Dennis confirms Alonso and Button will stay at McLaren in 2016, despite Alonso radio rant
McLaren
Ron Dennis
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Sep 2015   |  9:06 am GMT  |  389 comments

A turbulent weekend in the McLaren Honda camp ended with CEO Ron Dennis confirming that he has reached agreement with Jenson Button and that both the 2009 champion and Fernando Alonso will race for McLaren next season.

This came despite Alonso taking to the team radio during the race to criticise the Honda power unit as a “GP2 engine” on two occasions and describing it as “embarrassing”, railing against the standard of drivers he is being forced to race against at the back of the field.

Despite widespread speculation that Button was set to retire at the end of the season, Dennis said that he and Alonso will race for McLaren next season.

Ron Dennis, Jenson Button

“We have Fernando contracted for three years and Jenson contracted for two. We did have an option to terminate Jenson’s contract, but I told him earlier in the week that wasn’t going to happen,” said Dennis.

“He was pleased and maybe I should have told him sooner. I wanted to check with the shareholders and once I had consensus on that..

“The contract is intact and unchanged. I’ve spoken to Jenson about it and he is happy. I could have told him earlier. If you feel the other party isn’t comfortable then you doubt.

Asked ‘Are Button and Alonso in your two primary cars next season?’ Dennis said, “Yes.”

However when this was put to Button he played down Dennis’ suggestion:

“It’s not the right time to say anything yet because nothing is done,” said Button. “I speak to Ron a lot. There have been private meetings. I’ve never talked about our private matters, that’s all I’m going to say.”

Alonso found it hard to hide his frustrations, especially after a Singapore Grand Prix weekend where Sebastian Vettel won for the third time in the Ferrari team that Alonso left last year.

Fernando Alonso

Speaking after the race Alonso said, “When you are being overtaken like we are on the straights it is very frustrating. Also because you see the guys who are making mistakes, braking late missing the line and even with that they are overtaking you on the straight, not even on the braking point. So it’s frustrating. Days like today you feel a but embarrassed because it’s not possible that some of the guys overtake us like this. It should be more competitive, the package.

Alonso said he believes that McLaren is “The only team that will challenge Mercedes in the future, the near future. But right now it’s tough times because we don’t have the toys to fight with them. Everyone is working hard and this is the positive thing.”

Speaking to Sky after the race Dennis said Alonso’s words were “an embarrassment” for Honda and added that he, “Vented his frustrations. I don’t think he needed to make the comment. It wasn’t particularly constructive. We are here in Suzuka, Japan, Honda’s home track. We had the President of Honda, the Head of R&D and the Chief Executive of Honda Motors, the three most senior people who are totally committed to winning a world championship. We will take the pain, it’s the only way to win a world championship.

“He’s a racing driver that needs to have the adrenalin and the passion and he vents his frustration. I wouldn’t say it’s constructive but at the end of the day I’m not going to get too angry about it. I don’t condone it but I’m not going to criticise our drivers because they are pretty frustrated. I’ll sort it behind closed doors.”

Honda has been under pressure all season as they underestimated the challenge of the new hybrid turbo F1 engines and came in to compete against other manufacturers who have at least three years head start on them in the technology.

Both McLarens made it to the finish today, but outside the points in Honda’s home race,

“In front of the home crowd we wanted to do something special here. It was always going to be difficult,” Button said. We are doing our best. We have got to keep out heads down and keep focussed. It’s been a tough weekend for the team, especially Honda. Both of us are finding it tough as drivers, it’s always going to hurt, in front of a home crowd.”

What do you think? Was Alonso out of order? Is he trying to get sacked? Or do you share his frustrations? Leave your comments below

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1

I absolutely sympathize with Fernando, and Jenson. They have been tight lipped all season, and you know they have been biting their tongues all season long. I think in typical Spanish style, he just had to scream, and it happened very audibly in Japan for all in power to hear. Contrary to others, I am sure he did this to shame Honda into producing the phenomenal power unit they are definitely capable of. It was in no way an attempt to get released from a Mclaren, just the opposite!

2

Alonso was totally right to do what he did at Suzuka. It’s Honda’s home race, it’s their home track, and back in the good ol’ days they would bring a mega improvement to the engine. It was frustration that led him to say what he did, but what else could he do? A two time world champion, driving for one of the most historic teams in F1 being passed on the straight by a Sauber (no offence), speaking on the radio “Lovely job lads, love the engine, best in the world”.

No, he’s embarrassed the very people who have given that team that monstrosity in their own back yard. They can’t walk away from it, they have to fix it. I don’t know what shoe size Alonso is but he’s given those engineers and directors one hell of a boot up the proverbial backside.

3

Button has really disappointed me. He is a money-grubbing man. If you still want to race in such a bad car, after all the bad communication, bad results etc., it can only be because of the money. Step a side and let the young ones in. Same for Alonso. Times’s up..

4

Why should Button “step aside”? He’s got years in him yet and all the budding Grashoppers are just going to have to learn patience… This is the way it’s always been in every industry since the world began..

5

I think Alonso still believe in Mclaren Honda. He is just Lifting things up for 2016.

6

I’m sure all of those Honda executives and employees will be sending him a signed thank you note for the uplifting message.

7

Red Bull have painted themselves into a corner. The obvious strategy is to honour their 2016 contract. Renault will have their own team so more data and a more ” urgent” development program! By next year there may be a few more options on the table. Renault will go exclusively in house, they’ve made that clear. At least for a year or two. Honda should be much more attractive. Or they sell up to VW (good luck since they’ve just set aside 6.5billion to fight dieselgate) or make a new deal.

Now they’ve just ended up looking desperate and a bit stupid really. I think the “we’ll leave” stuff is all a bit of bluster. To “pull out” of F1 would be insanely expensive. DM will lose a packet not to mention having to fire about 1000 people with no warning. It’s ludicrous and just a big bluff. Ferrari and Mercedes know it and Red a Bull know they’re screwed.

8

I think Dietrich is done with F-1 and can’t wait to get out of it.

9

But does he need to get himself sacked? Surely there must be performance clauses in Alonso’s contract, much like how Vettel left his Red Bull contract early to join Ferrari, and based on McLaren’s performance, one would think those clauses would be active and he could go if he wanted. I hear there’s a free seat at Renault next year…

10

I don’t think he’s trying to get himself sacked, I think its just Alonso being Alonso. He can be quite a baby when things aren’t going his way. And for all of his political maneuvering he’s rather tone deaf about what’s going on and is endlessly screwing himself over with his attitude and remarks. Even his great benefactor Luca de Montezemolo had to box Alonso’s ears from time to time. When you consider the moves that his contemporaries (Hamilton and Vettel) made i.e., from excellent teams that gave them championships to mediocre teams that have since improved, Alonso has not made good choices and has not contributed nearly as much to the process of a championship as he thinks he does. Actually it seems that when he leaves everyone heaves a sigh of relief that he’s gone.

11

I hope McLaren and Honda sort their problems out. I think we should remember the last time Honda entered F1 as an engine supplier (1983) … they weren’t setting the World on fire. Their results: Retired, Retired, 12th, 7th, Retired, 14th, Retired !!!!

I don’t like the incredibly restrictive formula that we have – it prevents engine manufacturers making significant changes .. hence why Renault, Ferrari, and Honda are taking so long to catch up with Mercedes.

12

They did so badly on their last term in F1 you seem to have completely forgotten they returned to the sport from 2000-2008. 1 wet weather win in all that time…. Woop.

Honda is bad at f1 now. Its just fact.

13

I sure isn’t looking good. I think the last go around Honda had the same problem as Toyota, which was their management structure which is far and away different than what you typically see at Ferrari, or McLaren. Throwing money at the problem didn’t make it go away, and they truly needed someone who would run the team the F-1 way rather than the Honda way and take the credit for it when things went well. They wanted to do things their way, which is fine except it made decision making an arduous process in a business that must act quickly and sometimes scrap an idea when its not working. The fact that Honda have built an entire MGU-K says that their technical abilities are superb, but as with most things in F-1 the solution is not just one thing. It takes numerous small improvements to show significant improvement. The difference between a Mercedes and a Manor is not that great in reality but its is terribly hard to make up when you’re balancing aero, grip, fuel consumption, power output, reliability and dealing with endless meddling with the regulations. Speaking of Mercedes remember how they struggled for three seasons with all sorts of failures and unspectacular results, imagine what it might have been like had they not been working with a proven power unit? How far back might they have been then?

14

Alonso should have been FIRED during the FIRST pit stop for speaking with such utter disregard and disrespect for the hundreds of people who are working as hard as they can to find solutions to the current McLaren problems!

I do not subscribe to that canard about him being the ‘best’ driver. What has he done that hasn’t been done before? Take his 2 championships, multiply them by 3 and add one for luck – then you get Schumacher. Even ‘dropping’ the standard, you still have Fangio. ‘Drop’ it further and you have Vettel. 2 championships; so what?

That does NOT give him the right to be such a silly Suzie! If he doesn’t like it, he should have the nerve, the grace and the class (unlikely) to RESIGN and then welch and whine all he wants. He’s paid a pretty penny to help DEVELOP the car. It it isn’t working properly, it’s partly HIS responsibility!

15

The whole token system is a joke. So are the tire regulations. Each manufacturer should be able to choose their own tires and develop their chassis and engines at their own pace.

16

So much [mod]from everyone towards the best driver of this generation. Are you racing fans or not? He’s the John McEnroe of F1.

17

No question about Fernando’s talent, its that he’s a self-righteous [Mod] towards his team and his team’s suppliers. He’s been at the eye of the storm on plenty of shady business behind the scenes, and controversies on the track, yet for all of that he’s none the wiser. Its not hate on my part, I don’t care to see a man spit in someone’s else’s face and expect to be thanked for it.

18

John McEnroe was slow, old, rude, obnoxious, and won 2 titles by other players misfortune? I didnt realise that.

19

Best driver of this generation? Don’t tell Seb or Lewis, they are laughing too much as it is. Best my mod, self modded????

20

Alonso has always been prone to spiteful comments because he knows he’s able to get away with his intemperate remarks it because of his ability. Must be nice to be so damn perfect that you can talk trash about your employers number one supplier over the radio for everyone to hear. Well there’s a team player for you, that sure makes everyone want to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to get ‘nando back on the podium. Meh, not so much. No one should feel a bit sorry for him or defend his surly prima donna attitude. He of all people knew what he was signing up for. Makes me miss Michael Schumacher all the more.

21

Agree with every word mate. Get well soon schumi.

22

Redbull had the opportunity to pick up Alonso’s contract when Seb moved to Ferrari. So rather than have a 2x world champ in their car they went for a relative rookie instead.

Merc could have played hardball with Lewis during their contract negotiations if they really wanted Alonso in their car. They didn’t and they got their man.

The two top teams last season both snubbed him and he ended up in a marriage of convenience at McLaren. His radio criticism of Honda is similar to Redbulls of Renault. The downside to this public venting is that you don’t then become an attractive proposition to other teams of manufacturers.

For all their faults, the way McLaren have stuck by Honda has been admirable given the level of performance and reliability that Honda has bought to each race. Redbull were very publically critical of Renault when Seb was winning in the V8’s and they had alternator issues mid-season. This on an engine with the rumoured best fuel efficiency and class leading exhaust blowing.

23

That corner, Turn 1, at Suzuka is one of the most thrilling, high-speed corners in F1. It is, in some ways, an extension to the long straight that leads to it. You come in at full throttle at 300+ km/hr, get off the gas, downshift to 4th or 5th gear without much braking (relying mostly on engine braking and aerodynamic downforce) and hit the exit, taking the full curb and then accelerate, turn right to negotiate the first of the S’s.

To be overtaken on the outside on Turn 1 by a Torro Rosso when both cars have entered that corner at normal race pace just shows how slow the Mclaren Honda is. It’s a corner where one guy has to yield if two cars are to get there in racing speed. It did look like the McLaren was driving in a multi-class race, hence the GP2-engine comment. Ideally, Alonso shouldn’t have said that.

We have to look at this another way. First off, it’s a McLaren. Is it? From the paint job to performance, it really doesn’t look, feel and perform like a McLaren. Nor does the engine perform like a Honda engine. The BAR-Honda of yesteryear and other Honda-driven F1 cars of times long gone were competitive. It’s not like Honda doesn’t know how to build an engine. If Honda can’t get it done, what incentive is there for other engine manufacturers to come back, or debut in F1? VW won’t be coming in. Someone made sure of that.

Two of the most senior, experienced drivers with 3 world titles between them, are essentially, being reduced to nobodies. Given the dominance of Mercedes, it would have been great to have these guys mix it up with, at least, the Ferraris and Red Bulls, which is good for the sport. One understands the precarious situations we’re in. It’s a fresh engine formula that will take time for contenders to be on even keel, and they should get close for the benefit and future of the sport.

What I see is in all of this and beneath the surface is poor vision of F1’s short to mid-term future. One can’t blame Mercedes, because it didn’t push the homologation rule onto everyone. All key contenders agreed to it unanimously and are paying the price for it. FOM needs to wake up and be a strong governing body that look after the interest of the sport and not function like a lobby ground for top teams.

24

Alonso once said he can go to any team he wants to and he chose to go McLaren and he is in the place he wants to be. And gets paid ridiculous amounts of money for his services. So why is he complaining?

25

Oh, and his agent/mentor is Flavio Briatore.

26

Because he’s hot headed and spoiled.

27

I’m not an engineer but a cousin is and although he acknowledges the complexity of racing engines, he’s baffled by the lack of progress since the beginning of the season.

28

What a bunch of clowns Ron Dennis and McLaren have become. Compare the way Ferrari handled the speculation over Raikonnen with a clearly issued statement that left no doubt for anyone… to the Ronspeak that only came out under duress from a grilling by Suzy Perry on national TV, which could have been interpreted in any number of ways.

I know it’s easy to kick them when they’re down, but they’re making it far too easy to do so.

29

A lot of talk here about drivers speaking their mind, not being a corporate puppet etc. I’m all for it and would love to see and hear more of it.

That’s why F1 has press conferences and hundreds of journalists running all over the place and all those cameras.

Alonso has every right to be pissed off and has had ample opportunity to vent his frustrations to the media all season, but no, he’d rather lose his rag on the radio mid race behind his helmet.

Funny as hell.. yeah…It’s just not a good look from one of the most experienced drivers.

30

If I believed in Karma I’d be thinking it was catching up with dear old Alonso. [Mod] scandals follow behind him like the wake of a boat. Guess he’s finding out what it was like to be Felipe Massa. You reap what you so Fernando, you reap what you sow.

31

James what are your views on the whole situation? Can Honda sort this out for next year?

32

I’m afraid I’m pessimistic about Honda and F1. Based on last time they were in and what I know of the set up, I think they will not match Mercedes any time soon

33

Nigel Mansell was confirmed to drive for Mclaren once too.

34

He did once they made the car bigger for him in 1995, he lasted two races and walked, not happy with the performance.

The MP4/10 was the first MB powered McLaren and was getting top 3 places before the end of the season.

35

There’s a few F1 “fans” who need to learn that Alonso is eight points short of three world championships in addition to the two he did win against the mighty Schumacher.

36

He won one against Schumacher 2006. In 2005 Ferrari were not fighting for the championship. It was between Kimi and Alonso. In both years He won because his car was more reliable than that of his rivals. Its a theme that plays thought out his career.(2010 Redbull not reliable, 2012, Mcalren and Redbull)

37

not just reliability , Michelin produced tyres specifically tailored to his car

38

Yes, if it had not been for one engine failure, the 2006 WDC would have been in Schumacher’s record not Alonso’s.

39

Wonder if McLaren feel that the Honda F1 engine people aren’t getting the support from Honda upper management necessary to progress? Ron seemed very not bothered by Alonso’s subordination. Im not sure Ron normally likes that sort of thing.

40

So,as uncomfortable as Alonso’s words were to hear,they needed to be said as far as he’s concerned,because he knows that time is running out on his career,so has nothing to loose in upsetting all (something he does so well).

Also,what Ron said was bang on,these pu are so complex,so let the teams develop them,otherwise the whole lots gonna come tumbling down.

As much as I loath red bull acting as they are towards Renault,it’s the same frustration causing their very public spat,and who knows how that’s gonna end.

And for the record….that was the absolute worse tv coverage of any race I’ve ever watched.

41

I can see a McLaren Ferrari in the future 😛

42

That’s funny. Completely unlikely, but funny. Sergio Marchionne would be just the guy to give Dennis a call just to mess with him. No, Ferrari wouldn’t do that for the same reason they don’t want to supply Red Bull.

43

Alonso has always been a fiery character and that’s why I love him! He’s great. I’d rather someone with passion and fire in their belly than the usual robotic monotone drivel. He is massively frustrated, not just at the Honda engine but at years of missing the boat by being in the wrong car. Everyone knows, including Alonso, that he could have been a multiple champion, perhaps challenging Schumachers records, but it hasn’t happened and time has pretty much run out. It’s a shame but he’ll still go down as one of the best ever.

44

He’s definitely going down, but I don’t think as one of the best ever. He’s good, but not that good. He will be remembered for many things but being a great, a legend is not one of them. Vettel can and so can Hamilton.

45

Ernie,

Your probably right. Just love to see him win a WC with another team after merc”s domination is over and Ferrari would be a great final curtain. Hoping Vettel can get another WC sometime at Ferrari, then he will be one of the greats. Thanks for your reply.

46

James k

Hamilton will never drive for Ferrari. They have never sought him. Vettel will be with them for many years. Sorry.

47

Honkhonk

Please, legend!

Alonso has won 2 WDC”s 10 years ago( and I’m not belittling this) . Since then it’s just gone downhill for him. He believed all the hype about himself after he beat the mighty Schummi and that still shows today. Hamilton was hyped aswell, became WC, went backwards a bit and has hit the front running again. WC with 2 different teams and on course for a third . Vettel, four times WC. Wise move to Ferrari. If they turn that around and Vettel gets a WDC again, BINGO. Legend. In 1 to 2 years, Hamilton will be at Ferrari aswell and if he can become WC with Ferrari, BINGO, legend. And I thank you. My opinion of course and no disrespect to Alonso, I think he’s his own worst enemy.

48

That’s funny you should say that because both Vettel and Hamilton have had at least one year when they were thrashed by their team mate. Alonso has never been thrashed by a team mate. In a sport where the only legitimate comparison is your team mate, he’s proven himself better and for longer than both Hamilton and Vettel. How many legends get soundly beaten on points by a team mate in a year? Yea… So maybe rethink things. Alonso is a legend.

49

This should be about what a Ron Denis said.

No one is saying about the cost of these engines… Ron said it’s more than before. More than the v10 era!

Come on people bring back na engines. Leave electric for Formula e

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