The Guardian paper is running a story tomorrow in which two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will discuss his time at McLaren and how he feels it helped him mature. The talk this winter is how the new teammate battles may affect the series with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
There is no way to tell if harmony will reign supreme at these teams but many suggest one or more will have intra-team battles that are more than friendly scraps for race wins. According to Alonso, the 2007 season was a learning time for both he and McLaren and he suspects that Button will do better in a team that has learned such a valuable lesson at the expense of Alonso.
The interesting part, almost an aside in the story, is that Alonso and good friend Alberto Contador are discussing the creation of a Tour de France cycling team. As an avid fan of the sport, you will recall Alonso’s presence on several podiums last year to award stage winners, he is looking to form a team to highlight the abilities and talents of the current Tour champion Contador.
This is great news to me as a fan of the Tour and when both worlds collide, we all win. Having Alonso in the professional cycling team ownership business is a real bonus and who knows, he may even talk Ferrari in to letting Contador use the wind tunnel for a few bike development session.
“It’s a project for me â€“ a kind of dream I have because I love cycling. I know it is not easy to create a top cycling team from zero. You need good riders, good staff, a lot of preparation and, most important, a lot of sponsors. It is something Alberto and I can work on. I know this year he is with Astana but from next year onwards, for sure, if there is an opportunity I will be very interested. I think he will be interested as well.”
This is complimentary to the entire story as Contador had a little dose of his own intra-team rivalry last year with 7-time champion Lance Armstrong as his teammate. While Contador clearly upset the veteran from Texas, Armstrong was certainly more mature in his reaction and approach than Alonso was in 2007…and most likely will be for Button, Rosberg, Massa or Webber in 2010.