Williams F1 engineering director Patrick Head has admitted that he doesn't expect Fernando Alonso to remain with McLaren for the 2008 Formula 1 season - regardless of the outcome of today's title decider at Interlagos.

The two-time champion heads into the race trailing rookie team-mate Lewis Hamilton by four points in the standings and will line up behind the Briton on the grid after Hamilton qualified second and the Spaniard could only manage fourth - with the other title hopeful Kimi Raikkonen splitting the McLaren pair on the grid.

However, despite the fact he could secure a third-straight title this weekend, doubts continue to exist over Alonso's long-term future with the team after the relationship between team and driver deteriorated in dramatic fashion - with Alonso having spoken out against his employers in the F1 spying row and having apparently been unhappy with what he feels is favouritism being shown towards Hamilton in his debut year.

Although the door has closed on a switch to Ferrari following the news that Felipe Massa has put to paper on an extension to his contract, Alonso's former employers Renault have said on more than on occasion that they would take the Spaniard back and Head told the BBC that he didn't expect to see him in a McLaren again next year.

"I would expect Alonso to either have a long time gardening next year or to go to another team," he said. "I suppose his relationship with McLaren boss Ron Dennis could be repaired, but I'd be surprised. I think it's unfortunate that it's got to this point, but that's the way it is."

Head added that he felt Ron Dennis and his team wouldn't have been anything other than fair with its treatment of both Hamilton and Alonso - saying that he felt Alonso's behaviour during the season wasn't that of a true sportsman.

"McLaren are a very, very fair team in the way they treat their two drivers," he said. "Fernando did not contemplate that there would be this young chap, Lewis Hamilton, who would be beating him, and he has reacted to that.

"From what I've seen, it does not look to me, or to many people in the pit-lane, as if Fernando has handled himself particularly well as a sportsman."

 

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