Picture the scene: a young kartist indulged by his dad, still at junior school but with dreams of Formula 1 in some far-away future, of when he will work with the same team for which his hero Ayrton Senna drives now. He's a brilliant little driver, the desire of the devil, the touch of an angel, and he duly wins yet another race. As the beaming proud father goes to greet him, the boy asks in sweet wide-eyed innocence: "Has Ron Dennis called yet?"
Lewis Hamilton? No, Fernando Alonso. The idea of the little kid driving his heart out in a faraway province of Spain thinking he was being monitored by Ron Dennis, who won't even have known he existed, is a touching one.
Fast-forward 18 years and the young kid was now F1's best driver joining arguably F1's best team. That was what Alonso's deal with McLaren-Mercedes represented when it was done at the end of 2005, effective from the beginning of '07. "You guys are so good at developing your car," Fernando said to Dennis in admiration as he stood waiting to go onto the podium in Brazil '05, McLaren having just finished one-two, Alonso having just driven his Renault to his first title.
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