Ex-F1 trainer exposes Fernando Alonso as new McLaren 2007 details emerge

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso drives for McLaren in 2007.

Fernando Alonso drives for McLaren in 2007.

A former McLaren trainer has laid into Fernando Alonso for offering the template on “how not to be a team player” in his ill-fated 2007 season at the team.

Alonso had moved from Renault to McLaren as the reigning World Champion for 2007, but found himself up against a rookie in Lewis Hamilton that was capable of matching him as the season progressed.

This led to a fiery relationship between not just the two drivers, but Alonso and McLaren themselves, leading the Spaniard to exit the team after just one season and return to Renault.

Fernando Alonso “set the tone” for 2007 by not attending team building camp

Gerry Convy was at McLaren from 2002 until 2008 and worked with Alonso as a physical trainer and therapist, as well as the likes of David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya in his time with the team, before later taking on a role with Force India in the F1 paddock.

Sharing a post of a training camp on Instagram with a host of McLaren staff members, including rookie driver Hamilton, running through Finland, Convy explained that the reigning two-time World Champion did not show up for the occasion – and left him not best pleased at the experience.

So much so, he even believes it “set the tone” for what was to come during a tumultuous year for McLaren.

He wrote in the caption: “HOW NOT TO BE A TEAM PLAYER: this McLaren-Mercedes Team Building camp in Finland 2007 was designed to be a new start for us all.

“Unfortunately, new recruit Fernando Alonso simply did not turn up. [Lewis Hamilton] did. This set the tone for the season and the rest is history. No one is bigger than your team or organisation.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Fastest F1 pit stops: Ferrari set Spa benchmark, backmarkers surge in pit lane standings

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

Accusations about Alonso’s conduct in his first spell with McLaren range from former engineer Marc Priestley claiming last year that someone associated with tried to hand mechanics “little brown envelopes stuffed with cash to everybody who wasn’t on Lewis’ car” to try and help him, to ex-race engineer Mark Slade claiming the fault was more on the team’s side than Alonso’s for their partnership not bearing fruit.

As for Alonso himself, he felt the whole year was not dealt with correctly on his or Hamilton’s behalf by the top brass by McLaren at the time.

“The situation that season was not well-managed by our bosses,” Alonso said to the Daily Mail back in April.

“We were young. We were immature. We were many of the things we are not now, and we needed help from the management that we didn’t get.

“I couldn’t continue with McLaren. It was a team with eyes totally one side of the garage.

“As Ron [Dennis, team principal] said after the penultimate race in China, ‘our race isn’t with Massa, it is with Fernando’. When your team says that, you cannot continue. But you learn in a career.”

Read next: Helmut Marko reveals Lewis Hamilton fear if he was Max Verstappen’s team-mate