Former McLaren mechanic Mark Priestley has revealed that Fernando Alonso used a bribe in the type of envelopes crammed with money to accompany Lewis Hamilton to the McLaren storage. Priestley revealed this in a brand new version of the “Pitstop Podcast”.
When GP2 champion Hamilton joined McLaren in Formula 1 in 2007, a bitter rivalry developed between the younger Brit and Alonso, who moved to McLaren and entered the 2007 season as favourites, after successful a second consecutive championship with Renault.
The Brit made a sensational begin to his Formula 1 profession and was on the podium in every of his first 9 races.
It did not take lengthy for Alonso to see him as an actual risk. During qualifying in Hungary, the Spaniard blocked his teammate Hamilton in the pit lane, stopping him from driving a quick lap.
“He’s attempting to take management”
“One of Fernando’s methods is attempting to get the complete crew to the facet of the storage. He’s attempting to take management,” explains former McLaren mechanic Priestley in a brand new episode of the Pitstop podcast.
“There was a second in 2007 when Fernando confirmed up at a race and after I arrived Fernando’s supervisor or coach was handing out little brown envelopes with cash to everybody who wasn’t in Luis’ automobile.”
“I keep in mind opening the envelope and it was like 1,500 euros or one thing. It was very suspicious. First you get an unmarked brown envelope and I believe, ‘Thank you, what is that this?’ Then the coach leaves and also you’re left with this factor that you just open up and it is actually full of money.”
“Clever Tricks” by Fernando Alonso.
“Suddenly it is spreading by way of the crew and the solely individuals who have not acquired it are Lewis’ guys. We’re beginning to see what occurred right here: he is attempting to get help, he is attempting to inspire individuals, the help on his facet. In this intense wrestle,” mentioned Priestley.
“On the one hand you can say it was a intelligent trick, however in the finish the crew clearly came upon about it and requested us to donate every little thing to charity, which was good, nevertheless it was a little bit of an understanding between two totally different mindsets.”
“Lewis has achieved different issues, he is performed some video games with the media. They’ve achieved each proper and improper issues, however every has tried methods to turn out to be the greatest Formula 1 driver. And each have had nice success with their totally different celebration strategies. .”
For McLaren, the 2007 season didn’t finish as deliberate. Although Hamilton and Alonso briefly held a big lead over the Ferrari drivers in the drivers’ standings, Kimi Raikkonen was in a position to win the title with a one-point lead over each McLaren drivers in the final race.
The crew was additionally implicated in a high-profile espionage case after it emerged that McLaren had obtained Ferrari paperwork from a crew member.
As a end result, McLaren was disqualified from the Constructors’ Championship and fined a document $100 million. After an inner crew feud, Alonso left the crew after only one season and returned to Renault.