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Prost critical of McLaren policy

NEWS STORY
18/06/2007

Once it became clear that even in his rookie season Lewis Hamilton would be challenging his illustrious teammate, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, all manner of people were warning that it might end in tears for the Woking team.

Team boss Ron Dennis was quick to point out that he had never shirked from controversial, not to say explosive, driver line-ups, citing the pairing of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna as the best example.

True, it was a delicious prospect, two of the best drivers in the history of the sport, both at the top of their game, and in the same team. However, if history has taught us nothing it else it is that although there were wins and titles there was also controversy, with nobody emerging from the situation completely unscathed.

Following Hamilton's second successive win, which gives the English youngster a ten point lead over the reigning World Champion, Prost (right) has warned that McLaren's tactics could backfire, again.

"I think it's a mistake to have two cars of the same status in the same team," the four-time champion told Spain's El Pais today. "In the end it will work against them because it will create too many tensions."

Although McLaren and its drivers are claiming that everything is fine and that everyone is thriving on the competition, others, with a little help from the media, are warning that the situation could get messy. The situation between Prost and Senna descended into farce with the drivers famously colliding at Suzuka in 1989. A year later, with Prost now at Ferrari, the two collided once again, though this time things went in favour of the Brazilian.

Prost also argues that with contemporary F1 the car technology is more important that the driver, which is possibly why we are in the situation whereby youngster can adapt so easily. Following his maiden outing in an F1 car, Nico Rosberg described it as easy. While many believe that Hamilton hit the ground running in Melbourne thanks to the 5000 hours he has spent in McLaren's state-of-the-art simulator.

"The cars are very evenly matched because of the new limitations and the technological advances," said Prost, "and it is very difficult to overtake during a race.

"Races are now decided in the pits," he continued. "The strategy of the team directors is what is important, the only things they can't control are driver errors.

"Hamilton has used the simulator much more than Alonso and he drives more smoothly than the Spaniard," the Frenchman added. "As a result I think it is easier for McLaren to adjust their cars to Hamilton's characteristics. But that doesn't disguise the fact that Alonso is a super driver, a great, great driver."

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