Spanish motorsport head trusts McLaren
|By Simon Baskett||Wednesday, October 17th 2007, 08:10 GMT|
The head of Spanish motorsport has said he is confident Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will receive equal treatment in the title-deciding Grand Prix in Brazil after meeting McLaren chief Ron Dennis on Tuesday.
"I'm convinced that Hamilton and Alonso are going to get exactly the same treatment," Spanish Motorsport Federation president Carlos Gracia told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"McLaren have demonstrated their professionalism over many years and so has Ron Dennis.
"I met with Ron Dennis at his request in Madrid this morning and we discussed the season and that meeting confirmed my confidence in him and the team."
The relationship between Dennis and Alonso has deteriorated this season and the Spaniard fears that the team would prefer Hamilton to win the title.
Formula One's governing body, the FIA, have appointed an official to ensure Spanish world champion Alonso receives the same treatment as his McLaren team mate Hamilton at the title-deciding at Interlagos.
Gracia will also be attending the race at the invitation of Dennis.
"The only reason for my presence at Interlagos is because Ron Dennis had the courtesy to invite me," said Gracia. "He showed his complete professionalism by offering Pedro Martinez de la Rosa as a translator so if I had any questions or doubts they could be resolved."
Gracia distanced himself from controversial comments about Hamilton in an interview published in Spanish daily El Publico on Tuesday.
Questioned about the support the McLaren driver enjoyed in England and the desire of the media to see an English world champion, Gracia was quoted as saying:
"It's understandable that they want to make the most of it. But given how racist they are in England, the fact that they have to rely on a coloured driver...They tried it with (Jenson) Button and he let them down."
But Gracia told Reuters: "I'm very surprised by what was published and lament the interpretation which has been put on the words. They were taken out of context and wrongly interpreted.
"I want to make it clear that I do not believe in stereotyping any nationality. There was no racist element to what I said and I am a great admirer of England. I did not say that.
"The accusations that have emerged go against the very principles I've defended in 23 years at the head of the Spanish Federation.
"What I meant was that England have been looking for a Formula One idol for many years and no matter who he was they were going to give him all their support.
"I have always had great respect for Hamilton as a driver and that respect remains even though he can take the title away from Alonso."
Hamilton, the 22-year-old Briton who could become the first rookie to win the Formula One title as well as the youngest champion, leads Spaniard Alonso by four points ahead of the decider at Interlagos on Sunday.