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Pat Symonds: We will favour one driver next year // The Renault director speaks openly about team favouritism

Published by Mr. C

During the latest Renault team podcast (which you can listen to here), the team's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds admitted that, following on from the troubles he's witnessed at McLaren this year, he is now convinced that favouring one driver over another would be a wise descision.

For many years equality has been a key consideration for the team from Enstone, and it was a fact that they cherished during last year's battle against Schumacher and Ferrari. However, the Alonso / Hamilton situation at McLaren has opened Pat's eyes to the benefits of favouritism within the garage.

Here's what Symonds had to say during the show, when asked by Holly Samos for his opinion on McLaren's driver policy:

I have to say I'm changing my view, it is a team sport. Motoracing is a team sport, and I think you've got to do what's best for the team.

It probably is these days, a better thing to do, to go all out behind one car.

This is pretty much official confirmation that Fernando Alonso will be shortly returning to the team, probably backed up with Nelson Piquet Jr as his team mate. This would make a lot of sense given Flavio is said to be keen not to place Heikki into a number two role this early on in his career, whilst simultaneously fulfilling his desire to see Nelsinho enter the sport under his personal guidance. A straight swap with McLaren should be pretty straightforward for everybody concerned.

To add further weight to the evidence, Ted Kravitz offers the following comment from Heikki during the Brazilian race weekend:

"I'm a free agent", he said, before adding, completely unprompted, that wherever he goes, he won't sign up as a number two, he will only drive with equal status to the guy in the other seat.

What are the chances Flavio is trying to box Ron into a corner by playing on his 'equality' sensibilities, placing his driver into a watertight 'joint number one' contract? With Ron's hands tied, Renault can duke it out with Ferrari (backing Kimi) next year, leaving Dennis saddled with the moral high ground, but no silverware (again)?