Date:Friday December 12 2014
The sight of Fernando Alonso and McLaren chairman Ron Dennis together is one that many thought they would never see again.
But the fact that the photo was in the McLaren factory, with the Spaniard suited and booted and all smiles following his switch from Ferrari to McLaren Honda is all the more surreal following the explosive one-season relationship the pair shared seven years ago.
As the reigning two-time Formula One World Champion a 25-year-old Fernando Alonso made the move to McLaren in 2007.
He was partnered with an unknown rookie by the name of Lewis Hamilton.
The two would have a brutal season-long battle as the two contested the Formula One World Championship in a three-way battle with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.
With two races in the season remaining Hamilton and Alonso led the championship with four wins each.
Raikkonen was a distant third.
But circumstances dictated that McLaren would let the title slip from their grasp, Hamilton would suffer a retirement in China after a tyre gamble cost him the race whilst Alonso would finish second to Raikkonen.
Then in the season finale in Brazil Hamilton would suffer an early gearbox problem resulting in him eventually finishing in seventh.
Ferrari came home one-two with Felipe Massa making sure Alonso couldn't finish higher than third. The result was a sixth win of the season earned Kimi Raikkonen the title by just a single point from both Hamilton and Alonso.
The controversy wouldn't end there though, as the 'spygate' scandal involving Ferrari and McLaren would erupt, with Alonso playing a major part in proceedings which led to McLaren being excluded from the Constructors Championship.
Alonso would leave at the end of the season, just one year into a three year deal.
Hardly surprising then that at Thursday's press conference announcing Alonso's return that the subject would be brought up.
“By and large those challenges that you have between drivers – and I had them in previous championships with Alain [Prost] and Ayrton [Senna] several times – we’ve always managed to be able to diffuse, But this one [2007: Alonso/Hamilton] got away from me and I look back on my contribution to that with exactly the same emotion that Fernando expressed, which is you regret the mistakes you make in your life and sometimes you can’t change what’s happened.' Dennis told Sky Sports.
“So could I have engineered a way out of it? I could probably have done things better, but the reality is that you look back at your mistakes, you are honest with yourself, and [if] you accept them and you intend not to repeat them then you put themselves in a frame of mind and position to actually over-compensate.
“So I don’t actually anticipate any issues between Fernando and I.”
Date:Friday December 12 2014
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