Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley recently made some shocking revelations about Fernando Alonso on how the two-time champion used financial incentives as tactics to lure the team from Lewis Hamilton's side of the garage back in 2007 when both drivers raced for McLaren. Priestly claimed that Alonso felt insecure with Lewis Hamilton getting significant attention and hence handed cash envelopes.
Priestly then revealed that Lewis Hamilton used to handle things differently. The seven-time champion used to "play little games with the media."
“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. There was a moment during 2007 when we had them both where Fernando turned up at a race and I arrived and Fernando’s manager or his trainer is handing out little brown envelopes stuffed with cash to everybody who wasn’t on Lewis’ car. So his team, the support team, I was running the t-car team, we all got these little brown envelopes and I remember opening up the envelope and there was like €1,500 or something,” said Priestly on the PitStop podcast.
“It was so dodgy, first of all you just 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. You start looking around and your colleagues have all got them going ‘have you opened yours? How much did you get?’ And all of a sudden this starts spreading around the team and the only people that didn’t get them were Lewis’ crew. All of a sudden it starts to dawn on us what’s happened here, he’s looking to gain support, he’s trying to encourage, let’s say, 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. Lewis did different things, Lewis played little games with the media, they all did things wrong and things right, none of us are perfect, but how they went about their strategy for being the best Formula 1 driver was different, both achieved great results in their own different ways but they were very different approaches,” he said about Hamilton.
Notably, Alonso had also accepted that there was tough but fair competition between the two when they raced for McLaren together. “Lewis came into F1 like a tsunami with all his talent and abilities and results, immediately results – that was intense and also challenging for everybody. Looking back, and I think Lewis will think the same, we have no issues between us, we had a very tough competition, but fair. Honestly, I think and him as well, the team didn’t handle the situation,” Alonso had said to Planet F1 in 2021.
A few weeks ago, Alonso had called Hamilton an idiot after the Mercedes driver had crashed in Alonso’s Alpine.