LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 2 – Zak Brown “can’t wait” to see Fernando Alonso take on Lewis Hamilton out on track, adamant it will happen this coming season.
Back in 2007 the two were team-mates at McLaren in what proved to be a tension-fraught season.
It was a double World Champion up against a rookie with speed, and it ended with McLaren two and three in the championship – the team-mates tied in 109 points and one shy of World Champion Kimi Raikkonen.
Alonso left the team at the end of the season while Hamilton went on to win the first of his fourth titles a year later.
The McLaren chief weighed in on that battle.
“What you had there was two of the world’s greatest young drivers who desperately wanted to beat each other and it became unhealthy,” Brown told Express Sport.
“We’ve seen that before with Senna and Prost or Piquet and Mansell.
“I think when you put two young lions in a cage together, you’re going to have some fireworks.
“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.”
This year Brown believes they will once again lock horns with a revitalised McLaren, now powered by Renault, expecting a return to the sharp end of the grid.
“I can’t wait to see it. I’m eager for the new season to see who’s where,” Brown added.
“I can’t wait to see Fernando and Stoffel mixing it up with each other, mixing it up with Lewis and Fernando being in a race-car that is capable of being a good race-car.
“We had some decent qualifying last year but our race pace was even further off.
“Fernando had a good qualifying at Spa but when we went into race mode, people just drove around him.
“It was great to see in Mexico, a situation where he could race hard because we were a little more competitive, that tussle with Lewis.
“I hope we see more of that and at the front end of the field.”