Alonso penalty: justice delayed

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In the dispute over Fernando Alonso’s controversial qualifying penalty at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix good sense finally prevailed, although good grace did not.

The FIA announced that henceforth only drivers who deliberately impede another racer in qualifying will be punished.

Seriously, could that not have come to that conclusion when they drafted that rule in the first place? Or, would it have been so hard to apply that reasoning last weekend and spare F1 the controversy and scandal it does not need right now?

In a statement the FIA declared:

We now feel it is pointless for the stewards to engage in long and painstaking enquiries if competitors ignore clear scientific evidence and instead abuse the regulator.

Did Alonso “ignore scientific evidence”? His words on the morning of the race were:

I did my lap without blocking anyone intentionally… If you see the video, then if this is blocking intentionally we will have a lot of problems from now on in qualifying. If this is blocking, I don’t understand how we will race today if this is the minimum distance [between cars].

It seems clear to me that Alonso was making the case that he did not impede Felipe Massa intentionally, which the FIA have belatedly agreed is reasonable. Alonso did not try to argue that Massa hasn’t been delayed. The FIA owed him contrition, not contempt.
As it is said, justice delayed is justice denied.

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