Whatever outcome eventuates from McLaren's twin forthcoming FIA Court of Appeal appearances (September 13 and September 19), most observers now reckon that the team are unlikely to field the same driver line-up in 2008 as they have this year.
If, indeed, events transpire that way, and McLaren's Ron Dennis is forced to relinquish one of his newly-signed dream duo, then he will of course be absolutely gutted, and understandably so. But I expect it to happen.
The fact is that, although Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton haven't always enjoyed explicit number-one status in their teams (of the kind that Michael Schumacher always insisted on, for example), they've always been primus inter pares, or first among equals, simply by virtue of their evident superiority over their teammates.
Usually, joint number-one status isn't a problem for Formula One teams - as, indeed, it isn't currently an issue at Renault, Ferrari, Honda, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Williams, etc. And that's because, for joint number-one status to be a problem, three specific conditions must be met: