Zak Brown wishes to see Alonso battle with Hamilton once more


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McLaren Technology Group executive director Zak Brown has said that he wishes to see his driver Fernando Alonso go head-to-head with four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton once again.

Alonso and Hamilton were former team-mates and bitter rivals at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in the latter’s début year in Formula 1 in 2007, before the Spaniard returned to the ING Renault F1 Team, just one year after leaving the French marque. The rivalry was rekindled by Alonso’s move to Scuderia Ferrari in 2010, but after Alonso’s 2015 reconciliation with McLaren, the woeful performance of the Honda power unit and the dominance of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport has seen the duo at opposing ends of the field.

One of the iconic moments of the 2017 season was seeing Alonso fighting to keep ninth place away from the recovering Brit at the Mexican Grand Prix, and Brown wishes to see the two do battle on a more frequent basis, now that the McLaren F1 Team have Renault Sport power.

“I can’t wait to see it,” said Brown, speaking to Express Sport. “I’m eager for the new season to see who’s where.

“I can’t wait to see Fernando and Stoffel [Vandoorne] mixing it up with each other, mixing it up with Lewis and Fernando being in a racecar that is capable of being a good racecar.

“What you had [in 2007] was two of the world’s greatest young drivers who desperately wanted to beat each other and it became unhealthy.”

Despite Brown saying that he would welcome Hamilton at McLaren once again, if he chooses to move away from Mercedes after six seasons, the 46-year-old Californian insinuated that he would prefer not to deal with an “intense” intra-team rivalry, akin to Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes or – harking back to McLaren’s own glory days – Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

“I think when you put two young lions in a cage together, you’re going to have some fireworks.” he added.

“Sometimes you can manage through those. Mercedes managed through those. Mercedes managed through the Lewis and Nico tension quite well – although it was pretty intense.

“Senna and Prost ended up taking each other off before Prost left the team. Lewis and Fernando became unmanageable. They were two young drivers who were still out to prove themselves.”