Formula 1 icon Fernando Alonso has been accused by a former mechanic of ‘handing out bribes’ while the Spaniard was at McLaren in 2007. The two-time world champion allegedly used envelopes filled with cash to curry favour from within the team at team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s expense.
In 2022, Alonso and Hamilton remain on the grid and there is plenty of respect between the two multi-time world champions – but it was very different 15 years ago. Hamilton arrived at McLaren in 2007 and was later joined by Alonso, the reigning world champion, after the Spaniard decided to leave Renault.
Alonso assumed he would be the number one driver within the team, but Hamilton – 22 years of age at the time – immediately matched Alonso’s speed in his new car to finish on the podium in each of the first nine races of the season.
With the Brit leading the championship, their frosty relationship deteriorated as neither gave way to the other. Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestley has sensationally claimed the Spanaird offered cash to sway team members to his side, with Alonso’s manager handing out small brown envelopes to anyone not working on Hamilton’s car.