Dennis' focus driven off track by spy scandal controversy

MCLAREN boss Ron Dennis this week turns his attention away from the world title scrap involving both his drivers to focus on a very different fight.

Fernando Alonso’s victory at the end of a chaotic European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, combined with team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s ninth place, means the gap between the duo is just two points.

Dennis certainly could not be happier with the situation, although in many respects it has become overshadowed by the ‘spy’ scandal.

On Thursday at an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sports Council in Paris, Dennis will attempt to clear his team’s name. McLaren face a charge of ‘fraudulent conduct’, namely being in “unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Ferrari”.

On Friday, McLaren’s account of the saga was handed to the FIA, and will be used as their submission at the hearing. If found guilty, his team could be docked points, banned from races or worse still, be thrown out of the championship altogether.

However, Dennis believes “time will demonstrate the truth of this matter”, clearly believing his team will escape any sanction.

He added: “I could give a tremendous insight into the whole thing now, but it would be inappropriate. There will be a time and there will be a place. What I will remember is the experience, the material, the negative publicity and how it has been generated about McLaren – and I’d say deliberately McLaren.

“But then we’ve had fantastic emails from every chief executive from every company who supports us. They know what it is to work with McLaren, they know what our reputation is.

“However, I saw an article referring to how our sponsors were unhappy, and we feel pretty down. But at the end of the day I refuse to move away from following the correct procedures, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Those ‘correct procedures’ will continue to effect Hamilton and Alonso because with seven races remaining, it is too close to call as to who will emerge on top.

Dennis, as he did after the Monaco Grand Prix when suspicions of team orders were aired, maintains there will be no favouritism to the very end.

“They have to fight,” insisted Dennis “I know it is difficult for many people to come to terms with us providing equality, but we try to be a grand prix team of good values and very correct.

“Over the years I have found the best way is to try to give equal opportunity to both drivers, to try and take equal and fair decisions, and let the race take place on the circuit. That is the way I and the team have always been, and will continue to be.

“It doesn’t always get the right result because if you remember, two years ago we won 10 races, but not the world championship – that’s the way it is.”

Looking across the paddock at Ferrari, who have Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen still in the hunt, he feels his bitter rivals are also doing the right thing.

“In fairness, Ferrari appear to be running their cars in the same way, with the drivers given equal equipment,” added Dennis, whose team have the edge as they have not failed to finish yet this year.

“Obviously, their unreliability is determining their fate.”

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