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Alonso spells it out: No McLaren move
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Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Sep 2013   |  6:00 pm GMT  |  153 comments

Fernando Alonso spoke out tonight about rumours in the F1 paddock that he is lining up to defect from Ferrari to McLaren next year.

The story has snowballed in the last 24 hours since McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh praised Alonso as “one of the best” and said that he would love to sign him if he could, despite the spectacular fall out between the team and driver in 2007. The delay in announcing Jenson Button and Sergio Perez served to feed the doubts.

Clearly wanting to nip the stories in the bud, Alonso took the unusual step of speaking to the media after Free Practice 2, something he usually does not do.

“It’s nice to hear comments from all the team principals every year saying they respect my job and personality, especially McLaren,” Alonso said.

“There were so many rumours that we had a lot of problems that year, but I always said that there are no problems with anyone, it was just the philosophy of the team, especially one man in the team that is not already (sic) there.

“It is good to have these comments but there is no intention. I have three more years with Ferrari and I hope many more to come if we can extend the contract and that would be my hope.”

Ferrari has repeated that it has three years remaining on the contract with the Spaniard from 2014 onwards and while McLaren would seem to be the only possible option, should he feel like leaving, realistically any escape clauses in his contract would be unlikely to be triggered by the current situation. He’s second in the world championship, has won races and scored multiple podiums, so performance clauses are likely to have been satisfied.

Only a clause which guaranteed him number one status would be at risk, given the arrival of Raikkonen, but it isn’t legally possible to sign a contract with one driver which invalidates another contract.

Ferrari would countenance the Spaniard taking a year off, but not moving to a rival team and any such move would have to be negotiate with their participation.

Alonso added on Saturday that he is actively discussing an extension to his Ferrari deal, “We are working very closely on arriving at that situation because I hope to end my career in Formula One with Ferrari.

“To sit together and to try to do it, that’s my desire, and the team has expressed to me more or less the same desire when we talk about this.

However, McLaren are serious about rehiring Alonso and the possibility of him moving to McLaren in 2015 must be considered real. Honda will enter the sport with a new turbo engine and a big budget. Alonso is likely to be a key target for them.

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153 Comments
  1. shihan says:

    uff…..another rumors. I’m so tired of it

    1. dean cassady says:

      nothing is impossible.
      intuitively, based on well-established trends, this seems a reasonable possibility, on the surface.
      we’ll see.

    2. Grant H says:

      I knew this story was tabloid tosh from the outset

    3. johnpie says:

      I agree, enough is enough…

  2. Sujith says:

    As Expected. As Ferrari would say, “There is no foundation to that rumor”

    Well that’s what they said when there were rumors about Kimi going back!! :P

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      +1

      Not to mention Singapore 2008.

      It’s not like we can rely on anything he says at all either… It’s one lie after the other. One revision of history after the other. Finally he’s running out of options and the Icemam is on his way to freeze Alfonzo out of his last chance of a third title.

  3. Ricardo says:

    Did Martin really say Alonso was “the best”? I somehow doubt it.

    1. kfzmeister says:

      Why, not outside the realm of possibility.

    2. Anne says:

      Well Martin clearly said he wanted Alonso. And that was the team priority.
      Ron, Sam and Martin are looking more and more like Curly, Larry and Moe.

      1. Cos says:

        …and folks wonder why Lewis left

    3. anon says:

      Maybe he meant “best” politician…

    4. Scuderia McLaren says:

      He’s stirring the pot at Ferrari whilst they are vulnerable with all this change, rumour, ear tweaking etc. Red Bull just spent the last month doing it too.

      It’s amusing how effective they are at it with Ferrari needing to bat away rumour after rumour. By the first round next season, we will have a cool calm and ready iceman and a bothered, anxious, delusional and furious Samura.

      Lmfao.

      1. Simmo says:

        I have to say, it seems as if Alonso handled this one very well so far.

      2. Athlander says:

        Nick Heidfeld once said that when he started Formula 1, if somebody said something you used to think “that’s interesting” but now you have to think “why did he say that?”

        As you said, he’s stirring the pot at Ferrari. What he and others are trying to destabilise Ferrari and the relationship between Alonso and the team is the weak point. Elements of the press join in too, just to ensure there’s a story – so Stewart, Lauda and co. will be asked for their opinions.

    5. quattro says:

      Why?

      He thinks so – and being one of the more honest team bosses on the grid – and said so.

      Already at end of 2007 Whitmarsh “singled out Fernando Alonso’s acrimonious departure at the end of 2007 as a “massive regret” of his 20-year McLaren career”.
      http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/whitmarsh-admits-alonso-loss-a-massive-regret/

  4. Valentino from montreal says:

    Withmarsh said he was the best , but best at what ?

    Maybe best at being a ” prima ” but he’s not the best qualifier , he’s far of being the fastest on the grid , he’s not the best either at building a team around him ( no titles at Ferrari since 2010 or at McLaren ) , not the best at technical feedback ( if he was Ferrari would of produce faster cars since 2010 ) …

    He’s not the best in the rain either …

    Yes Alonso is the best at …. Tweeting !!

    1. Hansb says:

      That is reason why he was voted driver of the year by team principals, both 2010 and 2012 ?
      They must be wrong.

      1. justafan says:

        A strange vote, when you consider Alonso cost Ferrari the 2010 title by crashing in Spa and the 2012 title as well by crashing in Suzuka. ” titles lost due to driver error. 2011 he was never in contention but that was not his fault. This year again he made a big driver error by crashing in Malaysia.

      2. Flying lap says:

        And did you wach the 2010 season, last race? Alonsos fault? Who can you say that knowing the way things really happend? Or are you the only one to know?

      3. johnpie says:

        in 2010 he was crashed out by Rubens, please get your facts correct…
        Fernando Alonso was the only driver to hold on long enough to make the corner, but found himself on the receiving end of an out-of-control Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian’s 300th Grand Prix start ending there and then.

        and in 2012 how is it that since kimi was behind it is Alonso’s fault?

        Alonso and Räikkönen were battling for position on the left hand side of the track, with Räikkönen getting pushed further and further towards and onto the grass. This culminated in the front wing of the Lotus clipping Alonso’s rear wheel, puncturing the tyre, sending him into a spin across the gravel and back near the track at the first corner.

        this is what is referred to as a racing incident not fault to either diver…

    2. Mike Tallent says:

      Did you watch the 2012 season?

      1. Colombia Concalvez says:

        The 2012 was pure luck and benefitting from others misfortunes, it’s simple as that. Alonso had a 40+ point lead and still manage to lose it.

      2. Tyemz says:

        Alonso was the best driver of the 2012 season by a country mile. he had his own fair share of misfortune in 2012 as well (remember Grosjean flying over Alonso’s head in Spa? He was lucky to come out of that crash alive). I used to be a Fernando hater myself until the guy won me over with his driving style.

      3. anon says:

        Yes. Alonso failed to outqualify Massa in the final two races and in the final race only managed to finish one second ahead of Massa.

        Vettel was incredible from Singapore onwards, deserved the title and was driver of the year. The Ferrari was really strong from Barcelona onwards and had by far the best reliability on the grid.

      4. Flying lap says:

        Don’t you know Ferrari has allready explained in that last two races of 2012 Massa was in the fastest car bacause Alonsos car ultimate developments made it slower?. Whit Massas they left the car the same for the last 3 races and it was faster that ALOs car that was “developed”. Just SAD… MADNESS

        Please, look after that info because its published.

        They -ferrari- fucked 2010 WDC in last minute and the 2012 one in last two races… enough for Alo to be fed up of promIses and oposites facts from Ferrari

      5. anon says:

        I have heard it all now.

      6. Boof Head says:

        “Please, look after that info because its published.”

        …. must be true then.

    3. Anop says:

      Fernando is the best driver in a race.

      In addition, Fernando is also best at dragging not so good cars to podiums (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 are prime examples). Not to mention 2006 when he would have run away with the championship had FIA not banned Renault’s mass damper system. Just making a point – not here to argue whether the mass damper was legal or not.

      I love the sport and respect all drivers. Being a Fernando fan I just don’t visit JA on F1 to write something which is baseless about Sebastian or Lewis or Kimi.

      1. Paige says:

        Alonso himself has said that Lewis is the best at dragging performance out of an underperforming car. He specifically said that Lewis is the only driver on the grid who can take a 6th place car and win a race with it. And he should know: they were teammates.

        IMO, Alonso isn’t the quickest over one lap- that would be Lewis. He’s not the best at technical feedback- that would be Vettel. And he doesn’t have the most pace over a race distance in terms of setting quick laps over a race distance while managing the tires- that would be Kimi.

        What Alonso has is a combination of the above elements. And he is the best in one particular regard:

        He is the most consistent performer from race to race.

        With Alonso, you know that you are never going to get lackluster race performances. He will always be performing to the capability of the car, and he will likely not have lapses in concentration or make silly mistakes. He will always have you in a position to get at least a good number of points when the car is even average, and when his rivals are making mistakes- be they drivers or teams- he will be there to pick up the pieces. He has benefitted a lot from this over the past three years with Ferrari when he hasn’t had the quickest car, and it has almost gotten him two championships.

        This is a skill in and of itself that is to be admired.

      2. Rockie says:

        “He is the most consistent performer from race to race.”

        That person is Vettel not Alonso leave the car out of it and look at actual driver performance Vettel leaves nothing on the table.

      3. Elie says:

        I reckon if you take car out of it. It’s definitely Kimi and Sebastian who are very consistent. They put it out there every single time.You usually always believe a Sebastian will be top 2 and usually expect a Kimi to be top 4. What I would say about Kimi is that he makes less mistakes than anyone full stop !- like ever. Unless someone does something really stupid like Perez you very rarely see him touch anyone and when he does its usually the other guy who’s driven him off the the track. The guy has innate ability to avoid collision and the reflexes of a cat.

    4. kfzmeister says:

      Best at getting under your skin. :-)

    5. f1_fan says:

      well congratulations sherlock on cracking F1 code. now that secret is out, its way easier for everyone to win. esp Mclaren this year.

    6. Gudien says:

      Hamilton is the best at Tweeting.
      Button is the best at whining.
      Ricciardo is the best at smiling.
      Kimi is the best at partying.
      Alonso is the best at manipulating his ‘friends’.
      Webber is the best at starting (just kidding).

      Vettel is the best. Period

      1. johnpie says:

        let’s wait and see what he can do in a not so competitive car. if he can make it a winner the way Alonso can then so be it. but here is the deal when a driver’s car is a 1 second – 2 seconds faster than everyone else’s i have a hard time believing that make’s that driver the best.

        Vettel is one of the best for sure but better than Hamilton or Alonso? i need to see him in another car to prove it. and that from what i understand it the general feeling on the grid, will buxton said as much and why i suspect that in 2010 and 2012 Alonso was votes BEST driver by the team principals in auto sports annual survey.

        simply put the best car does not make it’s driver the best. conversely one of the best drivers can make a uncompetitive car the best…

    7. Robbie says:

      He is a fast driver and very consistent but I can’t help feeling he is not able to develop the car as Ferrari has went backwards during his supposed ‘leadership’. I don’t think he’s the best driver on the grid… Vettel and Hamilton are far better.

      1. justafan says:

        Why didn’t Ferrari employ Vettel/Hamilton instead of Alonso/Raikkonen?

      2. Adrian J says:

        Maybe they tried to, but failed.

      3. Hansb says:

        A driver doesnt develop a car anymore. Performance of new parts is judged by CFD or the output of measuring equipement.

    8. Grant H says:

      I think your comment is a bit harsh, look at 2012, 2 time champ!

      I always think of Alonso as the most complete driver on the grid he may not quite have the qualifying pace of lewis or seb but he generally seems to lead a team well (recent times excluded) and can drag a dodgy car up the grid into a podium spot, his podium record vs massa speaks volumes

    9. ASFA says:

      Well , he might not be the best qualifier but race pace he is the fastest , in the rain ? name one better than him , you could say Hamilton or Vettel but the truth is that any driver is going to be good in the rain as their car will allow them to be
      Best in technical feedback and development ? yes he is , since when being good at technical feedback will give you a better car , that is the job of the team and its engineers to make a good car , they can only hear what the driver has to say but at the end they are the ones who will get the car better

    10. johnpie says:

      i find it fascinating that people still want to deny alonso’s driving ability. just get over it. what more does someone of Martin’s stature have to do. he rates Alonso extremely high, period.

      If you don’t like Alonso that is fine i don’t particularly favor Vettel, but i don’t let that get in the way of recognizing his driving abilities. he is damn fine driver on some day the best on other not. overall he has done the best job, not question. and as far being a prima donna what driver isn’t.

      what part of the 2010 and 2012 seasons did you not see to make such claims that Alonso is not good at anything when it comes to driving.

      i guess you know better than the team principals but in those two years Alonso was voted the BEST driver on the grid in an autosport survey.

      do you really like F1 at all or are you just a fan that likes to complain other people’s successes?

    11. justafan says:

      Schumacher took 5 years to win with Ferrari. Alonso is only in his 4th. Lets wait and see. Kimi won in his 1st, but went downward from there.

      1. Pete says:

        Well he had to help build the team from the ground up!! Not really comparable.. Ferrari had/has the infrastructure and the competence to build fast cars year on year (kind of). Not the case when Schumacher, Brawn, Todt and Byrne were brought in.. Quality does speak for it self.

    12. quattro says:

      [mod]

      I mean, only by looking at the final standings of the last four seasons – knowing the relative strength of his package compared to those of his closest rivals – negates every statement you make. And we have not even started discussing his two early titles against SCH and RAI…or statements of most team bosses/drivers /engineers etc.

      Every single one of your “not” look redundant, to use a kind word.

  5. Klaas Backers says:

    His loyalty remains to be seen, now that his no 1 status is under threat. As a Ferrari fan I’ll only sleep solid when he’s in the ferrari at the first winter tests.

    On a second note, Ferrari should immediately get rid of Pat Fry. Since his arrival the development and the path they’ve taken throughout the year is below par. Not sure why they hired him in the first place. He was responsible for the 2009 Mclaren, which was a dog of a car and he has yet to introduce an upgrade package to the Ferrari that actually works.
    It’s painful to see how Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus are beating them on pure high downforce tracks.

    James, is Pat Fry even highly regarded in the paddock? I know Mclaren and Ferrari wouldn’t hire someone who is completely incompetent, but like I said, I’m still waiting on developments that actually make the car faster.

    1. Rudy says:

      Hmmm… I guess you´ll not be sleeping well till January mate. Since Alonso arrived to SF they have done nothing. I used to be a Ferrari fan but having sacked Raikkonen to make way for “prima donna” Alonso, mmm…. Those truly Ferrari fans out there must be wishing these rumors are true. Alonso has a bad attitude when team mates menaced his status. It makes me laugh how much praise he has now for Massa or even Hamilton. For sure he won´t praise Raikkonen because he knows it´s the only one who could kick his butt. And as this generation of “primma donnas” have proved (incl Vettel, Button, Hamilton) when their comfort zone is shaked they throw the toys out of the pram. So maybe the last true racers are Webber and Raikkonen (the oldest, by the way). They do the job and stop the b*****t. Period.

      1. Falonso says:

        Used go be a Ferrari fan….exactly. Any Ferrari fan supports the team not the driver. I never used to like Alonso, but I think what he’s done at Ferrari deserves a championship and really could of had one or 2 but the team let him down. Win together lose together. I was dis pointed when kimi left first time now he is back it is great awesome driver. Think alo will shade it but forza ferrari

      2. justafan says:

        The team let him down? How about Alonso letting down the team? crashed in races and screwed the championship in 2010 and 2012.

    2. Pman says:

      How did Ferrari perform before Pat Fry?
      Oh right. It sucked too. I don’t think he is to blame. Anyway with Allison and the South African in the team, 2014 has hope.

      1. Klaas Backers says:

        From 2000 onwards there were only 2 years when the Ferrari wasn’t competitive, 2005 (and that was mainly due to the Bridgestone tyres) and 2009 (when they were caught out by the rule changes)

    3. Martin says:

      My understanding is that one of the things Ferrari was after with Pat Fry was a strong understanding of bringing the simulation program into step with CFD and wind tunnel work. McLaren were regarded as being at the forefront of that when Fry was signed.

      There is also a case of who was available. Aldo Costa wasn’t felt to be delivering to Rory Byrne’s level, so Ferrari looked to replace him.

      Structurally Ferrari are a bit behind the other top teams. Its wind tunnel is relatively old, was designed for 50% not 60% models and has had calibration problems.

      In terms of technical direction, it isn’t clear to me whether the philosophy of the car is at fault or whether the aero team at Ferrari is just underperforming relative to Rob Marshall’s team at Red Bull.

      Skills in integrating a simulator into car design are different to those needed to make a great simulator. One guy does not do everything. Hiring the right people is an always important skill, but somethings take a long time to change and to catch up to the leaders.

  6. Harshad says:

    James,
    So is it confirmed that he really has number 1 clause in his contract with Ferrari?

    I would have thought those status issues were decided on the track…

    1. James Clayton says:

      James said “Only a clause which guaranteed him number one status *would* be at risk”, meaning *if* there was one which, of course, nobody knows.

  7. dimitris says:

    ‘it isn’t legally possible to sign a contract with one driver which invalidates another contract’.

    Suppose they signed a contract with Kimi with no mention of driver status, either 1 or 2, but have signed a contract with Alonso stipulating he has no 1 status, whatever that means. How can they enforce it? Can they, for example, say to Kimi, move over, let Fernado by because he has no 1 status? Kimi would just answer, read my contract man, I am not the no 2 driver around here. What could the team answer? Yes, but it is stated in Fernado’s contract he is no 1. And Kimi would reply: I do not give a s####t. Or, can they afford to provide Kimi with inferior equipment? They would be undermining their chances for the WCC, and in effect and Alonso’s chances for WDC since Kimi would have to take points away from the other drivers if Alonso is to win the WDC.

    So, really, if Kimi’s contract does not include a clause of him having a clear auxilliary role to the no 1 driver, stipulated in explicit terms, which obviously does not, then in effect Ferrari would be in breach of contract with Alonso. I doubt, however, that Alonso will cite this as a reason to terminate his contract with Ferrari. It would make him the laughing stock of F1.

    1. Laurence H says:

      Another thing that I think people are missing is that, no matter how furious Alonso may be about the signing of Raikkonen, leaving for another team would leave the impression that he is scared to race him in the same car. So he can’t leave without everyone calling him a coward. Which I don’t think he is, and certainly wouldn’t want people to think.

    2. onekerato says:

      Every driver’s contract will have something to the effect that “in race situations, driver must obey instructions from the pit wall, to the best of his ability.” And the contract will make clear that the driver is an “employee” of the team, who serves at the will of the team owner & team principal. The #1 driver’s contract may have an additional clause that team will attempt to maximize the points scored by the #1 driver. Beyond a point, neither team or driver would want to put anything very controversial in a legal contract.

    3. Kimi4WDC says:

      No matter what contract says, if by early mid-season any of drivers will be in more favourable position, Ferrari will support that driver, even if it’s Alonso supporting Massa.

      People read too much into it, but that’s how it always was.

  8. Harshad says:

    James,

    Nice pic, Kimi smiling and Nando looking down! apparantly gutted :P

    1. Martin says:

      it is Brazil 2007 – what do you expect? Fernando to be grinning because Hamilton didn’t win?

      1. Harshad says:

        :) pic depicts the current state of affairs as far as the these two are concern!

        1) Kimi happy that finally his contract things are sorted out and he is Ferrari driver next year.
        2) Alonso, not so happy that Kimi is his teammate for next year.

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      A nice foreshadowing image to next year perhaps…

      1. Pete says:

        +1
        :)
        I believe so……….Del fonso Needs to get his crash-gate helmet on or is it the spy-gate helmet, could actually be the cry-baby throw my toys out of the cot helmet!!!! In any of these cases he needs to get his helmet on and get on it…

        Against the iceman he’ll need alot more than thermo pants….

  9. goferet says:

    Thanks to Alonso for putting the rumour to bed pronto for the media had begun oiling the machine as this rumour was going to run till about 2015 >>> good grief.

    For sure, if Mclaren had Red Bull form, Alonso would have slept on this idea but seeing as Mclaren haven’t won a constructors title since 1998 and seeing as Mclaren hasn’t got a star engineer behind the ranks, well this is a logical step on his part.

    Now, the fact Mclaren want to entice someone like Alonso shows they aren’t happy with their current driver pairing more so in the development field as it appears there’s no one providing the team with leadership.

    Anyway, Alonso has laid his bed at Ferrari and with Kimi’s arrival, he has no choice but to lay in it.

    It remains to be seen whether penning such a long contract will come back to bite Alonso, you know where.

    P.s.

    I heard a rumour that when Alonso left Mclaren in 2007, Whitmarsh said the wrong driver had left >>> Uh-huh!!!

    1. dean cassady says:

      Don’t count McLaren out.
      Traditionally the best in-season development capability on the grid, the trajectory of the development of this year’s disaster, is quite remarkable.
      Could they have sacrificed this year developing concepts, and preparing for the 2014 campaign?

      On the surface, this looks like a life raft for Alonso, to me.
      Whitmarsh is just ‘putting it out there’, no hard feelings from him.

      I don’t think this story is done.
      Alonso would be an idiot, if he didn’t consider this possibility in depth; he’s no idiot.

      The stuff coming out of Ferrari, recently, includes… a lot of stuff that doesn’t mesh up with several well-established patterns.

    2. Joel says:

      Thanks for reminding about Whitmarsh’s comments.

    3. TheBestPoint? says:

      That is the kind of thing Whitmarsh would say but then Whitmarsh is himself being held up to scrutiny, and some of the stuff he does say is being ridiculed by his peers (like Gary Anderson article after silverstone)

      so is he right or wrong? interesting debate but perhaps a red herring one – after all does it not pass the buck to the drivers while absolving him and his staff of managing whatever resources, staff and finances, effectively?

      No matter how one tries to dress it up the best drivers are leaving the team not coming back to it – that says an awful lot about what is going on there. for instance which competitive driver would accept “share data aisle style” that allows the weaker driver get up to speed so quickly – diluting the stronger driver’s currency?

      The business model of incessant PR duties is a big energy drain too (perhaps not their fault but when Honda comes on board they will really need to review their model)

      There is a lot of mgt chaff decisions, that they got away with with Lewis due to the unique circumstances they were both in, that will need to reverse/cut out before they are in any position to attract star drivers.

      Then add issues with Car reliability that look to be getting worse (going from last year) compared to other top teams.

      + race operations question mark..

      if they pulled the same mgt stuff they did over 2010 -2012 then neither Alonso, Vettel etc would have come up with anything substantial either and Whitmarsh would be gabbling about the reverse – Why? because that is what Whitmarsh does.

    4. quattro says:

      “I heard a rumour that when Alonso left Mclaren in 2007, Whitmarsh said the wrong driver had left >>> Uh-huh!!!”
      …and performance/results of the drivers that “did not leave”, in the subsequent years, proved his early statement 100% accurate.

  10. Curro says:

    James,

    On a related note, I seem to recall rumours back in 2007 about the split agreement between Alonso and McLaren including the requirement for both parties not to talk about the other in certain (negative) terms. Can you ellaborate on that? What was exactly was off-limits?

  11. . says:

    alonso will finish his career at ferrari.(and kimi also)
    after that, they are going to hire lewis/seb with bianchi/perez.

    1. Martin says:

      Given the background to this current story that Perez is ahead of Hulkenberg on any shopping list?

      Whitmarsh on Autosport has basically said Perez should be beating Button much more often than he is.

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Probably the only thing I truly agree with…

      “Alonso will finish his career at Ferrari”.

      One way or another I think that’s true.

      The other top teams, despite what they say, won’t have him for either due to expense or his risk to a teams morale or both. McLaren and Red Bull are only stirring the pot, getting one on Ferrari while they are vunerable. You’d be surprised how bitchy the F1 paddock is and sometimes motivation on comments is simply to stir it and get one on an old enemy. These old team principles have long memories.

      As I see it, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes won’t have him. Lotus (Enstone) won’t either and they are barely a top team if at all. Beyond that, Alonso won’t lower himself (literally and figuratively) into a Sauber, Williams, Force India etc. He’d just leave altogether ala Webber. He’s said a few times he has plans after F1, and there is life after F1 and I think he’s certainly visualised leaving.

      Ferrari will be it and likely when Kimi destroys his mind, he’ll announce it around Silverstone next year.

      1. Flying lap says:

        Wait to Silverstone and remember this comments and say sorry if it is exactly the opposite of it, as I suspect.

        You (PLURAL) hate ALO so much that now KIMI has became the best driver ever all of a sudden. Nonsense!!!!

      2. Kimi4WDC says:

        He always was :)

  12. jackie says:

    i think what whitmarsh said is ” “Let’s be frank – people want to sign Fernando Alonso because he is one of the best motor-racing drivers in the world at the moment and would be an asset to any team.”

    so he said one of the best … not best as mentioned in the article..

    if somebody interested in full transcript here is the link :
    http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12479/8931686/martin-whitmarsh-qa-mclaren-boss-open-to-rehiring-fernando-alonso

    1. dean cassady says:

      thanks for that; it changes the message considerably.

    2. Grant H says:

      not only is whipmarsh referring to his race craft in terms of one of the best…. He also knows alonso comes with the backing of a large spanish bank…. What team would not want him!

    3. quattro says:

      Of course he will say “one of the best”. People forget that Whitmarsh is running a team – with two own drivers. It would not look good for his 2 current drivers or be good leadership if he said THE best when talking about a driver of a rival team…

      Whitmarsh did make his stand clear already back in 2007. Not everyday you hear a team boss say such things of a driver leaving for another team…quite telling.

      http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/whitmarsh-admits-alonso-loss-a-massive-regret/

  13. Ding wamage says:

    Okay, that’s settled then. We know Alonso is going to McLaren, the question is when.

    1. dean cassady says:

      who will be the partner of him, do you think?

      1. Ding wamage says:

        Good question. A Latin combo might work real well together ;)

      2. Elie says:

        It will be Button sporting the same Silver pram with a blower and whole lot of batteries. And you will see toys being thrown out by Button when Pirelli changes the compound again..And Nando throwing his milk bottle out when Martin says I love Jenson more..( apologies for the spilt milk ref).. Talk about a match made in heaven

      3. Multi 21 says:

        If they are going out of their way to sign drivers who left cursing the day they ever sat in a silver car, it has to be JP Montoya.

    2. Basil says:

      I expect to see him in chrome for 2015.

  14. maria says:

    Best at throwing toys out the pram?

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      1+ hahaha, Alonso has no loyalty, i really don’t understand how he has fan’s to be honest.

      1. johnpie says:

        he has 1,820,651 as of today and as of this weekend one big fan in the form of Martin Whitmarsh…

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      +1

      1. Flying lap says:

        -2

  15. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

    “No Honda move” should be more explicit…
    So the silly season is over till…… tomorrow.

  16. AuraF1 says:

    I’d love Alonso to be teamed up with Button for the first few years of the McLaren-Honda new era. That’d be a great team until McLarens young talent was ready to move up to the big leagues.

    1. Basil says:

      Actually, I have a feeling this will come into reality. All this contradicting between Monte and Alo cannot lead to harmony.

    2. johnpie says:

      i was hopping for that combo but at ferrari.

    3. TheBestPoint? says:

      Even would Alonso entertain the idea of returning to McLaren do you reckon he would want to drive beside Button?

      Some of you need to be very careful what you wish for: Button with his British Media access/ his stated “I’m embedded in this team”/the affable bloke routine that McLaren apparently love so much?

      I’ll leave you to think about that a bit more.

      …..
      Alonso to McLaren … the other driver could well be “underperforming” Perez (or his equivalent) but Alonso would not care a jolt.

      1. Robert says:

        I seem to think JB and Alonso are pretty friendly…and JB wasn’t bother when partnered with Lewis. I think a JB/Alonso pairing would be dynamite…replace the hope of Carlos Slim’s money with established Santander funding, Alonso as a #1 driver, JB as the best #2 possible – really a #1.5. THE best thing McLaren could do, if I ponder it a bit…

  17. Chromatic says:

    James, you have a great line going in prophetic photos above your articles. This one here looks ahead to Brazil 2014. Looks good to me, and I’m rushing out to put a wager on. Thanks, chris.

  18. All revved-up says:

    Interesting. If McLaren are after Alonso, they must have been after Kimi too.

    Kimi mist have chosen Ferrari over McLaren. I guess it’s understandable given McLaren’s recent form, and that McLaren may not have the Mercedes power unit designed to suit their car as well as the Mercedes.

    So McLaren can’t get their act together on the car, and that’s affecting their ability to attract top drivers. This impacts their ability to be competitive in 2014.

    1. Gudien says:

      *All revved-up*: Your logic is impeccable. I believe what you say is correct.

      Team McLaren….the new Williams F-1

    2. Sujith says:

      Well in 2015, they are going to be Honda’s works team. And a lot of work is going into that partnership now even as we speak. McLaren has a great future.

      The plus side of this for Honda is, they can sit out 2014 and carefully study the teams that have messed up and get their act together when it is their time to return! :P

    3. quest says:

      Going by Whitmarsh’s comments sometime back, it looks like he was hoping to sign Kimi on the cheap, thinking that Kimi would be left with nowhere to go. Alas it backfired on him.

      Whitmarsh isn’t smooth enough to play these games through the media. As a contrast, see how skillfully Button does it. Being publicly rebuffed so categorically by Alonso has gotta be embarassing.

      They would do well to drop Perez and get Hulkenberg but they don’t seem to be considering it.

    4. Harshad says:

      They haven’t got their act together since the last decade!

      They have won just 1 WDC in the last 14 years?(2000-2013), also the one that they won in 2008 was at the last corner of the last lap…

      Why would any top driver sign for them if there are seats available at RBR/Ferrari?

  19. Giles says:

    As was once famously said “nothing in formula 1 is true until it has been officially denied”……….

    1. Chromatic says:

      Do you reckon Alonso and Whits have already signed papers together?

      1. James Allen says:

        No but I can imagine him there in 2015. He may well sign that before too long if he is minded to leave Ferrari

      2. Gudien says:

        Especially if Luca continues to pat Fernando on the cheek and call him ‘Fernandino’ before crowds of Ferrari faithful.

      3. johnpie says:

        i have to say when i read the story i had my doubts, but after reading Andrew Benson article, it made a lot of sense. it is a numbers games.

        Alonso has been at ferrari for four years and it is safe to say they have not designed a chassis that is truly a race winner. and why else go to a team? because you want to win, you think they will be winners, if the team cannot win in 3/4 years time to move on, to what you might think is a winning team.

        ask vettel if he would have rather been at ferrari these last 4 year just for the mystic?

  20. fox says:

    Yep, Fry did not build credibility about himself

  21. Martin Holden says:

    Seems to be a lot of people in F1 are mobile! Maybe we’ll see Ross Brawn takeover Totto Wolfs share holding in Williams and then Jenson returns to his “birthplace”
    in F1. This will leave the coast clear for Fernando to return to Maclaren! Ahh musical chairs, don’t you just love it!! Personally, much more interested in the cars and designs. Must admit I would like to see Williams back at the front end of the grid!

    1. Sujith says:

      Not just you. Everybody wants Williams to get back to the front of the Grid.

      Sir Frank Williams is getting old. Patrick Head has given up on the dream. Something needs to be done. You’re right, Ross Brawn going to Williams will certainly help.

  22. jmv says:

    This must mean one thing: that Vettel is not a candidate for the McLaren-Honda seat… because he is going to Ferrari somewhere after 2014.

    I wonder if Alonso sleeps well these days… recollecting his moments of burning his ships.

  23. gf1 says:

    If I were FA, right now I would only leave Ferrari for Red Bull. Sure, massive changes are coming next year, but who’s betting against Newey bulding the best car under those new rules? If it’s not Red Bull, then what better than Ferrari?. Yes, he has now a strong teammate who might score more points than him, but thinking pragmatically, there’s nothing he can do about that now, and objectively Ferrari is the best option behind Red Bull. McLaren? Why? Again, they haven’t built a competitive car for a while, why would I think they would do so next year? Plus don’t forget that FA has already “wasted” a few years in his career in less than competitive cars, when he could have had one of those: he left McLaren for two miserable years in Renault, and then, if reports are to be believed, he rejected Red Bull to go to Ferrari. Surely all that must weigh in his decision.

  24. rhymesey says:

    The one thing I’ve learnt about F1 is that anything is possible. Can anyone think of a crazyer driver transfer?

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Riccardo and Alonso swap tomorrow!

  25. Ahmad Khan says:

    Jordan made a prediction about Alonso moving to McLaren in 2015, and Whitmarch is trying to be clever and reduce the salary demands of his current drivers for 2014.
    However, Alonso is not that stupid. Yes, he tried to go to Red Bull for the best car, but after them, only Ferrari and Mercedes stand a chance to challenge for the title next year. McLaren are total no-hopers.
    Unless Ferrari perform worse next year (which is pretty unlikely), I see no reason for Alonso to move. And if he decided to move for 2015, Mercedes would be a better bet than McLaren anyway.

    1. George says:

      Why are Mclaren ‘total no hopers’? You saw back in 2009 that they had a dog of a car, next year… back to winning GP’s.
      Ok, maybe 2014 might not be their year but I expect them to be near the front again by ’15.

  26. C Lin says:

    So Kimi & Fernando will end their F1 careers with Ferrari like they said before.

    Let’s wait & see.

  27. Rafael says:

    I thought so! Like the old saying goes, “there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests”. I still doubt that this will happen though, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if it actually did. I think, despite their history (and opposite philosophies), it isn’t totally impossible for both parties to work together again; and both McLaren and Alonso will probably admit this time, that they could have each personally done something differently to have alleviated the situation in 2007, rather than let it unravel the way it did.

    For now though, let’s see if the Ferrari-Alonso partnership can be repaired. Personally, I think Ferrari could have handled the re-hiring of Kimi Raikkonen much better, as more often the message coming across is, it’s more of “S*** you, Fernando!” rather than “For Ferrari!”. Although, if what Fernando says is true (that he “advised” or gave his blessing, rather, to the re-hiring of Kimi) and that Ferrari (bar LdM) truly believes The Iceman can propel The Spaniard’s driving to new heights, then this article from BleacherReport actually gives a pretty good basis for that logic: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1779691-why-fernando-alonso-will-benefit-from-kimi-raikkonens-return-to-ferrari

  28. vikram says:

    yeah, i think he is going to move!!

  29. Mike84 says:

    Oh good grief, will you media ever cease stirring up trouble to get attention? It’s disgraceful. You’d cause someone to have a stroke and just count up your ad money smiling.

  30. Colin says:

    Alonso to McLaren with the new Honda power makes so much sense. F1 without McLaren at the sharp end has been a bit of a turn off this season and I’m sure that all focus will be on re-building for an explosive start with Honda in 2015. Next years re-building will be difficult to stomach but perhaps an inevitable fall out. Plus Alonso by then will have had his fill of the Ferrari straight jacket that mad Monty imposes on all team members. Bring it on I say. Welcome Alonso back!

    1. maverick says:

      He’s definitely not going back to Macca, dream on! Why on earth would he go to a extremely unstable, uncompetitive team which treated him like dirt in the past? You must be kidding me?! Alonso ain’t stupid you know.

  31. Hans says:

    I don’t think that Alonso and McLaren fit together – he as a very sultry personate on one side and McLaren as a cool, disciplined team. They would never pull something off like letting the other car not race for a fast lap but just to produce slipstream as Massa had to in Monza.
    They should not do one mistake twice…

  32. Dougel says:

    A few points . Since he left Mclaren Alonso has had the knack of moving to teams just as they’re hitting a performance down turn. I’d stick with Ferrari for now and see how the new technical team improve things.

    Also, pointing the finger at Ron Dennis yet again can’t help his cause if he did ever want to move. I’m sure Ron is still a pretty influential person in the team, doesn’t he still own it?

    Finally, he speaks as though it’s down to him where he chooses to end his career. Well, Ferrari got rid of Schumacher when they thought he might be past his sell by date, and we know what happened to Kimi and Prost.

    A frustrated Alonso fan.

  33. Flaying lap says:

    It isn’t objetive to negate the obvious. And it is a fact that Fernando is not just a great driver, plus he organises team, brands, fans and media interest arround him as much as only the greatest have that before in this sport.

    Except for 2008-2009 (for obvious reasons) he has been every year lince 2006 (which are more that 10 years allready):

    One of the 3 best paid a year
    Of the 3 with more companies arround
    Of the 2 most succesfull in race
    Of the 2 getting more points, podiums and wins in race
    And the only one that have been in the 3 best teams of the moment (considering Renault one of the 2-3 in 2006-7)

    To read people negating his importance and quality as a driver is just… No credit for the one who does it.

    Its quite the same with HAM in spain -I recond- but the vast majority there, even if they don’t speak to him with “love”, they recond and respect him as a driver.

    I’m sure its a consecuence of HamAloGate in 2007, but let leave this behind and go on…

    ALO is a monster of this sport, recond or not in brithis countrys and Ham fans.

    1. quattro says:

      Mate, I think you will mainly find two groups that will manage to “not see” all the obvious facts that you listed.

      The first group is VET fans that may be bitter that VET is not getting close to the same publicity/interest/recognition as ALO, in spite of winning more races/titles/breaking whatever record. VET even gets boood when stepping up on the podium to the first step, while 2nd ALO gets the cheers and applauds…That creates bitterness and jealousy I can imagine…hence the denial.

      The second group are those (mainly Mclaren fans i reckon) that put all their money on HAM, back in 2007, only to realize in the subsequent years that they had put their money on the wrong horse…and are still not willing to admit the mistake.

      I think, especially after the accomplishments of 2012, those who still do “not see”, are beyond help. So, being an ALO fan, you cannot but lean back, admire and enjoy the top notch racing, race after race – from the greatest. You never know when he will lay down the helmet so enjoy while you can!

      1. johnpie says:

        that is some very good insight…

  34. Flaying lap says:

    I correct: ” … every year since 2003…”

  35. rach says:

    This whole episode shows how much of a bad situation McLaren are in. When have they ever had such a poor car and also when have they had such a poor driver line up?

    Sure Button has his moments but the reality is he isn’t in the top 5 drivers. Perez is a young talent and has at times shown better speed than Button but his consistency is poor and thus is very much a work in progress.

    As for the team well I am really worried about Whitmarsh. He seems to have been manipulated by Button and it has meant that he lost the teams best asset – Hamilton. Button seems to be allowed to get away with anything – firstly playing games in Spa (openly flirting with other teams and trying to put pressure on McLaren) and then telling the world that he had signed a contract before Mclaren were allowed to announce. But Whitmarsh seems happy about it whilst I think most people look on bemused at what he sees in Button when the reality is he should have been chasing Kimi. Then he openly talks about Alonso the guy who nearly destroyed the team in 2007. Now I don’t doubt that Alonso is the best driver on the grid but for him to talk about him like he did yesterday makes himself look silly. I really have to wonder what Ron thinks?

    In conclusion what is Mclaren’s actual plan? They seem lost to me without a genuine plan – apart from Honda. I wish them luck as they have been an incredible team but I really worry for their direction. Maybe that is the problem – they are in Limbo until 2015 which is why no one will sign for them and they are left with Button and Perez when if they had played their cards right they could have had Lewis and Kimi and the team would not have been in the mess it is now.

    1. JustGuessing says:

      Great Post, you’ve summed up my thoughts exactly.

      Whitmarsh’s undying belief that Button is the equal of all Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel is the reason both for the exit of Lewis and their current predicament.

      Button has won some extraordinary races, but that’s the problem, they were (almost all) extraordinary circumstances which he’s somehow interpreted as nothing less than genius.

  36. SbengaF1 says:

    Whitmarsh says Alo is the best piloto in F1. Lewis Hamilton says Alo is the best piloto in F1. They both worked with The Samurai at McLaren. Andrea Stella says Alo is the best piloto in F1. Massa told Martin Brundle that Alo is most perfect piloto he’s ever worked with in F1. And they worked with Schumacher. Enough said.

    Ferrari are idiots. Still can’t believe till this day how they pitted Alo to cover Webb in ’10 Abu Dhabi instead of going for the race win or podium. They’re strategy and development upgrade stuff ups have been amateur legend. Scuderia sucks!

    1. johnpie says:

      i would have to agree with you on this, Ferrari under the guise of Brawn and Todt were brilliant in regards to strategy. for the four years that Aonso has been there they have made some horrible calls when it really counted…

  37. Stephen Taylor says:

    Lotus Update: Massa is favourite for the drive.

  38. Rob Newman says:

    Ron Dennis will never have Alonso in McLaren again. He tried to [mod] him and he hasn’t forgotten that yet.

  39. Haydn Lowe says:

    Alonso will want to comfortably beat Raikkonen in a Ferrari before he considers any other moves. Just my feeling about him, but no more or less valid than these rumours. McLaren have taken such a big step back this season I’m sure any top line driver would want to see where they are WITH Honda power before deciding to join them – unless of course there were humungous wodges of dosh to go with any offer, and until they have sorted their title sponsor situation I can’t see there being too much of that floating around. No, I confidently predict that Kimi will see out his 2 year deal at Maranello with Alonso as his team mate. After that, who knows, but they will drive together for 2 years at least.

    1. Multi 21 says:

      The first line of your post may be the most relevant one on the topic.

      There’s a reason why drivers move from relatively comfy positions in their team to new surrounds against top drivers: Reputation.

      It’s what motivates F1 drivers when you think they’ve achieved everything there is to do.

      Vettel will do it because he knows his drivers titles will always feature the footnote (*titles delivered by Adrian Newey).

      Hamilton did it because he needed to prove it wasn’t all about McLaren.

  40. Steven Pritchard says:

    This is Hack journalism at its best I’m afraid (sorry James, no offence meant directly to you).

    Andrew Benson on BBC headlined with “Alonso is Mclaren’s prime target” which is totally contradicted by the content of the article (Whitmarsh was being asked a simple question, he gave a simple answer).

  41. Elie says:

    I used to think Martin Whitmarsh is ok. But he’s just he’s just talking out of his arse again like he did a few weeks ago with Kimi . It’s all just destabilizing politics..
    We all keeps saying anything can happen in F1. But honestly who in their right mind would hire someone who tried to blackmail a former team boss !- no matter the circumstances..and how good a driver he is.

    Both Ferrari and Fernando wanted to quash these rumours quickly. As would anyone focused on 2014. I love the pic James and really says it all !!. I only wish that Kimi rightfully reclaims his glory of 2007 and maybe pulls a miracle in a reliable Ferrari when everyone are starting again. It might make up for his lost 2005 title to the scheming Samurai or the 2003 title to MS.. Kimi really deserves it. I really hope he gets to retire on a high and you could see the Tifosi still have a soft spot for him. He has a habit of defying what many try to hide or deny in F1 and for this I want him to succeed even more.

  42. Zio Buck says:

    Nando is and will remain a Ferrari pilot until he retires .

    1. maverick says:

      Exactly right.

  43. EA says:

    simple question, simple answer.

    Mclaren will be something else when Honda joins, so can’t rule anything out in terms of pressing interests.

    I’d rather Alonso stays in Ferrari, unless they continue sucking. But he is free to listen to offers, just like Ferrari is free to look at any driver. I’m sure the Mclaren/Honda association will trigger some romantic feelings. Hopefully it matches with good results.

  44. Regis says:

    One little thing of importance. In 2015, Mclaren will not be just Mclaren. It will be Mclaren Honda. A certain driver, who is revered by drivers and will be revered by drivers to come, wrote F1 History with those two names written in his car.

    To some persons, that’s important. Is Alonso one of those persons? Let’s wait and see.

    Loved the quirky smile in Whitmarsh’ face during Sky interview!

  45. Javier Marcelo says:

    Fernando Alonso Diaz was born in a modest family who invest all his money on his joung carrier (opposite of Vetel, Hamilton and Kimi and – only for that – admirable)
    To earn some money for the race expenses he worked as a mecanic with Bulto’ brothers (owners of the legendary Bultaco bikes brand).

    HIs only idol from youth was senna and his dream to emulate him at… Mclaren.

    He got into formula 1 througt a dog cars team (Jordan) and has to work and learn from the very botton (not like VEtel, Hamilton or Kimi)

    Whem he first raced he did it in a dictatorial kigdom of a german well knowing as dirty as maximun to win, even crahsing agains his revals… calle Schumaker.

    He always declared openly -since he was no one- that it was more importand to be clean that to win. Not a Schumi way…

    He was the one who stopped the five back to back WDCs of Schumaker and made him retire, after he had declared he wil retire when a young more talented that him would arrive at f1.

    He is the one that HAmilton and Vetel more admired when they both arrived to the great circus.

    After winning 2 WDC the atmosfere was that he could became a new Schumaker and his piriod a new dictatorial one. And no one wanted that. Not Eclestone, not the FIA, not any team.

    And he was from Spain, a country without even a gran prix winner before. Whiout commercial interest or market actually. The hole f1 world was agaisnt him. So, “the plan” (in a sport were Eccleston was said in advance year afther year who would be the WDC at the start of every last 6 campaigs), the plan was to destroy Alonsos carrear ASAP…

    Casual or real, in 2007, ROn Dennys try to destroy him at his very best… someone who had to retired after all that bizarre campaing…

    Alonso, easily, would have won 2-3 WDC in a row with a ” NORMAL ” Mclaren and would have go them to Ferrari with 3-5 crows.

    Instead, he had to race agains his onw team (it did not happen never before) and, even though, ended only a point adrif from the championship.

    This is, after 2 years obligated in an average team and car, the way he arrived al Ferrary.

    And since he did, he found a conservative group at the great team, starting for Domenicacalllli…

    He is a tough guy, call him a Samuray if you want to laught at him, but a fighter with no doubt.

    Something to do whith HAm, VEt or Kimi backgroud? Not much.

    And now he will have to re-invent his future again but if he becames 2014 WDC… After 3 WDC HE HAS LOST UNFEARLY, HE DESERVE SOME LUCK AND ALL RESPECT.

    Just andswer one question: tell me one driver with he has crash an
    nd had polemics for his fault in 10 years, and please, d fr thaton’t mension the CrahsGate that Renault organices with Piquets (f&s) before the team lost his main brand (ING) to employies and finally left the sport. ..

    1. James Allen says:

      He came into F1 with Minardi, not Jordan

      1. Steven Pritchard says:

        Cornflakes now being wiped off my monitor (uncontrollable guffaw)

  46. Torchwood Five says:

    That is an excellent picture for the article, James.

    1. Javier Marcelo says:

      It was a mistake. I knew it of course, but that is an excelent picture of the actitude here about Alonso, Torchwood, as your nickname of yours

  47. Javier Marcelo says:

    JAMES it is sad that you don’t say a word about the topic and try to… please, get in to it and recond that Alonso has always been consider and outsider from the stablishment. But I tell you something, that is exactly his main power, that normal people recognise themselves on him and his everyday efford. He is just like the majority of us in a world of extravagant expenses and rich men or spoil young guys made by big teams. Drivers with no personal opinion.

    Alonso has made huge contributions for this sport:

    Fairplay on race.
    Brake the boring stablisment.
    Open the way to young drivers and normal guys, not only rich drivers from rich families.

    And his expertise at driving.

    But I will not fight more for him. Not here. This is made for other interest… more “arian” and nobel.

    1. Steven Pritchard says:

      Javier,

      You’re accusing this site of being Arian (didn’t think there were THAT man Vettel supporters on here but there you go), but clearly you are supporting YOUR national hero blindly.

      Fairplay on racing? Really?

      1. Javier Marcelo says:

        Steven, I mean “fairplay on racing” focusing on “the race”, how Alo drive in every race.
        I know some people think it is not fairplay his mental games or every day messages about Samurais and all that rubbish, off the race, and I can agree he should stop with it.
        But ON RACE, tell me if I´m wrong if I say he is one of the top drivers with les scandals on race. Or, in other way, with less sanctions for races actions in the last ten years.

  48. Javier Marcelo says:

    ohh ohh ohh

    First lap, from 7th to 3rd!!!!

    This is it!!!

    Better to speak on trak!!!

  49. Cutu says:

    “especially one man in the team that is not already (sic) there”
    I don’t know if it was you Mr Allen or if it came that way in a press clip, but the inclusion of the adverb “sic” is quite rude, to say the least. It is rude because it makes mockery of Alonso’s language skills and that could only be done (the mockery) by someone with at least the same skills than him in a foreign language. Is that so? Does the writer speak spanish as well as Alonso does in english? I guess not. More so if we bear in mind that Alonso not only speaks english Ok, but also italian. Pity he didn’t have the time to go to a public school, as he was karting around at that age. Some might not like Alonso as a person, but making mockery of language skills is as unsporting as booing a champ.

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