Fernando Alonso‘s historic journey by Method 1 has had its controversies, notably within the 2007 title battle towards Lewis Hamilton. Now an ex-McLaren mechanic, Chris Hessey, weighed in to declare the British crew principal did all he might to again the British driver.
Hesseywas Alonso‘s chief mechanic each in 2005 and 2006 at Renault, the place they gained two world titles, earlier than following the Spaniard when he moved to McLaren to be paired towards Hamilton on the Woking-based crew.
And his opinion of what occurred in 2007 is evident relating to the notorious Hungary 2007 weekend, the brown-enveloped bonuses that Alonso distributed, and that Ron Dennis wished a unique driver on high.
“The purpose is that with Ron Dennis, McLaren and Hamilton,” Hesseystated to Pit Debrief. “Ron Dennis introduced Lewis in when he was a younger driver.
“Dennis stated, and this was advised to me by one among his engineers on the time, not Marc Priestley, however one other man, that he was fed up with paying large salaries to get a very good driver. That is why he wished to create a driver on his personal.
“He paid for his training, his Method Junior racing. When he got here to McLaren alongside Fernando, I feel that is when Fernando realized that there have been manipulative issues occurring behind the scenes.”
What occurred in Hungary 2007?
The drama of their inter-team title battle culminated on the Hungaroring in qualifying for the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Alonso was upset that Hamilton hadn’t allowed complied with crew orders to permit him previous for gasoline burning, so in retaliation, he waited in his pit field for an additional 10 seconds after being advised he might go away thus making certain that Hamilton could not set a remaining lap of their battle for pole.
“The basic case was Budapest,” Hesseyadded. “The place Alonso knew he was being intentionally held again, as a result of Dennis was altering what ought to have occurred to assist Hamilton profit from it, at Fernando’s expense.
“Fernando’s physio was doing the pit board and was giving Fernando a countdown of when to depart the pit. Fernando knew what was occurring and stated, ‘I am not going to permit this.’ It was all manipulation to make Hamilton higher, as a result of Ron Dennis had paid for all his Method Junior and wished to create his personal driver. That is the place the friction got here from.”
Dennis was livid on the motion and had stern phrases with Alonso‘s coach, earlier than the Spanish driver was finally handed a five-place grid penalty dropping him from pole to sixth, with Hamilton inheriting the primary spot.
Alonso’s Renault and McLaren bonuses
Alonso gained a popularity for being very variety to his mechanics and providing them substantial rewards throughout his time at Renault, because the crew delivered two titles and beat Ferrari and McLaren to championships.
Hesseymaintains that Alonso was being variety, and he acted solely on his personal initiative, even being insistent when the mechanics tried to reject the bonuses he provided for good performances.
“I bear in mind Fernando, when he began successful, one afternoon he referred to as me to the again of the truck,” Hesseystated. “And stated, ‘Are you able to give me the names of the blokes engaged on my automobile?’ At the moment there have been solely six most important folks engaged on that R25 and the following race, he referred to as me again to the again of the truck once more, he had a giant stack of envelopes and stated, ‘These are for you and the blokes. That is for you.’ I opened the cash and there was like 600 euros inside.”
“I stated, ‘What is that this for?’ He stated ‘That is a part of my bonus that Flavio [Briatore, Renault team principal] has to provide me once I do properly or end within the high three. I need to share it with you, as a result of with out you I could not do it.’
“And I stated, ‘No Fernando, you do not want to try this.’ He stated, ‘No, I am doing it.’ I went out and gave the cash to all the blokes. Each few races he did the identical factor, he’d exit with a bunch of envelopes, and he’d say, ‘there you go, are you able to give them to the blokes?’
Hessey additionally refers back to the rewards Alonso was giving his folks, already identified by then, and even revealed in media, however is one thing that has since gone on to be controversial in regard to the 2007 season.
Individuals on the facet of Hamilton within the debate usually argue that Alonso was bribing mechanics and thus the crew was really working towards the rookie and for the Spaniard, though Hessey dismisses this and stated it was banned from taking place by Dennis.
“However when he went to McLaren,” Hessey added. “He tried to do the identical factor there for his crew and Ron Dennis stopped him. He stated, ‘We’re not going to do that.’
“He would not let him do it. I bear in mind what some folks stated about it being bribes, nevertheless it was nonsense. He wasn’t bribing folks to do a greater job than the remainder of the crew, as a result of all of the mechanics would do the identical job. He simply wished to share that bonus together with his automobile crew.”