As if the situation at McLaren hadn’t been tense enough after qualifying in Hungary in 2007, Fernando Alonso’s team principal Ron Dennis had to provoke at the time. McLaren’s head of communications Matt Bishop remembers the subsequent press conference and the provocative behavior of the Spaniard in the podcast ‘In The Pink’.
The McLaren team’s internal dispute had reached its preliminary climax shortly before, in qualifying, Alonso had deliberately waited in the pits to drive out until team-mate Lewis Hamilton had no time to drive a timed lap himself.
Of course, the journalists had flocked to McLaren’s usual media round afterwards. “The mood was very tense,” Bishop recalls. And yet Alonso team principal Ron Dennis tried to stimulate even more. Because everyone knew that Dennis had some kind of OCD in certain areas when it came to cleanliness.
“And one thing that he hates almost more than anything is people who don’t eat juicy fruit with a knife and fork,” said Bishop. Ron Dennis had to place nectarines, peaches and plums on a plate and cut them into cut-out portions with cutlery. Alonso knew that too …
“Fernando arrived with the largest and ripest peach I’ve ever seen. He just sat next to Ron and then let all the juice run down his beard and also left pieces of pulp in his beard,” says the McLaren man.
“Not everyone present knew what an agony this had to be for Ron, but believe me, Fernando knew it.” He has no doubt that Alonso did it on purpose. “But that’s Fernando. Fernando is a great driver. But he’s also a politician.”
Small aspect: The current corona crisis is no problem for Dennis thanks to his obsessive-compulsive disorder, as Bishop says: “You should wash your hands every 20 minutes. For Ron, that’s normal anyway.”