Fernando Alonso to leave McLaren for 2008

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 2 | DaimlerReports from Spain suggest that Fernando Alonso’s departure from McLaren for 2008 has been confirmed.

The newspaper El Mundo stated that Alonso will cut short his contract with two years left to run.

McLaren later confirmed the news in a statement but there is no indication who he may drive for or who will take his place alongside Lewis Hamilton.

The statement said:

The mutual parting of ways has not been discussed until now, since it was felt that any such discussion could have seriously disrupted the team’s and Fernando’s 2007 Formula One World Championship challenge.

Alonso, who has criticised the team vehemently on several occasions this year, said:

Since I was a boy I had always wanted to drive for McLaren, but sometimes in life things do not work out.

I continue to believe that McLaren is a great team. Yes, we have had our ups and downs during the season, which has made it extra-challenging for all of us, and it is not a secret that I never really felt at home.

He also denied his earlier suggestions that the team had given preferential treatment to Lewis Hamilton:

I know there have been suggestions of favouritism within the team and people say a lot of things in the heat of battle, but in the end I was always provided with an equal opportunity to win.

Ron Dennis added:

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.

Alonso later claimed McLaren have imposed no restrictions on who he is allowed to sign for.

Photo: Daimler

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35 thoughts on “Fernando Alonso to leave McLaren for 2008”

  1. It will be interesting to find out whether it was mutual or if one party forced the hand of the other as this will impact on the financial situation of ending their partnership.

    It is interesting also that the news has linked via the web – Ron Dennis obviously has underestimated the speed of the internet, he obviously didn’t have his ducks in line before the decision was made!

  2. Am i the only one who would want Button to join McLaren to be the first team in ages to have two British drivers?

    From a UK perspective, it would be a great commercial prospect and finally give Button a reliable car to see what he really can do.

    But I’ve been reliably informed there ‘is absolutely no chance of Button going to McLaren – shame

  3. It’s be nice Adrian but I really can’t see it happening.

    It might sound good from a UK point of view but in an international sport like F1 having two drivers of the same nationality is a bit of a wasted opportunity.

    Really I’m surprised Mercedes haven’t had a German driver in there yet. Nico Rosberg would be perfect I’d’ve thought.

  4. It would not be a good commercial prospect if Button moved to McLaren. They already have Hamilton, so they get all the British sponsors already. If they get a driver of a different nationality, then they are more likely to attract a wider range of sponsors. We saw that when Alonso attracted Santander and Vodafone to McLaren this year.

    There is also the small matter that Button isn’t good enough to drive for a team as good as McLaren. It’s funny how the ‘Button to McLaren’ suggestion only ever comes from Brits! It doesn’t cross anyone else’s mind.

  5. I think Williams as well, but I don’t know why!

    For the full on merry-go-round effect, we could have Alonso to Red Bull, Webber to Renault and Heikki to McLaren just to make things a little complex!

  6. Thank God the nightmare is over.

    How about De la Rosa as Hamilton’s mate next year? I guess Spanish sponsors would like to have a Spanish driver in the team, right?

    I’d love to see Hamilton biting De la Rosa’s dust. :-DDD

  7. How can De La Rosa be suitable for Mclaren and Button not?? Saying that that might work out just fine for Mclaren, as De La Rosa would come nowhere near Lewis thus removing the issue of Number 1 and Number 2 status.

  8. I wonder which announcement will come first – who will be Hamilton’s team mate, or who will Alonso drive for next year?

    [I'm assuming the latter]

    I’m just thinking if it would be a gamble for McLaren to have 2 inexperienced, however talented, drivers on their team – thinking mainly Kovalainen, but Rosberg is still relatively inexperienced. Most of the experienced ones are quite past it, or not really McLaren material (IMO anyway).

  9. Shame the Alonso Mclaren combination could not work out. I dont think only one party is guilty here. Mclaren may not have been very sensitive to Alonso’s temperament, while Alonso may have overeacted in heat of competition and made unjust accussations.

    The fact Mclaren, prefares the hierachy of their drivers to be established through competition, and the eventual capitulation of one, such as Coulthard to Hakinnen, encourages their drivers to develope the killer instincts. From that point, that driver, assumes the lead role. Alonso just felt, he was already established, a two time world champion, and didnt need to prove anything. While that may be true, we should also realise that both drivers were new to the team.

    Its easy to speculate from the outside, and direct blame for the break up to either party. Mclaren is not Renault (Benetton of old), the working atmosphere is different. There is more one on one communication in a team like Renault, between the driver and the team principal than you will find in Mclaren. Alonso experience the austere nature of Mclaren and felt it was indifferent to his temperament. But did he really attempt to win the team over? not just by driving but approaching the management and dicussing issues openly. Perhaps he had just withdrawn himself too deep without even realising so.

    And Adrian,
    Formula1 is not a National sport. Other countries will like to have more drivers in there or in a top team. Button has sunk his boat with his indecision.

  10. I think De la Rosa could do as good a job as Hamilton does, but it’s OK, don’t panic! I know that will never happen, just trying to make some English people go mad. ;-D

    Seriously… I think both Spanish fans and English fans are too much influenced by our respective media. I understand Alonso is not an angel, but I also think Hamilton has a lot to prove. I can’t wait to see how next year’s car works without a World Champion developing it.

    PS: excuse my English if a make a mistake once in a while.

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