Tuesday May 1st, 2001
Former Formula One driver John Watson has slammed McLaren's boss Ron Dennis following his accusations of "brain fade" over David Coulthard during the Spanish Grand Prix last Sunday.
"It looks like it was a case of brain fade from David, although it is a bit premature to say so," Dennis said after Coulthard stalled his car before the formation lap of the race. After the event, the team discovered Coulthard was no to blame, as it had been a software problem.
Despite Dennis apologising to Coulthard after that, former McLaren driver Watson believes his comments were "unprofessional and stupid", and he added that the team boss would not talk like that if Mika Hakkinen was in the same situation.
"It was an unprofessional and stupid thing for Ron to do," Watson told The Sun. "He should have thought it through and found the real cause before shooting from the lip.
"He certainly would not have said those words had it been Mika. But it is no secret to many people that Mika has always been Ron's blue-eyed boy.
"Ron's actions on Sunday merely confirmed David is employed as a second driver in the team who is expected to do the best job possible.
"David has the potential to be world champion this year because he is driving better than ever and has shown he is a bloody good racer. That's why what Ron said about him was unfairly harsh.
"He has never said anything critical about Mika in public because he feels he created him."
Watson, 56, raced for McLaren since 1979 to 1983, returning to the team in 1985.