Double Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso is to leave McLaren-Mercedes with immediate effect, bringing an end to the strained relationship between team and driver after just a single season.

The news was released in a statement by the Woking-based team after negotiations between the Spaniard's representative and the team's lawyers resulted in the decision being taken to end the relationship 'in the best interest of both parties'.

"Everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, especially McLaren's Spanish Partners Banco Santander and Mutua Madrile?a and the team's title partner Vodafone, want to wish Fernando all the best for the future," team boss Ron Dennis said. "He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Fernando has not really worked out, and in the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward.

"We all believe that our joint decision to part company is for the best, and we will now continue to focus on our 2008 World Championship challenge."

Alonso was confirmed as a McLaren driver on a three-year deal back in December 2005 and took up his role with the team at the start of the year, having secured his second consecutive title with Renault prior to leaving the French outfit.

However, things quickly turned sour for the Spaniard who was unhappy at the fact that he wasn't given number one status within the team over rookie Lewis Hamilton - with Alonso going so far as to say Hamilton was being favoured as a 'British driver in a British team'.

The relationship with team boss Dennis deteriorated even further in the wake of the F1 spying row after Alonso threatened to reveal incriminating e-mails which showed the team was in possession of confidential Ferrari documentation to the FIA. Dennis however contacted the FIA directly to inform the governing body of the Spaniard's claim, with the e-mails then playing a key part in the team being found guilty by the World Motor Sport Council - with a punishment that saw them thrown out of the constructors' championship and hit with a $100million fine.

Alonso also fell out with team-mate Hamilton as the season progressed, with incidents in Hungary and Belgium in particular leading to a situation where the two drivers openly admitted that they weren't concerned if they didn't have to partner each other for 2008 - something which they now no longer need to worry about.

Who will replace Alonso within the team remains to be seen, although Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg are two names to have been mentioned in recent weeks. The only comment from the team is that an announcement will be made 'in due course'.



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