Pedro de la Rosa criticises McLaren driver equality

Pedro de la Rosa, Hockenheimring, McLaren-Mercedes, 2006 | DaimlerSome people (myself not included) are sceptical about whether Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen are going to get equal treatment at McLaren this year.

So it was interesting to see Pedro de la Rosa not only confirm that they will get the same treatment but say he disagrees with the approach, in an interview for a Spanish newspaper:

In my view, a formula one team must have a leader and everyone should work for him, as happens in other sports such as cycling. That is the modern concept that should govern any team.

This statement clearly goes against what Ron Dennis practices, which Lewis Hamilton recently explained his support for. It makes me wonder about de la Rosa’s future at McLaren.

When I first heard that Fernando Alonso and de la Rosa had known about and discussed the confidential Ferrari information that led to McLaren’s exclusion from last year’s constructors’ championship, I wondered if either driver would keep their jobs. Alonso has since left the team, de la Rosa has stayed.

He’s been with the team as test driver since 2003 and although he’s made several race starts for them it appears he’s never been seriously considered for a long-term drive.

Following Heikki Kovalainen’s appointment to the race team de la Rosa said he’d like to return to racing again:

After what happened, my chances of racing for McLaren are small. Looking ahead, yes, I am thinking about some other series. I am eager to return to racing.

He’s also said he misses having Alonso in the team:

I personally miss him. Fernando is always a great contributor to a team; it is better to have him with you than to have him somewhere else.

Given this, and speculation that he and Hamilton don’t get on, could de la Rosa be about to leave McLaren?

Oh, and I don’t agree with him. I think some of the best champions have been those who beat world championship-class team mates in equal machinery. Ron Dennis wants world championship-class drivers in his cars, which is why de la Rosa will never get a long term race seat at McLaren.

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26 comments on Pedro de la Rosa criticises McLaren driver equality

  1. oliver said on 31st January 2008, 10:08

    He has more or less confirmed that the drivers had equal treatment all of last season.

  2. Michael K said on 31st January 2008, 10:38

    I think the main question here is the definition of what a #1/#2-driver really is. McLaren and Ron have “arranged” many, many wins if the #2 was in the lead in order to let the #1 through, what is equal about that? Last season it wouldn’t have worked as neither driver was ready to step down to #2, as it was the case with Senna/Prost earlier on. But in Senna, Häkkinen and Räikkönen McLaren has had a string of clear #1 drivers who were helped by their respective #2 teammates. Equal machinery doesn’t mean equality, regardless of what Pedro “I have to try and keep my job” dela Rosa says. Every time McLaren adjuested the strategy to let the #1 through that had nothing to do with equality. McLaren’s so-called driver equality is nothing but a myth…

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st January 2008, 10:47

    I don’t understand the argument that de la Rosa is trying to keep his job by criticising Ron Dennis’s policy?

  4. Michael K said on 31st January 2008, 10:52

    Well, maybe the McLaren PR guys are getting a little savvy after the debacle year 2007 by trying to make Pedro sound genuine rather than just saying how great and equal McLaren is?

  5. Michael K said on 31st January 2008, 11:01

    Plus, poor Pedro is treading a fine line between trying to lift McLaren’s image in Spain while at the same time not attacking Fernando “God of Spain” Alonso. If he would just back McLaren, and by that say that Alonso was wrong, he would be lynched in Spain. So he has to remain Alonso’s best mate while trying to help McLaren in Spain. Not easy, but done well in this piece I think.

  6. I’m surprised De La Rosa is still employed by McLaren, first with the spy scandal and speaking out against his employer’s ethos. Surely someone who so openly disagrees with a company’s mission statement shouldn’t be working for them – I think I would’ve quit if I were De La Rosa.

  7. MacademiaNut said on 31st January 2008, 14:08

    Keith,

    What he is saying is that, probably Pedro is going to lose his job.. Hence this statement.

    Cheers.

  8. frecon said on 31st January 2008, 17:05

    Oliver, Pedro hasn’t more or less confirmed equality policy. He said: “when i replaced Montoya, i had got the same than Kimi”. I also remember when he was interwied then, and he always said that his job would be help Raikkonen.

    Maybe you don’t like it, but Pedro has been saying the same #1-#2 discourse for years, not only with the Alonso-Hamilton affair.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st January 2008, 17:34

    Do you have any of those other quotes from de la Rosa?

  10. frecon said on 31st January 2008, 17:57

    Here you have the whole interview, but i guess you don’t speak spanish. If i have some time i’ll try to send you a translation

    http://www.elmundo.es/elmundodeporte/2008/01/29/motor/1201595897.html

  11. carlos said on 31st January 2008, 18:11

    The policy of equality of McLaren is well known for all the world, the own FIA had to send a watcher the last year to learn about that.

    ” Ron Dennis wants world championship-class drivers in his cars, which is why de la Rosa will never get a long term race seat at McLaren.”

    If true, Ron Dennis has not been very competent to get a world championship for this year, Ferrari and Renault yes.
    Ron Dennis had a world championship-class driver the last year, a double champion called to be triple champion, Dennis ruined that, Dennis obtained nothing for his team, Dennis was unable to retain a double champion even with a signed contract, all a example of management of a F1 team.

  12. andyduncan said on 31st January 2008, 18:20

    Quite frankly I’m surprised PDR is still at McLaren, given his role in the spying scandal. Of course he misses Alonso, he doesn’t have anyone to discuss Ferrari’s setup data with.

  13. frecon said on 31st January 2008, 18:48

    andyduncan, when you talk about the role of de la Rosa in the spying scandal, i guess you mean the role of de la Rosa in the Mclaren’s concealing of the spying issue.

    I mean Alonso and PDR could be guilty of cooperating with FIA in the investigation, but they didn’t steal info to Ferrari, they didn’t design parts of the MP4-22 using that info, they didn’t pay money to Ferraris engineers to betray their old team and bring stolen info to Mclaren, they didn’t lie and hide information about the spying affair to the FIA.

    It’s funny that you are shocked because two drivers change emails about Ferrari data, but you don’t be shocked because engineers used that info to design parts of the car, or because Dennis lied in the FIA council.

  14. Since the only difference the FIA equality watcher made was to force Alonso onto a brake pad he didn’t like (and thus the “equality” inspector generated inequality), I remain sceptical of the accusations of intentional McLaren unfairness. In any case, unlike the engineers’ intentional use of Ferrari information (which was never proved, only alleged), Pedro was proven to have a lot of implicating e-mails in his possessions – well, sort of proved. (The case was handled so sloppily that the only thing completely proven was the FIA’s inability to handle such cases, but that’s another story).

    Pedro’s anti-equality stance won’t endear him to traditional McLaren values, but with Hamilton being allowed to assert himself as team leader apparently unimpeded by the team itself, perhaps that’s changing.

  15. frecon said on 31st January 2008, 19:43

    Alianora La Canta: use of Ferrari information (which was never proved????????????

    Have you read the FIA report of December 5th?

    There is a lot of quotes like this:

    107.1.- the [redacted-confidencal] sytem appears to have been reinvestigated and developed by Mclaren as a result of a receipt of confidential Ferrari information. Despite senior Mclaren management imposing a hiatus on development at the time the Coughlan activities were revealed, Mclaren now intend to use [redacted-confidencal]on the 2008 car.

    It’s not proved enough for you? Mclaren using of Ferrris info in 2007 and 2008 car it’s completely proved. The only thing unknown is the FIA-Mclaren agreement which allows compite Mclaren in 2008 without further punishment.

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