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McLaren, Alonso part ways

Fernando Alonso has agreed to part company with McLaren after negotiating an early release from his contract. The double world champion, who joined the British team at the start of the year from Renault, had two years left to run on his current deal.

His departure follows a meeting with McLaren, whereupon it was agreed that in the interests of both parties his contract should be terminated.

McLaren and Alonso have had an acrimonious relationship this season and the Spaniard is now free to join another team in 2008, with his agent stipulating neither party would pay a financial penalty.

Alonso said: “Since I was a boy, I had always wanted to drive for McLaren, but sometimes in life things do not work out. I continue to believe that McLaren is a great team.

“Yes, we have had our ups and downs during the season, which has made it extra-challenging for all of us, and it is not a secret that I never really felt at home.

“I know there have been suggestions of favouritism within the team and people say a lot of things in the heat of battle, but in the end I was always provided with an equal opportunity to win.”

Team principle Ron Dennis added: “Everybody at McLaren Mercedes wants to wish Fernando all the best for the future.

“He is a great driver but for some reason the combination of McLaren and Fernando has not really worked out, and in the end we reached a stage where none of us could find a way to move forward. We all believe that our joint decision to part company is for the best, and we will now continue to focus on our 2008 World Championship challenge.”

It is not known who will replace Alonso as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate, but Williams’s Nico Rosberg and Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen are the favourites.

The Daily Telegraph

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