Puncture and flag investigation no problem for Alonso

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso’s drive to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix was almost undone by a puncture during his fourth stint.

“We had to bring forward the final stop because of a slow puncture which meant the left rear tyre was losing pressure in the final part of the lap,” Alonso revealed after the race. “Fortunately, that had no effect on the final outcome.”

Despite his earlier than expected arrival Ferrari’s mechanics produced the fastest pit stop of the race for Alonso when he came in on the 49th lap.

Alonso was also investigated by the stewards for a potential rules infringement after the end of the race when he collected a Spanish flag.

This is forbidden by article 43.3 of the Sporting Regulations which says: “After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc ferme without any unnecessary delay, without receiving any object whatsoever and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary).”

However the stewards decided not to penalise Alonso, stating: “no further action was taken to be consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances.”

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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64 comments on “Puncture and flag investigation no problem for Alonso”

  1. Pathetic, really really pathetic investigation. Stuff like that is what connects fans to the sport and creates special memories. Shame FIA, not doing F1 any favours as per usual

    1. They have to at least “investigate” it because it was an infringement of the rules. If they’d actually punished him for picking up a flag and waving it I’d probably agree with you.

      1. @Keith Collantine

        Had he received something and left it in the car, thus making it weigh more, would he be punished?

        1. I’d imagine that he would, but only if when the flag was removed and then the car reweighed that the car was under the limit.

      2. Fair point there. Still hardly going to encourage drivers to celebrate and enjoy their wins with the fans. Will I get a penalty might be in the back of their head. Let them go wild!

      3. John Bergqvist (@)
        12th May 2013, 20:17

        I agree entirely with what Kevin said. I mean really, he did in effect break the rules, so he should have been fined at least.

      4. Investigate it? Images are very clear on tv to start a ridicolous investigation. Wonder what they asked Alonso… And it almost caused a political problem in Spain. Things very sensitive here with Catalans wanting to go independent. Rule is ridicolous same as banning burnouts, etc.

        1. They’re not investigating, they are “investigating”.

      5. @keithcollantine it should be written somewhere than picking up flags or stuff like that is allowed !

        1. @fer-no65

          picking up flags or stuff like that

          That’s a slippery slope I think. :D
          The FIA is doing the right thing, Investigate any rule breach but turn a blind eye if no benefit existed that may have affected the race.

          It’s the same line they take on many issues.

      6. and is picking up another driver an infringement? I believe that must have been the situation mentioned by the FIA.

        1. I’m guessing the previous situation is Alonso doing the same thing last year (or was it 2011?) in Valencia after he won there.

          1. he broke down then. So very different under the rules

          2. Right….. You keep thinking he “broke down” when the video clearly shows him going along fine and then deciding to pull off right in the exact location of a marshal that had not only a folded Spanish flag but a little Alonso stuffed animal too…. Yup you go ahead and keep believing that the car just randomly decided to die right in that location……

      7. They shouldn’t even say something like that. It just goes on to say how ridiculous F1 rules are today. At the same time they are trying to increase the action by adding fake overtaking and useless tyres but on the other hand they don’t allow drivers to celebrate after the race.
        So what is the point of trying to increase the show if you don’t allow fans to get close to it?

    2. The investigation per se is not pathetic, the is. It’s a joke a driver who wins at home cannot collect a flag. That’s certainly not the way to make the sport any more popular and doubt it will make it safer..

      1. 100% agree. F1 can be so stuffy, grey and dispassionate sometimes. Donuts, burnouts, flag-waving, giving other drivers lifts back to the pits – these should all be obligatory!

      2. He can collect a flag.

        consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances.

        Effectively means it will always be the case.

        They HAVE to investigate due to foreign objects being taken into the car after the race has ended. Why? Because it’s very easy to cheat otherwise.

    3. It’s these new flags that are lined with lead you see.

    4. Shane (@shane-pinnell)
      14th May 2013, 6:19

      I would say shame on the press for trying to turn absolutely nothing into a story. Of course the FIA have to investigate it, it breached the rules. However, common sense dictates that no penalty need be applied. The press is so silly, this was a fantastic race where we finally got to see F1 cars being pushed, hard, for the whole race. We saw a dominant performance from Alonso and Raikkonen, we saw the might of Red Bull challenged for the first time in many races. We saw Mercedes struggling, we saw McLaren struggling. And the press… they want to talk about the winner collecting his countries flag in his home Grand Prix. Shame on the press, it wasn’t a story, it isn’t a story, it will never be a story.

  2. I’m glad common sense has prevailed.

  3. @KeithCollantine So would would the possible penalty would have been in such circumstances ?

    1. I don’t think a penalty has been given for this before so no idea. The rule is presumably there to prevent weight being added to a car, that’s clearly not what was going on here, but if someone did do something like that to get around the minimum weight rule the penalty would have to be pretty stiff.

      1. Something with putting metal balls in the fuel tank…

        1. @andae23 if the metal balls were in the fuel tank at the end of qualy, and for the start of the race, then strangely enough this wouldn’t be in breach, however, if the balls were added to the car after the race had been run, then that would be a breach.

          Essentially the rule is to ensure that everyone maintains the same minimum weight, as weight is one of the single biggest factors to effecting lap times.

      2. I am pretty sure that’s exactly why the rule is there Keith.

        To me its perfectly fine that all incidents are looked into, when some are then put away with no penalty because it was no problem, and this is a good example of it.

  4. Alonso was also investigated by the stewards for a potential rules infringement after the end of the race when he collected a Spanish flag.


    1. Someone should collect the FIA flag and see what happens.

      1. Exactly the same thing, they’d investigate due to the potential for cheating when foreign objects are put in the car, then clear it when it is clear that the flag did not give an unfair advantage.

        1. @mike unFIAr ;)

      2. Hahaha brilliant.

  5. That rule really has to go imo… I love the post-race celebrations some of the MotoGP guys (especially Rossi & Lorenzo) do, that would be great the have in F1 as well.

    1. Well though precedent, drivers are now clearly allowed to collect flags after the race. They cannot however collect weighted objects designed to help pass the minimum weight restrictions.

  6. Idiotic that something as Alonso showing pride and unity with his home country, with his fans, after winning his home race was even considered as something worthy of investigation. Thankfully the stewards probably dismissed it quickly as nonsense. Maybe the FIA should re-word that clause next time.

  7. Why this rule is breakable without any consequences? There should be considerable fine set to rule breaker, because rules are meant to be obeyed. He wasn’t the first, and wont be the last as no actions are ever made on these rule violations. It means FIA is not taking their own rules seriously. And this has nothing to do with common sense, it’s actually against it.

    1. It has all to do with common sense. Did Alonso benefit at all by picking up flag? Apart from affecting the aerodynamics in the cool down lap I don’t think so :)

      1. It’s breaking of rules now, before and probably in the future, I don’t comment about should the rule be changed, that is not my point. FIA is giving mixed signals, because you don’t get punished for breaking the rules. There should be penalty given for this action, a substancial fine but nothing else because it has nothing to do with race results. Rules don’t always follow common sense, but rules are meant to be obeyed because in the end, if we can choose what rules to obey, we would live in chaos quite soon. This case gives signal to ordinary people that rules are flexible when someone “important” is breaking them. Period.

        1. I didn’t mention changing this absurd rule in my comment. This is F1 and not the army.
          Rules are there and stewards interpretate those rules considering all circumstances in each case in particular. Not to mention that FIAs final decission was based on a precedent…

    2. Because taking a flag into the car doesn’t affect the race, the result or the post race weigh in.

      Therefor, having investigated the breach, they decided that no action was necessary.

  8. Stupid rule, either they should actually punish drivers for breaking it (imagine the controversies…) or allow these sorts of things.

  9. Well the rule is obviously necessary. They shouldn’t be able to pick up any objects to make the car weigh more after the race and I’m not sure if it’s necessary to clarify the rule with allowing flags being picked up (would it allow leaving the flag into the car?) which . They won’t clearly penalize for it now nor in the future so I’m not sure what’s the point of making any changes.

    Besides, if the driver accidentally dropped the flag in the car’s interior or exterior I can imagine couple of safety risks (car catching fire or driver losing control near the cheering marshalls). If it accidentally went into the cooling vents it would increase the weight of the car illegally but potentially being unnoticeable).

    1. there’s one “which” there that shouldn’t be there…sorry

    2. its not necesarry, any foreign objects put in the car can be taken out by hand by the people scruteneering, and object like a flag is obviously visible, and takes 1 arm action to lift it out of the car :P everything is on video these days, if someone ran on the track with a jerry can to put more fuel in a car to meet the weight limit, i think people would know about it. same if a car stopped in his teams pit spot and the team put more weight on, it would be pretty noticable. ANY WAY – THEY ARE ALL BREAKING THE RULE BY PICKING UP OTHER DRIVERS TYRE RUBBER ON THE COOL DOWN LAP!!!!!
      stupid unnecessary rule.

  10. Ben (@scuderia29)
    12th May 2013, 20:10

    how ridiculous…
    how loose is the word “investigation”?

  11. If they get away with it, after while (if not this time) the ‘fan’ will hand off something heavy to add for weight. Like a heavy magnet to stick some unseen place or something more creative than my kinda money can think of. Easy and good reason for the rule.

    1. That’d be brilliant, actually.

  12. That article is pure stupidity. I think the winner should wave the flag and do some burnouts and stuff like that. I just can’t see the point of such a rule…

  13. So when another driver collects a flag to celebrate next time, they’ll again investigate and not punish?…

    1. Gets even better. The FIA said: “no futher action was taken to be consistent with a previous decision taken under similar ciscumstances”. So there was a similar precedent and still started an investigation. Cant think of the precedent they refer to

  14. I’m more surprised that the always-confident Alonso in his home race didn’t already have a Spanish flag in his car.

    1. obviously didnt want to jinx it :)

  15. Im willing to bet RB pushed this issue to try to get Alonso off the points…I mean last year, nothing was mentioned, not even a single article or tweet about it.

    but nooooo, the FIA have clearly forgotten that a simple national flag done by name great names in recent years and past years is a tradition, and that every drivers knows that it doesn’t belong on the car once the driver gets out.

    1. Is “asking for clarification” only a Ferrari privilege?

    2. Isn’t it FIA’s oblication to check this even if no team “asks for clarification”? Don’t blame any team for this unless you have facts, don’t be paranoid and try not to look this so narrowly in favor of your favourite driver. Even if FIA would have taken some action against rule violation as they should have done, it would not have any effect on result. Rule should be re-written if any actions due to it’s violation is never performed, otherwise it just gives these unclear situations.

  16. I don’t think I’ve seen another comment on here about the tyre… I’ll be interested to find out if the slow puncture was due to debris or the beginning of a delamination process.

    Can you imagine what would have happened if that tyre had lost its pressure at the start of the lap and he had to limp back to the pits, and in the process lose the race because of it. The Spanish fans would have torn Pirelli officials apart as they tried to leave the circuit.

    1. Stefano Domenicali said Alonso picked up debris. Thanks to Pirellis new technology, the debris stuck in the tire instead of cutting it, therefore losing air slowly.

  17. It doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is, a rule is a rule and should be adhered to.

    It’d be easy for any “home country” marshall to conceal some heavy object in a flag to be left in the car afterwards.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t believe Alonso did anything sinister, just celebrated his home win. But, like I said, my opinion doesn’t matter, a written rule was broken.
    If the FIA are going to continue to ignore the rule on the grounds of precedent, then the rule needs to be deleted or rewritten.

    1. Same thoughts as I have.

  18. Flags and races … it is normal.

  19. Rules don’t apply to Alonso. Just like Valencia last year you can get out of your car and make everyone wait an eternity for you to get back to the pits. All because he won a race…

  20. (My attempt for COTD):
    If Alonso is investigated for picking up an object on cool down lap (Spanish flag), why werent the other drivers also investigated for picking up objects, they all picked up rubber off track on the cool down lap that was not necessarily theirs :P its a silliy rule, ofcourse it is there for a reason, but at the same time it wont be enforced because of commonsense… or so we think…. not all steward decisions have made sense over the years ;)

  21. Why are all Alonso fans so mortified about this investigation and furiously defending the action ??? Amusing… I am mortified that FIA still has no guts to either give punishments from this proven rule breaking, or change the rule.

    1. Here is the thing though, nowhere in the rulebook does it say “if you break a rule you must be penalized”, in-fact the rulebook says quite the opposite with the little clause of (and I don’t feel like opening it now to get the exact wording but this is the jist of it) “To be enforced at Stewards/Promoters/Officials discretion”.

      1. I know there is that clause. That is not the point I’m trying to make, the point is that rules should be obeyed the way they are written. If violation of this rule is actually never causing any sanctions, rule should be re-written. Something like: Exception to rule xx: Winning driver may pickup a flag after the finish line as long not causing any risk to safety. Flag must not be left in the car when arrived to parc ferme.

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