Former McLaren Racing mechanic Marc Priestley has revealed that Fernando Alonso used bribes in the form of envelopes filled with cash to gain favour over Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren garage.
While they share a more respectful relationship nowadays, Alonso and Hamilton’s partnership at McLaren in 2007 ignited a fierce rivalry between the two drivers who fought hard together on-track.
Alonso joined McLaren in 2007 coming off the back of winning two consecutive Drivers’ Championships at Renault with Hamilton stepping into the team as a rookie following his triumph in the 2006 GP2 Championship.
The Brit had an incredible start to his Formula 1 career, reaching the podium in every single one of his first nine races. It wasn’t long before Alonso started to see him as a real threat.
“One of Fernando’s tactics is to try and bring the whole team over to his side of the garage. He tries to wrestle control,” Priestley explained on a recent episode of the PitStop Podcast.
“There was a moment during 2007 where Fernando turned up at a race and when I arrived, Fernando’s manager or trainer is handing out little brown envelopes stuffed with cash to everybody who wasn’t on Lewis’ car.
“I remember opening up the envelope and there was like €1500 or something. It was so dodgy. First of all, you get an unmarked brown envelope and I’m like ‘thanks very much, what’s that?’ and the trainer wanders off and you’re left with this thing and you open it up and it’s literally just full of cash.
“All of a sudden this starts spreading around the team and the only people that didn’t get them were Lewis’ crew. It starts to dawn on us what’s happened here, he’s looking to gain support, he’s trying to encourage people to support his side of this intense battle that they were in.
“On one hand you can say it was a clever tactic but in the end, the team obviously found out about it and made us donate the whole lot to charity which was fine, but it was a little insight into the two different mindsets.”
The 2007 season ended disastrously for McLaren with both Alonso and Hamilton missing out on the Drivers’ Championship by a single point to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The team was also found guilty of a high-profile espionage case when it was reported that Ferrari documents had been leaked by a team member and found their way into the hands of McLaren.
The team were disqualified from their second-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship and received a record-breaking fine of $100 Million.
Very serous accusations indeed.
Utter rubbish slanderous comment, the guy is deluded as no way would that of happened and been kept quiet for so long.
We’re you there. And if he said the team found out and made them donate it why won’t the team rubbish it themselves. ALONSO IS A SLY FOX….he kept Hamilton from a double pit after he was already to leave the put and held Hamilton up. He has no class.
I was working at McLaren as a test mechanic during this time period. Never saw or heard of any of this, but I can say there is a reason Marc Priestley never worked for another F1 team again after his 2009 McLaren exit despite being young…
How much the mf spaniard gave you to issue this statement. Spaniards are known for being dirty mf in everyday. THEY ARE DIRTY OUT AND INSIDE.
Yes most slanderous. If Alonso doesn’t take strongest action he will be regarded as pofta
I wouldn’t believe a word from anyone who was on that team, at that time, which was proven, as is referenced in the article to be operating in a corrupt manner. Even allegations of further corruption can’t be taken at face value, their morals were twisted.
I’m afraid you have McLaren confused with Ferrari. A disgruntled Nigel Stepney from Ferrari started the spygate scandal when he exposed Ferrari’s illegal 2007 car to a friend at McLaren and he got caught with the files. Nigel took the fall for Ferrari’s illegal activities and was blackballed from F1 for life while they went on to win another illegal championship. He was murdered years later when he was about to release a tell-all book exposing Ferrari (don’t think I need to spell this one out for anyone). That book still exists somewhere (it even has an ISBN, that’s how close it was to release), and when it finally leaks – and it will – it will be explosive. Maybe we will finally get the story behind the mysterious white powder found on the Ferrari cars in Monaco 2007, which was news that was memory holed faster than the news of Ilmor designing Honda’s 2018 engine…
Stepney was as bent as a nine-bob note, and found kindred spirits in Coughlan and the then management at McLaren. And Stepney wasn’t murdered, he committed suicide, and didn’t even have the guts or the decency to do it by his own hand, instead involving an innocent lorry driver. Lowlife to the end.
He CAN’T he is a dirty spaniard.
Yep dirty Spaniard and as for Dami he just bent over to take £1500 euros from Alonso.
Who just slide his Chorizo into Dami’s rear end repository . Brown envelope definitely has a different meaning for Dami. Keep biting on the dog lead Dami ! Make sure you visit the Vet after you muppet !
As for “Pimp Alonso” he is still as acidic and sour for his own misguided manoeuvres in his career pathway. If you want disharmony in a team bring Alonso on board. Bitter and twisted Spaniard.
Well, that just about perfectly sums up your grasp on reality.
Lydia, you must be as pure and white as new fallen snow – not
You probably finished all those money you got from
Him and now starting to bribr yourself.
Marc Priestley is a former mechanic turned media sensationalist bulls***er. He was let go by McLaren at the end of 2009 and never worked for another team again, which says all you need to know about him.
“…Marc Priestly has revealed….” Is there anyone out there who can “reveal” the circumstances of this revelation? Is Priestley about to publish a book? Is he about to get some sort of prime time TV slot? (I know, it’s unlikely).
This is not a new allegation; Priestly discusses it his book “The Mechanic”, which was published in 2017.