Dennis disappointed by Alonso's silence

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SHANGHAI, Oct 5 (Reuters) - McLaren boss Ron Dennis has expressed disappointment at double world champion Fernando Alonso's failure to defend the team against suggestions of favouritism.

Alonso was asked at the Chinese Grand Prix whether he had been treated fairly by McLaren and whether they might be somehow slowing his car to favour team mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

''Difficult question...I will not answer,'' Alonso had replied.

Dennis, who told a hearing of the sport's governing body last month that he and his driver had not been on speaking terms since August, ruled out a suggestion at a news conference today that Alonso's car might have been 'doctored'.

''There are numerous equality clauses in our contracts, they are reciprocal,'' he said.

''We never have, never will and certainly are not favouring either driver at the moment.

''This is a straight fight and I'm obviously disappointed that someone who really has all the knowledge should not be more direct and open with the response,'' said Dennis.

Hamilton, the 22-year-old rookie who has taken the sport by storm this season, can win the title on Sunday if he triumphs in Shanghai.

The Briton won in Japan last weekend and is 12 points clear of Alonso, who crashed at Fuji, with one race remaining after China.

Alonso has become increasingly estranged from McLaren after being rebuffed in his demands for favoured treatment, as champion, over his rookie team mate.

''It's not equal, it's impossible in Formula One to have the best strategy, the best everything for both cars,'' he said today.

''Sometimes I have the advantage, sometimes Lewis has the advantage, this is normal.'' Although he has a contract with McLaren for 2008, the Spaniard has been linked to a return to Renault next year and was evasive yesterday when asked about an offer from that team's boss Flavio Briatore.

''It's not the time to speak about next year,'' he said.

REUTERS BJR VC1833

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