Alonso Staying With Ferrari Despite McLaren Interest
Fernando Alonso has done his best to put an end to speculation about a possible return to McLaren.
The Singapore paddock was buzzing today with suggestions that Alonso could go back to the team after Martin Whitmarsh admitted that he would be happy to have the Spaniard back, despite the acrimonious end to his previous stint with the team in 2007.
“Not really,” he said when asked if McLaren had any appeal. “I repeat more or less every weekend, I keep repeating, I don’t know why, that I love Ferrari and I will stay in Ferrari until the end.”
However he also hinted that things had changed at McLaren, and had a dig at Ron Dennis, who is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the team.
“It is nice to hear comments from all the teams – all the team principals – every year, saying they respect my job and my personality. Especially McLaren, there were so many rumours that we had a lot of problems that year.
“I always say that I had no problems with anyone, it was just the philosophy of the team, or especially one man in the team, that is not really there. It’s good to have these comments, but there’s no intention. I have three more years with Ferrari and I hope many more to come, and if we can extend the contract, and that will be my hope.”
Raikkonen Will Be Paid By Lotus, Says Boullier
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says that Kimi Raikkonen will be paid – and denies that the story of the Finn’s salary will hurt the team’s image in any way.
“I don’t think it’s damaging the brand of the team to be honest,” he said. “The truth is that yes, we owe him money, so that’s true. He’s going to be paid, that’s true too and if you want to have a little bit more of the story, last year in the same period it was the same story. We were owing him some money but at the end of the year he was fully paid. It’s just the way we manage our cash flow. Unfortunately we are not as rich as some other teams on the grid.
“You can also understand that a team capable of winning this year and fighting for some podiums may not be as sustainable as it should be. We have obviously favoured our people working in Enstone, which is understandable I think, obviously the car development because this is the essence of Formula One if you want to keep competing. So there is nothing else behind this story.”
Boullier denied that the team might change its strategy by taking a pay driver.
“We keep the same strategy that we’ve had for many months. Genii helped us to bring the team to where it is today. We now want to have more finance, more sponsors because we need to step up and guarantee some stability over a few years. That’s part of the strategy, this is what we are still working on, and we need to deliver on that point. We see the timing was not the right one for Kimi, but we still have to deliver this. That would then allow us to chose drivers on merit which is obviously the first choice.”
He also gave his backing to Romain Grosjean: “His future is secure so far because he has a contract with us. Last year was a bit difficult for him; this year he’s doing a great job. In the last four races, we have nothing to complain about. He was one hundred per cent up to speed, especially compared to his famous team mate. We just see now and monitor what he is doing and if everything is going as planned, he will have a great future with us.”