Dennis: 2007 rift with Alonso “ancient history” for McLaren


McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has insisted that the rift between Fernando Alonso and the team in 2007 is now “ancient history”, calling any idea of a continued spat “nonsense”.

Alonso joined McLaren for the first time for the 2007 season after winning back-to-back titles with Renault, and missed out on a third championship by just a solitary point.

However, in spite of the team’s success on-track, Alonso became embroiled in a rivalry with rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, believing that he deserved number one status at the British team.

McLaren was thrown out of the constructors’ championship and fined $100m for espionage in what was known as the ‘Spygate’ scandal, with Alonso reportedly threatening to blackmail Dennis with evidence regarding the case. Unsurprisingly, he parted company with the team at the end of the year.

However, after five unsuccessful years with Ferrari, Alonso has now returned to McLaren for the 2015 season, but many within the sport believe that the relationship is only poised to end in a similar way to how it did eight years ago.

Speaking to the official Formula 1 website, Dennis insisted that 2007 is simply a distant memory to those involved in the Spygate scandal.

“People tend to talk a lot of nonsense about the McLaren-Alonso relationship,” Dennis said. “Okay, 2007 was a stressful year, even though we won eight races and scored more world championship points than any other team that season.

“But that’s ancient history now. We’ve all moved on – and by ‘we’ I mean McLaren, Ferrari and indeed the FIA.

“And the Fernando we’re working with today, now, is a fantastically motivated and inspirational man. He’s as quick as ever, as competitive as ever, more experienced than ever, more expert than ever, and he combines those traits with an infectious energy and enthusiasm.

“We’ll win again, we’ll dominate again, and we’ll do that together, with Fernando front and central. It’ll be a wonderful culmination to his glittering career, and all at McLaren and all at Honda are utterly dedicated to the task of working with him, with Jenson [Button] and with everyone else, to help him achieve it.”

Towards the end of his time with Ferrari, it was suggested that Alonso may have been looking to use a move to McLaren as a stop-gap before joining the dominant Mercedes team as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for the 2016 season if the Briton did not sign a new contract.

Dennis has made clear in the past that Alonso has no kind of get-out clause in his contract to allow this to happen, and reiterated his point once again.

“He has a straight three-year contract with us, with no options,” Dennis said. “It’s as simple as that. That’s what we wanted to offer him, and that’s what he wanted to sign. I can’t make it plainer than that, can I?”

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.