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McLaren promise driver equality in Brazil

The McLaren Mercedes team have promised to treat Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton with "equality and fairness" in the final race of the season in Brazil.

"Following suggestions that there might not be equal treatment for both Fernando and Lewis, 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 in Brazil on Sunday 21st October 2007," the team said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This policy has been conducted throughout the year and 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."

Rookie Hamilton leads two-time champion Alonso by four points going into the final Grand Prix of the season. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is still in contention for the title too, but the Finn is seven points adrift.

Alonso has been very critical of his team's treatment this year, and the Spaniard's future at the team remains in doubt despite having two years left of his contract.

Suggestions that the team could benefit Hamilton emerged at last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, although Alonso himself said after the race that he expected fair treatment in Brazil.

"This has been a tremendous season to which the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team and our drivers have, I believe, contributed a great deal," added team boss Ron Dennis in the statement.

"This contribution has been enhanced by allowing Fernando and Lewis to race each other with complete equality.

"This will, of course, continue in Brazil where the entire team will be doing its absolute best to win the drivers' world championship."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug added: "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.

"During the 12 years Mercedes-Benz and McLaren have been working together all drivers in the team had the same possibilities to perform.

"We will not change this principle for the next race which is the last of the thrilling 2007 season and we will see both Fernando and Lewis compete for the driver's world championship title."

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