconditions, technical and support-wise, and this will not be any different in the 2007 season finale," he stressed.

"The Brazilian Grand Prix will be the end of a great season, which brought the most extreme challenges for the team, who replied with optimum performances. I cordially thank every single team member for this. We have already clinched this important victory over all influences from outside the team, and we will work in the final race as focused as before to achieve the world championship title with one of our drivers taking first and with the other one, hopefully, as runner-up in the overall ranking.

"After the final chequered flag, the points table ideally should look like it did for the last six months - either Lewis ahead of Fernando or Fernando ahead of Lewis - after a tough and fair fight on and not off the track. Two years ago, we achieved a 1-2 victory [at Interlagos], and have won there a total of four times since the beginning of our partnership. Hopefully, this a good omen for this final race."

Alonso, who lies just four points shy of Hamilton in the title race, was also accorded quotes expressing his belief that the team will provide equal equipment - contrary to some of his claims in the media - but knows it won't be an easy weekend.

"Although I am now only four points away from Lewis, I still need for there to be a lot of circumstances in my favour for me to win the title," he said, "They are out of my control but, for sure, I will be doing everything that is under my control to make it happen. I have to do my bit and then hope everything else falls into place."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...