Expatica news

Alonso-Renault deal said to have “number one driver” clause

12 December 2007

MADRID – “I chose Renault considering their commitment to the sport and because of their strong track record,” explains double F1 champion Fernando Alonso in an interview on his website, in which he lays out his much-anticipated decision to return to the French team where he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006.

Undoubtedly, the incentive package offered by Renault also had no small impact on his decision. Just hours after Alonso announced his return to Renault, the value of his contract was up for debate in the sport’s rumour mill, with numbers ranging from EUR 16 million per year plus marketing control and professional incentives, up to a record  – 42 million per year (double what he earned last year at McLaren) being bandied about.

The EUR 16-million projection would mean Alonso will be making less money in salary at Renault than at McLaren, but the deal includes a proviso that sees the Spaniard take control over his personal advertising and marketing rights, something he did not enjoy at his last team.

Renault are also thought to have put down in writing that Alonso would be treated as the team’s first driver, ahead of new teammate Nelsinho Piquet, an important guarantee for Alonso after the double world champion complained last season that British rookie Lewis Hamilton was given equal treatment as him

Alonso’s criticism of the media leading up to his Renault decision that “too much has been invented” seems to have fallen on deaf press ears again, as neither Alonso nor Renault have yet made the specifics of his contract public.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ KELLY RAMUNDO 2007]

Subject: Spanish news