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Friday October 12, 2007 MYT 12:00:00 AM
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LONDON: McLaren have ruled out any favouritism in next week's Formula One title showdown in Brazil between championship leader Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Fernando Alonso.
“Following suggestions that there might not be equal treatment ... the team wants to make it absolutely clear that its policy of treating both Fernando and Lewis with complete equality and fairness will continue for the final race,” McLaren said on their website (www.mclaren.com).
“McLaren and Mercedes-Benz will continue to take every step that is within their control to ensure that both Fernando and Lewis will enjoy the same opportunity to win in terms of equality of car, engine, tactics and use of resources.”
Hamilton, the 22-year-old British rookie who has taken Formula One by storm in his debut season, leads double world champion Alonso by four points ahead of the title decider at Interlagos on Oct. 21.
Spaniard Alonso is three points ahead of Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen in the sport's first three-way finale since 1986.
Alonso criticised McLaren and team boss Ron Dennis in China last weekend after a final qualifying session saw him suddenly slower than Hamilton after being quicker earlier in the afternoon.
“We all know how the team celebrates the victory of one team member and the other,” he told Spanish reporters in Shanghai.
“And when you hear the declarations of your boss saying that he feels a paternal sentiment for one of your team mates and rivals, then you know that you can never have much trust in what that person will do.”
Hamilton has been backed by McLaren for the past decade while Alonso joined from Renault, where he won his two titles, at the end of last year.
Alonso's relationship with the team has deteriorated over the year, to the point where Dennis said last month that he and the driver were not on speaking terms.
“There have been a lot of suggestions and rumours about equality in the team this year. The current point standings illustrate better than anything else the fact that equal treatment is in place,” said Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug. – Reuters
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