No penalty for Alonso for DRS misuse

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso has escaped punishment for using DRS when he wasn’t supposed to during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The stewards found the Ferrari driver activated DRS on three occasions when he was not within a second of another car.

Ferrari were fined ??15,000 (12,945) for the infringement.

The stewards ruled: “The DRS enabling system was not changed by the team from the pre-race to the race setting. The driver therefore incorrectly received ‘DRS enabled’ messages and reacted to them (when not entitled to) on three occasions.

“As soon as the team became aware of the problem they informed the driver to only use DRS when told to do so by the team.

“Whilst a small sporting advantage (less than one second over the entire race) was gained, the team argued car three [Alonso] also suffered a disadvantage by being unable to use DRS on every legitimate occasion.

“However, the team is ultimately responsible for ensuring the system conforms to the regulations.”

2013 Hungarian 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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48 comments on “No penalty for Alonso for DRS misuse”

  1. Traverse (@)
    28th July 2013, 18:29

    Teflonso strikes again!!

    1. lol… but is a fairly silly explanation…

      Ferrari: sorry we forgot to change the DRS confiuration from a race that was 2 weeks ago…

      Wonder if I can adapt the excuse to my work…

      1. Sorry it´s said pre race, I read previous race… I apologize to Ferrari… still let me made fun of you a litte ;)

    2. Team makes mistake, team punished. Driver isn’t relevant.

      1. If only that mentality were true… Have we not seen before where dangerous pitstops by teams have lead to the FIA punishing the driver?

    3. How about a 20s penalty .. just to prove their point ;-)

      Still more importantly a team like Ferrari should not make that mistake, but I guess it won’t happen again.

      1. Having mentioned that, this sums up Ferrari’s season so far, team and driver (mainly team) making such amateurish mistakes that is not of their standards despite having a car that’s considerably closer to the benchmark car [Mercedes/Red Bull] than the F2012 was to the MP4-27 and RB8 last year. Compounding this is the fact that they’ve seemingly dropped back in the development race from Monaco onwards.

        1. @younger-hamii I’d agree except that every team looks amateurish from time to time. If you look at it on the surface RBR can’t fit rear tyres to WEB’s car, nor can they seem to get KERS reliable, nor can they manage 2 drivers properly (Malaysian GP), they all make RBR look amateurish. While Mercedes can’t seem to get tyre degradation under control, nor can it get its qualifying pace to translate in races (for the greater part of 2 years). Its all much of a muchness, every team has their mistakes and their gremlins from top teams right through to Max Chilton.

  2. The idea that this is a team-changeable setting is simply ridiculous.

    1. hahaha I was just wondering that :) how can it be seriously?

    2. @proesterchen @spoutnik Of course it’s team-changeable. The FIA are scrutineers, but I don’t see the teams ever giving the FIA the power to input settings into their car. In qualifying, you do not have to be 1 second behind the car in front to use the DRS. That’s the setting they’re talking about.

      1. The teams run FIA-mandated, common ECUs. It’s trivial to implement a system that requires an externally computed, one-time cryptographic key to be transmitted to the car by a local beacon for DRS activation.

        In practice and qualifying, you’d simply set the system to blanket-sent valid codes, for the race and any situation race control deems DRS disabled (e.g. fully wet conditions), no codes are sent and hence no DRS activation is possible.

        There’s simply no need for any team involvement if you do it properly.

        1. @protestorchen

          Nobody’s arguing the technicalities, it’s responsibilities. Teams are absolutely never going to give up operational control of the car, in any respect, to the scrutineers, which is what you’re suggesting.

          1. Aren’t you arguing a pre-2008 fiction, though? Since the introduction of the common ECU, teams have only been able to influence the behaviour of their cars through a limited set of APIs.

            In fact, I’d argue it’s inconceivable why there even is an API that would allow the team to override the race controls’ commands to DRS. This should not exist, at least not in software used on race weekends.

  3. Very lenient. And if using extra DRS only gives “less than one second over the entire race” then perhaps the whole concept is flawed and should be scrapped.

    1. @jonsan bearing in mind this is only on three occasions of use.

  4. FlyingLobster27
    28th July 2013, 18:36

    Considering this isn’t the first time Ferrari have had DRS “glitches” (first occurrence China 2011 if I remember well), they really shouldn’t have been let off for this one.

  5. pffff,its alway’s the same whit ferrari and there alonso,false false false play agian and agian hate that and no real penalty

  6. Too lenient. If it was grojean instead then I’m sure they’d apply a penalty to his next race. Something like a 10 place grid penalty. But seeing as its Alonso in a Ferrari there’s no penalty.

    1. If it was grojean instead then I’m sure they’d apply a penalty to his next race

      It is too simple Alonso is not Grosjean !!!! enjoy

    2. When Grosjean passed Massa he gained a place… I think that makes a lot of difference..

  7. Considering the number of times teams are punished according to the rule book following bad luck, it’s pretty amazing to see no sporting punishment after a team gained a clear advantage due to their own actions.

    ‘I didn’t mean to cheat’ is not normally a successful defense.

    Off topic, very amusing to see Vettel’s comments on Alonso after the race; clearly no love lost there.

  8. Be that as it may, and fair enough for now, but this is now the second time this year. Earlier this year, he opened his DRS too early behind Rosberg in Bahrain. Stewards should not accept this ‘whoops’ a third time.

  9. That’s a bit of a schoolboy error from Ferrari. It didn’t really make a difference in the end though so that’s a fair decision.

    1. It didn’t really make a difference in the end though so that’s a fair decision.

      That’s not how a steward should consider. He should consider the rules not the time gap or results. But yeah , I think this was okay but the grosjean one was disappointing . I think they also take into account the driver in consideration which I think is a tad bit unfair

  10. Hang on, what exactly is the “pre-race setting” they’re talking about? Since the start of the year there’s no instance when you can use the DRS outside the race zones, so why is there a setting for that? And more to the point, if there is a setting why would it ever need to be in the other configuration?

    Smells like ******** to me.

    1. Yeah well during practice and qualifying they can use DRS on every lap, no mater what the gap is to the car in front…

      1. Yep, good point. Brain stroked off or a second, there!

      2. Jonathan (@themaninblack)
        29th July 2013, 16:15

        I thought this year, the change was made to not allow DRS usage at all, during qualifying?

    2. Exactly that. He gets a beep every time he enters the DRS zone in practice and qualifying. And that’s what he got in the race as well.

  11. I’ve seen Alonso do this more than one time. And I wasn’t see things, it was Steve Matchett who pointed it out. He did it multiple times last year, in places where there was no traffic.

    1. Multiple times without being noticed? I seriously doubt of that. The stewards have the count and it seems unlikely they let it pass don’t you think? That ‘traffic’ may have pitted or been overtaken?

    2. I observed the same in several races this year, mainly during phases where DRS activation was supposed to be disabled, but Alonso continued to use it.

  12. Whilst a small sporting advantage (less than one second over the entire race) was gained, the team argued car three [Alonso] also suffered a disadvantage by being unable to use DRS on every legitimate occasion.

    Ehh… what? Infringing the rules and than pointing out that you did not have much of an advantage by infringing the rules seems like a rather silly argument to me.
    How can this only be a €15.000 fine? (Which is like no penalty at all)

    Dave (@raceprouk) said on 28th July 2013, 18:33: Team makes mistake, team punished. Driver isn’t relevant.

    That’s simply not true. You as a driver can be punished for a mistake your team makes.

  13. Interesting choice made by the stewards regarding Alonso, and not for the first time. Particularly strange is this ‘team mistake’ reasoning. From now on, a driver whose wheel comes off in the pits will receive 10 placed grid penalty, no less, for a team mistake, despite the fact that said driver is already being punished by his team because he is likely to retire or at least to lose a lot of time. And here we have a situation where a driver gains competitive advantage due to a team mistake, but escapes scot-free.

  14. Oh ****.
    Glad that they penalized the team atleast.

  15. If it was someone else e.g…Hamilton, probably get a 20’s penalty. But it was Ferrari so just fined then £5

  16. I’d be very interested to know when these three occasions were and whether Fernando should’ve known not to use it.

    It’d be curious if he was miles away from any other car because surely he would’ve known that something was amiss. But then if he were, say, 1.2s behind the car ahead I could understand his error. Still, it would be interesting to find out.

  17. The stewards’ explanation is actually quite detailed, and they seem to have investigated cause and effect here. It’s a balanced judgement for this particular incident.

    As others have pointed out, whether the FIA should start looking into Ferrari’s repeated DRS failures and accidental activations to see how accidental they actually are is another matter. Probably outside the remit of the weekend stewards however.

  18. no fine or anything. F.I.A = a joke

    1. @foleyger They did get a fine.

    2. @foleyger Didn’t even bother reading the article, just made assumptions, what a joke ;)

  19. Michael Brown (@)
    29th July 2013, 1:55

    Alonso gains a second over the race using DRS when it’s not allowed. A tiny advantage, but an advantage nonetheless.

    Grosjean barely puts all four wheels over the track boundary for a short distance, and is penalized.

    This bugs me.

  20. I saw Jenson’s DRS wing active on the main straight at least on one ocassion where there was no car ahead of him nor had someone dived into the pits preceding the main straight ..

    DRS still has some ambiguity over it .. not sure how the FIA has been monitoring the same all through

    1. are you sure? I thought there was a Marussia in front of him as he came towards the final corners.

  21. if it was Grojean it would have been a 20 sec penalty plus the fine.

    These guys a so inconsistent I have to blame Maldonado for the DRS problem.

  22. Bigasshammm
    29th July 2013, 14:01

    It’s interesting that this always happens to Alonso. Wouldn’t if it was a setting thing they would have forgotten to do Massa’s as well? I totally believe they are fudging the rules to try to boost Alonso’s position and they keep getting caught but never face a penalty. Shows who’s in charge of F1.

  23. What was it Ferrari said after the Mercedes tyre test hearing? Well everyone might was well just use DRS every lap after this ruling… Mistake or not, seems like this was a clear breach of the rules and should have resulted in a 20s penalty applied at the end of the race, or a drive through during the race.

Comments are closed.