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Dennis welcomes Alonso back and talks of "unfinished business"

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Dennis welcomes Alonso back and talks of "unfinished business"
Dec 11, 2014, 1:45 PM

It seemed hard to imagine until recently, but McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Fernando Alonso have saddled their futures to each other.

It seemed hard to imagine until recently, but McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Fernando Alonso have saddled their futures to each other.

Dennis welcomed back Alonso, with whom he had a spectacular falling out at the end of their 2007 season, talking about "unfinished business". He added that the Alonso and Jenson Button partnership is "possibly the best line up that has existed in F1."

Speaking at the official unveiling of Alonso and Button at McLaren headquarters today, Dennis said that despite all the problems that occurred between them, Alonso is a winner and in that respect is perfectly aligned with his and McLaren's objectives.

"One thing hasn't changed (since 2007) and that's Fernando's focus on winning," said Dennis. "That's our objective too.

"One of the things I really respect is that he chose to change direction leaving one of the most successful teams in F1 and coming back to McLaren and addressing what we feel is unfinished business.

"This is a different type of winning. Fernando is going to prove that he is an absolute winner. But also he is going to show that he can re-integrate with our team."

Alonso said that he had had many meetings with Dennis over the last few months, dinners and meetings in hotel rooms at race tracks and they came to the conclusion that they are "both very competitive people and sometimes competitive people don't agree", but he added that with time he had realised that his 2007 season was the only open loop in his career which did not sit well with him. So they buried the hatchet.

"I felt that there was unfinished business when I left," said the Spaniard. "I brought number 1 from Renault now I'm going to bring it back to McLaren driving for them. There was something that was not right and that was the 2007 experience.

"My first go kart was a McLaren Honda replica when I was three years old," added Alonso. "When this partnership with Honda was announced it already looked attractive. I am joining this project because I believe it can bring me the results and the third world championship. I have seen the things to give me confidence that many good things will come. The contact started 18 months ago, thanks to Martin Whitmarsh, Eric Boullier and to Ron for the convincing conversations.

"We have to be realistic and confident. This year for McLaren was not a super competitive year and for Honda this will be the first races for a complex new power unit. It is difficult to say when we will be competitive. There are signs that things are moving in the right direction.

"I know Jenson for too many years, he's a great professional and a gentleman and the experience we both have will help Honda with the new project."

Dennis confirmed that Button's contract is for two years. He said that part of the reason for the delay in signing Button was the possibility that McLaren may be required to supply a third car in the event that the F1 grid drops below 16 cars. He believes that two teams have real problems in making it long term and has said he would like to try to "help" them. He did not talk about the ongoing negotiations with the other shareholders behind the scenes, which impacted on the process.

"I feel justified in taking my time, because the pain for them was nothing in comparison to the pain I will suffer if I got the decision wrong," he said.

Alonso is Button's 11th F1 team mate and the third world champion team mate he has gone up against,

"It's very special to be sitting here as a McLaren Honda driver alongside this guy (Alonso)," said Button. "It's my 16th year in F1 and my 6th in McLaren. I'm not one to shy away from challenges in life and to be involved in this project is very exciting and to race alongside this guy is a real challenge."

Dennis added that the arrival of Peter Prodromou has given a "true north" reading on the aerodynamics of the McLaren 2014 car and confirming that the direction was "wrong".

Dennis also said that it will be challenging dealing with the UK media backing Button and the Spanish media backing Alonso. He expects the media to look for any sign of trouble between the pair and to attempt to drive a wedge between them. "But they will be disappointed" he added.
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