Fernando Alonso is wrong to believe that McLaren have done anything to try and hinder his title challenge this year, claims three times world champion Nelson Piquet.
Alonso has hinted at recent races that he may not have had complete equality of treatment with teammate Lewis Hamilton this year.
Piquet thinks such claims are misplaced, although he believes that Alonso's outspoken remarks may be aimed more at destabilising Hamilton than pleading for more help from his team.
"I don't think the suspicions of sabotage claimed by Alonso are real," Piquet told Italian magazine Autosprint. "But race after race the situation has degenerated.
"Up to the Belgian Grand Prix it was under control, but in Japan and China a verbal fight has started between Hamilton, Alonso and Ron Dennis that has no precedent in Formula One."
He added: "I don't think there is a conspiracy against Alonso. He's bitter, but with nothing to lose he's understood that the more confusion and nervousness there is on the track and in the garage, the more this situation can play into his hands.
"His objective was to psychologically destabilise Hamilton, as I used to do with (Nigel) Mansell by saying his wife was ugly and he was dumb...
"But he doesn't seem to have managed to do that with Hamilton, while with Dennis their relationship seems irremediably compromised to me.
"At the beginning of the season Hamilton had nothing to lose, and behaved that way. But maybe even he didn't think the team would have put him in the same position as Alonso."
Piquet has doubts that Alonso departing McLaren is actually in the team's best interests, and said he was surprised Hamilton has said he wants the Spaniard out of the team.
"Are we sure Ron Dennis wants Alonso to leave?" asked Piquet. "Maybe it's better to still have him in McLaren and carry on arguing with him, rather than having him against you on another car.
"Why would they want to let him go? Just because he doesn't get on with Hamilton? It seems too simplistic to me."
When asked whether it was normal that Hamilton should say he wants Alonso to leave the team, Piquet said: "No, it's not. No driver should behave that way with his teammate, much less when it's a rookie against a world champion."