JANUARY 18, 2006
Pot calls kettle black
Renault principal Flavio Briatore told Agence France Presse the other day that he was not happy with the way in which McLaren signed a contract with Fernando Alonso.
''It was not pleasant at all," he said. "There should be more respect in Formula 1.''
This is amusing given that in 1991 it was Briatore who many people believe ushered in a new era of F1 deal-making when Benetton, which he headed at the time, snatched Michael Schumacher from Jordan in less than transparent circumstances. At the time you may recall Schumacher had made a sensational start to his F1 career in a Jordan at Spa. Eddie Jordan thought he had a claim on Michael but this proved not to be the case as Benetton swept in and took the youngster away.
It would be interesting to hear what Briatore thinks is any different with the current situation. Alonso has no contract with Renault for 2007 and has a right to negotiate with whomever he so desires. He does not have to tell anyone what he is doing, assuming of course that he is not contractually bound to inform his management.
Briatore also suggested to AFP that the McLaren move was a publicity stunt because McLaren team boss Ron Dennis "has not won the world title for seven years so now he wants to manufacture good news.''
The Renault team (which was previously called Benetton) will no doubt understand that feeling as it was 10 seasons between Michael Schumacher's 1995 title and Alonso's success in 2005.
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