Woking, Surrey - McLaren's Formula One staff are considering strike action after being rewarded for their hard work with a chocolate bar each.
Irate workers complained about the atmosphere within the struggling team, describing it as ‘toxic’ and their bosses as ‘clueless’. One employee, speaking under the guarantee of anonymity, said: ‘We have been working all hours of the day, sweating blood, and they give us 25p (R4.50) Freddo bars.
"The management hand them to the supervisors to divide them out to employees in their team. Strictly one each."
Despite McLaren having won 20 world championships and with an annual budget of about £200 million, (R3.6 billiion), he explained: "The Freddos are handed out when a package is produced on a tight schedule. For example, we were given two weeks to produce the Spain upgrade package in May.
"We all worked 24/7 to meet the deadline. We got it done in time. So a week later a Freddo was handed out to all staff involved as 'a bonus'. Supervisors are embarrassed to hand them out. We also got a Freddo last year after building the car."
The complaints from McLaren’s shop floor follow recent revelation that staff grew so disgruntled with their plight -166 points off leader Mercedes - that they planned to take their grievances to former team principal Martin Whitmarsh. They say executives even appealed to staff to build prototypes out of wood if they had any ideas how to improve their sub-standard car.
"That shows how clueless they are," added the employee. "They told us at the post-Canadian Grand Prix debrief that they knew what was wrong with the car but not how to fix it. They ask us when they are on six-figure salaries."
"We call four of the management the 'Untouchables'. There is Eric Boullier, racing director, Matt Morris, chief engineer, Simon Roberts, chief operating officer, and David Probyn, operations director. Some of them just walk about chatting. We have no respect for them. People are beginning to boycott the debriefs because they are a joke. The atmosphere is toxic. We would like to go on strike but people fear for their jobs."
McLaren, which has not scored a point in two races heading into Sunday’s French Grand Prix, said: "McLaren has one of the most loyal and long-serving staff in the entire motorsport industry. Our team leaders are free to reward their staff with spontaneous, thoughtful and fun gifts whenever they feel that a job or task is worthy of extra recognition and reward. This was just such an example, alongside so many others that happen on a daily basis."