No penalty for Alonso over Vergne incident

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards have taken no action over the incident between Fernando Alonso and Jean-Eric Vergne during the race.

Alonso was investigated for “allegedly leaving the track and gaining an advantage” at turn three when he overtook the Toro Rosso driver.

The stewards ruled that “While car three [Alonso] did leave the track at turn three to four the stewards believe that he had no choice, as car eighteen [Vergne] closed on him.”

“Car eighteen was at the end of his stint with worn tyres and was fully committed to the turn as car three exited the pits. Telemetry confirms that car three was significantly faster, on option tyres, and had the advantage throughout the sequence. The drivers’ explanations were completely clear.

“Therefore the stewards determine that neither car could avoid the incident, and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”

Alonso blamed Vergne for the incident, saying the Toro Rosso driver left him insufficient space.

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

148 comments on “No penalty for Alonso over Vergne incident”

  1. Fair enough. The pit exit might look impressive and be unique; it surely isn’t the best place to rejoin the track.

    1. Agreed. Out of necessity the driver emerging from the pits has to move slightly to the right to re-join but if someone was coming through on the main track, the instinct is to move left to avoid contact. That latter movement may well take the driver off the limit and that’s what happened to Alonso.

    2. Perfect businessman scenario.
      1. Delay Massa front tire pit by 1 second, personal mistake.
      2. Alonso get out side by side and does banzai
      3. Penalty? Lobby to be postponed after the race.
      4. Change mode to Teflonso, Vergne had nothing to loose anyway.
      5. Settle down.

    3. No just ruling….Vergne is at race speed..Alonso exit pitlane…..was shown blue light…..any other driver would had drive through penalty..

  2. Seems fair.

  3. Mr win or lose
    3rd November 2013, 17:02

    Good decision, the less penalties the better.

  4. Good decision, if anyone, Vergne should have gotten a penalty for his complete lack of spacial awareness and dangerous driving.

    1. @kingshark That’s completely unfair. Vergne was on the racing line and was not required to get off it to let Alonso past.

      1. Suggesting a new title for the post: “Unfairness of telemetry”

      2. @keithcollantine
        He new a faster car was going alongside him, Alonso has nowhere to go he was limited by the white line of the exit of the pit lane even if he exists the pit lane he will be committed to the racing line before Vergne, so JEV has 2 options : not committing the racing line or forcing Alonso of the track which what he did.

        That’s completely unfair. Vergne was on the racing line and was not required to get off it to let Alonso past.

        You are talking with 100% technical point of view but there are also other variables that should be taken into account, i know that there is no rules that tells that you should watch your mirrors when you’ve got the racing line …… but this is F1 even if you’re not aware of drivers positions when you are leaving the pit the team should know there is race tracker team radio….. and Vergne was aware of Fernando’s situation that’s why he should have gotten a penalty, BTW i hope in the future he will show the same level of bravery and committing to the racing line like he did with Fernando when the driver in question will be Sebastian Vettel

        1. It’s the driver joining the track who has responsibility to join safely, there’s no way you can put the blame on Vergne for this incident.

          1. @metallion

            It’s the driver joining the track who has responsibility to join safely

            The problem here the pit lane exit doesn’t guarantee that 100%, like i said Alonso has nowhere to go he has 2 options if he wanted to avoid Vergn :
            1 disappear 2 big crash
            BTW Vergne himself praised Alonso’s reaction to avoid a big crash and recognized that he didn’t saw him on his mirrors

          2. @tifoso1989 – there was a 3rd option – lift the throttle. the problem is still that ALO didn’t give the place back, even after going off and that’s just inconsistent with what we saw this year.

          3. @tmf42

            I was slowly beginning to think I was the only one who thought he could have just braked, or lifted instead of forcing himself into this situation.

            Utterly ridicolous decision.

        2. @Tifoso1989
          As much as I love to see Fernando blowing off the doors with fantastic overtakes, one must not assume that a disadvantaged car should EVER simply move over when fighting for position. Indeed, the onus it on the following driver to get passed in a way that complies with the rules and safety guidelines. Though it pains me to say it, ALO got away with one in this case.

      3. I completely agree. Alonso kept his foot down though he was clearly behind when he joined the track. To claim he had nowhere to go is nonsense and only valid if Alonso somehow has different rights from the rest. He could easily have backed off a bit and obviously would have done so had there been a wall instead a run-off area as one of the commentators suggested.

    2. It blindlingly obvious that JEV went out of the racing line to force Alonso out. I can’t say if that’s legal or not. But don’t say JEV was an innocent bystander.

      1. I agree with you Hyoko, and think that Keith´s interpretation of the “defensive move” in the regulations is very narrow.

        It would be interesting to analyse the line that Vergne took in the preceding couple of laps to see how wide he was going then. The stewards mentioned he was on worn tyres and “committed” to the line, which kind of protects him from the counter claim that he didn’t give Alonso room. But I am curious to see if he really needed to go that wide. I suspect not.

      2. I don’t see how you could say that unless you think the racing line for that corner involves going nowhere near the exit kerb. It does, of course, and this being F1 they use most of it, which is why it’s covered in rubber. Watch the replay and you’ll see Vergne’s line is no different to Massa’s behind him.

        Besides which, the stewards considerations make it clear they don’t consider Vergne was at fault. Alonso was the one under investigation for “allegedly gaining an advantage” – there was no mention of whether Vergne forced Alonso off the track. And the stewards noted Vergne was “fully committed to the turn” – not that he’d come off the line to keep Alonso behind.

        1. @keithcollantine its doesn’t really matter what the racing line is , the rule says if a car is alongside, drivers have to leave a car’s width period. IMO JEV should have got penalty for not leaving enough space, which is quite clear.

          1. No. The driver joining the track has the obligation to join safely. Alonso should have slowed to allow verne to pass then join safely behind him. Instead he fought the position by leaving the track. In my mind he should have been punished.

          2. Bearing in mind lee1’s comment/reply I think that in all honesty it 50/50, but the bit that people will remember is Alonso raging that it was Vergne’s fault, yet Vergne himself actually complemented Alonso on avoiding a crash, and that he had not seen him!!!

          3. @lee1 you got the rule right, but it doesn’t apply here. It applies if JEV is in front , but here they are not, check the on-board footage they are side-by-side before alonso runs off track. As soon as they are side by side “leaving space” rule applies.

          4. @f1007

            the rule says if a car is alongside, drivers have to leave a car’s width period

            Only in a specific circumstance which was not fulfilled by what happened here.

          5. It was fulfilled if you consider that Vergne ran wide in that corner, which would then be considered a defensive move.

            A defensive move does not need to be a lunge.

        2. @keithcollantine well just read JEV did not see alonso, so that settles it, its racing incident. no body deserves penalty.

          1. @alonso_fan
            I will argue that.
            By getting a pass on a slower car ahead and a pass on the rules, ALO got an advantage by not having to slow to remain on the racing surface and by not being held up. ALO did not have to wait for a good passing section of DRS zone, he was able to start closing his gap that much quicker.

            ALO DID leave the track to complete an overtake, JEV had NO reason to let him by and had a right to fight for his position with 1 move, and ALO DID get an advantage by not having to deal with a slower car ahead, but yet, NO penalty…

            I root for ALO, but in the face of these facts, I can see why people are angry

    3. … maybe the main problem being that racing line and pit exit meet in the middle of a high speed corner as some said? Neither could do anything about that without a fair chance of crash at that speed.
      And there can be a long debate between “4 wheels out and gaining an advantage” and “forced a driver outside the track”.

  5. I was already bit worried that FIA might have a clear and consistent rule policy. But yeah, No.

    1. They (FIA) blamed the tyres. The tyres, both worn and option tyres should be given a grid penalty for the next race.

  6. Seems fair. well done.

  7. “Car eighteen was at the end of his stint with worn tyres and was fully committed to the turn as car three exited the pits. Telemetry confirms that car three was significantly faster, on option tyres, and had the advantage throughout the sequence. The drivers’ explanations were completely clear.”

    Grosjean was without doubt also faster than Massa…

    1. And when approaching a chicane just go straight if you’re about to ‘overtake’ a slower car… especially when he is on older tyres.

    2. @ardenflo I was reading the comments to see if anybody had made the point. Grosjean was much faster than Massa and stayed a lot closer to the track than Alonso did today. Complete lack of consistency in decision making.

  8. Very weak by stewards. Might be because it’s ALO or Ferrari they investigated, but comparing this decision to some they made earlier this year they fell back in their old habit of being wildly inconsistent. Especially by arguing that the car was anyway quicker – so was GRO in Hungary, HULK, HAM in Singapore, RIC in Japan and so on.
    Sure it’s partly down to the unfortunate layout where drivers commit to the T3 exit blindly and the guy coming from the pits joins them on the racing line, but if they want to enforce track limits then they also have to do it.

  9. Sensible decision, it was a spectacular move, but there’s no consistency at all. I mean, the argument “he pushed me off track, I had no choice” is not good enough, Grosjean was penalized for his excellent pass on Massa in Hungary.
    So, yeah, I don’t know what to think. While watching the race I was sure Alonso was going to get a penalty, based on past experiences this year.

    1. I agree with you, but whatever they did they would have been inconsistent. And RoGro’s penalty was a disgrace.

    2. It’s never easy to judge this sort of situation, but at least this time they fully explained their decision.

      True, the stewards do need to be more consistent, but we can’t forget that they have access to reams of telemetry and video footage the fans never see.

    3. easy steward decision: it was ferrari…

  10. I’m sorry to disagree with a lot of people, but the stewards have been utterly terrible this weekend.
    Sutil clearly gained an advantage offtrack (basically flooring it in the run-off area), Alonso passed someone offtrack (Similar to Grosjean, who took avoiding action during his overtaking maneuver which caused him to go offtrack), Gutierrez made multiple moves during defending (which he also got away with in India) and we saw numerous people offending the “Don’t go wide at the final turn”-rule, while they were specifically told to follow it.

    As you may see, most of the issues this weekend were track-limit related, and no one got a penalty for disobeying the rules. You can set up rules, but if you do,you have to follow through and actually enforce them.

    1. And you forgot Hülkenberg’s joke penalty.

      1. I can kinda agree with that one since it’s an unsafe release, but I don’t agree with penalising the driver for it, since it (usually) isn’t his fault, but the teams’ (as it was in this case).

      2. @f1mre totally disagree with you on that. A crash in the pits can have deadly consequences. Unsafe release. Really a pity for him though!

        1. Team should get fined if it is an unsafe release with no further consequences. If it involves a crash or damage to cars, also driver.

          1. Makes sense, but also note that penalising the driver also affects the Constructors’ Championship as it reduces the chances of points.

        2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
          3rd November 2013, 18:12

          At the start of the year there were a few incidents like that, and all the stewards did was fine the team. I remember Paul di Resta had a worse incident at Malaysia i think and he got no punishment. It’s the inconsistency which is the worst thing.

        3. @spoutnik @infinitygc We haven’t seen replays but Vettel was released very similarly yesterday. A Marussia was the other car. Front wing and rear wheel were side-by-side.

          For me it’s never a penalty. Especially in such wide pits like these.

          1. @f1mre I saw it, and I just replayed it before answering. No penalty there IMO, they were close at most. The Marussia didn’t even bother to brake. The most dangerous situation is when cars have crossing trajectories, when their box are close each other.

    2. @infinitygc
      I agree completely.
      “That’ll do, guys. Lets go to the pub”.
      They rave on about how they will punish drivers for not respecting track limits, and not only do they let half the grid get away with not doing so in qualifying, but they don’t care in the race either.
      The solution? Turn the run-offs into a mix of Grass, gravel, Teflon and barbed wire.
      Since the drivers can’t respect the track limits, and the stewards can’t decide on anything, it seems like the only solution is to make a track that punishes the drivers when they leave the track. Just like in the good old days when leaving the track meant loosing time, positions and even ending up with a DNF.

  11. I can’t believe this! The same reasoning could be applied for almost every situation we had in the recent years with overtaking off the track limits. When i think about the first case – Vettel overtaking Button – absolutely the same. He didn’t had space and he was Faster. Massa and Grosjean – the same. What happened here FIA? This is not about fair or not, this is about are you consistent in your decisions or not.

  12. No way, FIA not punishing Ferrari? That must be the first time…
    Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton, all of them got penaltys or had to give the position back, but Alonso can do whatever he wants. He was not pushed off, he sould have lifted. He saw Vergne, it’s clear on the onboard camera. Vergne was on the racing line and had no obligation to let Alonso go by or to leave space as Keith pointed out.

    1. +1
      Why can a driver get away with overtaking of track just because he was faster? What a lame argument is that? You can only overtake if You can find a way past within the track limits, if not You should lift or give the position back. The fact that Alonso could have overtaken Vergne a little later is not an argument. And why did Sutil get away with the corner cutting in the Sutil- Maldonado incident? We need un-drivable off-track areas, the sooner the better. That will end all these discussions – the only thing left will be to decide if a driver was pushed of track or it was his own bad judgement leading him to run out of track.

      1. Yes – seems a fair decision to me, and Vergne accepts it – but the stewards’ explanation isn’t ideal, and maybe sets a precedent. A bit like last year, when one of the reasons given for Grosjean’s race ban was that he took out the championship leader? It almost sounds like you can overtake someone off the track with impunity, as long as you’re going faster than him or on softer tyres!

        1. LOL, you’re comparing GRO last year at Spa with this ?!?! Get real, man ! You take for granted a rookie who goes sideways on a circuit with gravel/grass off-track, and when there’re 3-4 cars side by side ?!?! No, you don’t. You shouldn’t. Everybody knows what happened. Then, things could have went really really ugly. Did you see GRO front wheel going centimeters away from ALO’s helmet ? Don’t want to think what could have happened if that wheel would have hit ALO’s helmet. These 2 cases are not comparable almost at all.

  13. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    3rd November 2013, 17:18

    I’m not surprised that they never go against him…

    1. @omarr-pepper

      I’m not surprised that they never go against him…

      BTW last year Alonso never went to the stewards, he was the cleanest driver of 2012 no penalties, no reprimands no anything and this year he got a reprimand for lifting Webber after the race in Singapoor, maybe i have a short memory but can you tell us when did Alonso has a go at the stewards in the last couple of years ???
      even if he know how to play mind games & psychological war, on the track he knows exactly how to race hard and fair, that’s why he is considered as one of the best racers of his generation, to be honest i was expecting a penalty after the race but after Fernando’s statement i knew that he will not get it maybe because his opinion is important in this kind of racing situations
      BTW of all the sadness of today’s GP (at least for me) i have enjoyed Vettel’s celebration with donuts not because it was spectacular but because he was making a point, let’s say challenging the FIA !!!
      and i hope that all the drivers in the future will have the same attitude, i just like drivers with strong personalities & Vettel this year has showed that (even if i don’t like his success at the moment for obvious reasons)

  14. Teflonso strikes again.

    1. This. 100% this,

  15. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    3rd November 2013, 17:28

    I’m a bit tired of the stewards now. They had been okay this season with punishing off the track moments – people complained about RoGro getting punished at Hungary but I thought they were bang on; if you need to go off the track to pass then it isn’t much of an overtake anyway but since India the stewards/Whiting have just acted without any logic. They ignored people exceeding the track limits throughout India, then before qualifying they said they would look at anyone who went wide at the last corner – why the last corner and no others is beyond me- and yet they did absolutely nothing about it so were yet again inconsistent, and finally, they ignored Alonso exceeding the track limits and Sutil doing the same. There’s just no logic or consistency. It was also pretty frustrating how they waited until after the race to make the decision; say they had found Alonso guilty then it would have been really unfair to punish him with a time penalty when they could have immediately told him to just give the position back.

  16. I call ********!

  17. They should change the pit lane exit for next year.

    1. They could put it on the other side of the track…

  18. Red car rule returns. Regardless of Vergne’s tyres, he was on racing line and if there was a wall Alonso would have had to get out of it or crash. Ridiculous decision.

    1. Red car rule returns

      I just wish if you’re right

      1. He’s incorrect indeed. It’s Alonso rule.

        If you’re Alonso you won’t get a penalty. Anyone else though…

  19. it’s clear that there are 2 different criteria for applying rules… one for Alonso and Ferrari, the ther one fr the rest of the drivers, that’s as maFIA always did…

    1. Ferrari International Assistant, as it happened with Prost in 1990 and will always be.

  20. Don’t they have blue flags at the pit exit?

    1. There probably are, but Alonso and Vergne were racing for position at that point.

      1. But aren’t blue flags always shown to the car joining the track if there is traffic coming (to warn them rather than to indicate to let them lap them)? I might be wrong though but somehow that’s how it is stored in my brain!


        1. It’s a flashing blue light at the pit exit that warns the exiting cars of cars near the pit exit

  21. So Alonso never gets punished is what is the view of most here? Anybody forget Valencia, GB 2010?

    1. There’s a reason he’s known as Teflonso. I don’t buy it myself, but equally I can’t pretend I don’t have my own biases :-)

    2. Suzuka 2012

      1. @tifoso1989

        Suzuka 2012 was solely Alonso’s fault.

        I do realize you as well as Alonso expect everyone to just move out of the way.
        Just like today.

        1. @baron-2
          You clearly missed the point, i don’t know why some people become nervous when it is about Alonso/Ferrari, i was referring to Vettel impeding in qualifying during Suzuka 2012 and not Raikkonen’s accident on the first lap
          I do realize you as well my friend !!!!!!!!!!

    3. How about Monaco this year, Perez forced him out of the track, and unbelievably Alonso had to give back the position. I was happy that later on Kimi had what it takes to close the door on Perez in another of his kamikaze moves.

  22. Going by the rule book he should have been penalised, however considering that the stewards have turned a blind eye all weekend to drivers exceeding the track limits it would have been a bit unfair on Alonso to receive a penalty. I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but I feel that regarding the matter of drivers exceeding the track limits, the stewards should either penalise everyone who infringes the rule, or no one at all.

    1. +1

      Finally a good comment. So many drivers went off-track this GP weekend in different corners, so giving ALO a penalty for going off-track would have been a biased decision. How about Massa going off-track in his last run from Q1, how about Vettel in his last run from Q3 etc etc ? I’m glad they did not give any penalty to ALO. That was 1 of the nice moments of the race. Also, Vergne had no fault. ALO was the 1 who pushed the things. There were some moments where some other drivers/teams could have been penalised, but the stewards let them “escape”. I really don’t see any favouritism towards Ferrari. Plus, I think the stewards let ALO “escape” because the position for which he fought wasn’t that “rewarding” either. If that fight would have been for one of the podium places, I don’t he would have escaped any penalty at all.

    2. What is strange is that they specifically told the drivers this weekend that they would enforce the track limit rules very strictly, and then nothing happened apart from a few penalties in GP2 and GP3.

    3. I think you’ve worded it best, so far!

  23. “You need to leave the space, you always need to leave the space [for Alonso]!”

    1. and for Vettel

      1. @tifoso1989

        When Alonso complained about it the FIA quickly clarified the rules and punished anyone who broke those rules. Now Alonso breaks them as well and the stewards do nothing and people have the nerve to blame Vergne… Classic double standards.

        1. But off course, Vergne doesn’t drive a Ferrari:-)

      2. @tifoso1989

        I remember Vettel got penalized post race for passing Button and lost his podium place in one of the GP’s 2012 and this affected the championship. Also Alonso had to give place to Sergio in Monaco this season because he cut the chicane. Why suddenly they decided to stop enforcing the rules? This race is not affecting the championship. But if it was affecting the championship it was going to be pretty unfair. If Vettel was the one doing the pass off track, were you going to defend him, telling us all that he did nothing wrong? I don’t think so. Lets not judge the stewards decision by how they effect our favorite driver, lets judge them according the rules and the previous history of enforcing those rules.

        1. @baron-2, @vasschu
          I was just making an irony of Vergne moving away to give his place to Vettel, i was not referring to the penalties, thank you anyway i do accept critics with fair play

  24. Grosjean escapes penalty in Hungary also floor penalty. But Raikkonen gets floor penalty!!!!! Why??? The stewards fail more and more with each race!!!! I’m surprised Vergne wasn’t penalised, although he did not deserved it under these circumstances!!!!!! That aside, there are too many penalties, too many rules over how to defend yourself etc. They killed racing anyway.

    PS: As big Ferrari fan as I am, Alonso deserved a penalty this race. Also it was funny seeing how the pit crew made a mistake INTENTIONALLY to slow down Massa! Disappointed.

    1. The floor failure was the same on both cars. Had Lotus redesigned the part to prevent a second failure, they may well have escaped penalty.

  25. FIA = Ferrari International Assistance …

    The penality for Grosjean in Hungary seems completely unfair now …

    1. yeah, and not giving any penalty to Lotus in HUN for the floor was unfair too back then ! ;)

  26. If this had been about Vettel, he would have been crucified.

    And he would have gotten a penalty.

    This is,.. Unbelievable.

    1. Vettel has gotten away with overtaking by exceeding the track limits himself before, he got away with it in Australia in 2011.

      1. @slr which was before the supposed clamping down. I don’t necessarily agree that Alonso should have gotten a penalty, but that incident is pretty irrelevant. What would be more relevant is Germany 2012…

        1. @vettel1 Well it hard to say when the clamping down began, in the same race Button was penalised for overtaking off the circuit; Alonso was given penalty for the same reason during the British Grand Prix a year earlier; in Singapore in 2009 Webber passed Alonso off the circuit and had to give the place back.

          Certainly the FIA have been more vocal about this issue recently, but penalising drivers for overtaking via exceeding the track limits is nothing new.

          1. @slr
            Button cut the chicane to overtake in that race, as did Alonso in Silverstone. Overtaking by going beyond the while line on exit wasn’t punished as much as it is today.

      2. @slr

        In a corner where everybody and their Grandmother go off track every single lap.

        If you look at Germany 2012, Vettel was also pushed to the outside by Button but still got a penalty. Or Grosjean on Massa in Hungary, same idea. Now though, it’s suddenly Vergne’s fault although Vergne had absolutely no way of seeing Alonso and it’s Alonso’s responsibility to make sure nothing happens as he exits the pits.

        1. If you look at Germany 2012, Vettel was also pushed to the outside by Button but still got a penalty.

          Vettel wasn’t pushed off, he chose to go off; at no point did Button run Vettel wide.

          Yes stewarding is inconsistent, however the only real way to achieve it is by have permanent stewards. Different stewards will view different kinds of incidents differently. It’s possible that had the Abu Dhabi stewards would have not given a penalty to Grosjean had they been stewarding the Hungarian GP.

    2. @baron-2
      Just for the history
      Vettel escaped penalties in :
      Suzuka 2011 : pushing a driver off the track leaving button with 2 wheels on the track
      Suzuka 2012 : impeding a driver
      I know that all the drivers do make mistakes and it is up to the stewards to made the right decisions but if they didn’t do then it’s not the drivers fault and it’s not a reason to play the victim for your favorite driver

  27. Welcome to F1, where the penalties are a joke and the rules don’t matter.

    1. Btw, I’m not only talking about Alonso but the whole “we will enforce track limits this time”. THAT WAS CUTE

    2. “Welcome to ‘Who’s Racing Line Is It Anyway?'”


      1. ahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa ! Not Alonso’s for sure ! But that’s why we love ALO… because he’s a renegade ! ahahahaaa

  28. So next race, if a driver is faster than the one in front, he just have to build up a situation, where he “is forced to go of track” because he doesn’t lift when he should’ve done it and then cut the corner and overtake – like Sutil did today and got away with it.

  29. Vergne-

    “It was a racing incident and if he had not gone on the outside [of the track] like he did, we would have had a big crash,” Vergne told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was high-speed, and what he did was right. Actually, I am really happy he did that otherwise we would have had an accident, so yes, definitely [the stewards made the right decision].”

  30. Sure, Vergne didn’t leave enough room and Alonso was forced to go off the track. It was a daring and impressive overtaking by Alonso as usual. However, should another driver have done the same (say a Grosjean or Hulkenberg), I’m pretty sure he would have being penalized straight away!

  31. “Telemetry confirms that [Alonso]… had the advantage throughout the sequence… and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”

    Leaving the track to avoid an “incident” which otherwise would become an “accident” is what top drivers have the reactions and skills to do. It is part of racing. (Despite Coulthard and others reporting that Whiting was going to be firm, it’s obvious — thank goodness — that the stewards decided differently, else half the qualifying times would have been thrown out.)

    And before anyone raises “safety”, F1 is racing, not sitting at a computer playing games. Safety has improved enormously since I started watching F1 (multiple deaths every year) and I see no reason at all for the occasional close proximity “incident” to not be accepted as part of normal racing. This year’s F1 has been boring enough without penalizing drivers who have an innate sense of “b*lls to the wall” and the skill to pull it off.

    1. And I trust that Alonso is OK after his hospital visit (reported by BBC) — apparently the “telemetry” said he pulled 28G into his spine.

    2. Alonso sees slower car coming around the bend, and keeps the foot down so he is on collision course with other car. He then moves outside of the track limits and overtakes the other car, and the stewards say ‘no advantage was gained’. To me, there is a definite advantage to overtaking someone.

      And then there’s Charlie Whiting saying that going wide on the outside of a bend doesn’t give any advantage … funny that everyone still did it in qualifying – the drivers must be pretty dumb to keep doing it when there’s ‘no advantage’ …

      I wonder how long they expect us to keep believing them …

  32. maarten.f1 (@)
    3rd November 2013, 20:10

    I think I’ll go with whatever the stewards have decided, and what Vergne said. Good decision. I find it amazing that there are so many people here are bashing the stewards while they have all the information to make a decision, and we, well, we don’t really have any information. The stewards will have access to telemetry data, hear the driver’s statements (without any PR filter), look at various camera angels, etc. Why is it so hard for people to accept the stewards’ decision then? What do we have? A couple of replays and an interview with an upset Alonso.

    1. @maarten-f1

      we don’t really have any information.

      Except for the, I don’t know, TV footage that clearly showed Alonso to be well off track with all four wheels to get past Vergne.

      He exited the pits and was behind Vergne. Then he goes off track and manages to get in front of Vergne. He would have never gotten in front if he had stayed on track. Simple.

      1. maarten.f1 (@)
        4th November 2013, 6:02

        @baron-2 Which is not enough to base a decision on. I wish people for once trust in the stewards’ decision instead of arguing all the way, as if it’s going to make a difference anyway.

  33. The only problem here it is that @keithcollantine really hates Alonso. Apart from that there is no other possible decision from the FIA and Alonso had no other choice.

    1. @Paul2013: Alonso had no choice? He could back off, let Vergne pass and re-overtake him. Then there would be no discussion at all.

      1. with or without rolling out the red carpet?

        1. @palmerstoneroad: Do you also have something constructive towards discussion? :-) Or just making fun of something?

      1. easy Keith, most F1 fans hate Teflonso anyway..don’t bother.

        1. Most F1 Fanatic residents, to be precise.

  34. “Follow the money, always follow the money”. Alonso “is” Santander, who puts lots of money into formula 1. He wil never be penalised, the stewards always will find some explanation for that.

    1. Unfortunately for your theory he has been penalised and/or forced to give back the position as often as the next guy. And while it is true that a few somewhat similar incidents have been penalised (Grosjean on Massa notably) many others (a few of them in today’s race) haven’t been. Yes, there are inconsistencies, it is nothing new. But you need tunnel vision to say they favor a particular driver or team. Maybe there was a time when FIA could be Ferrari’s Int etc, but that was quite a few years ago.

      1. Yes tunnel vision indeed, seeing a corner and overtaking by going off the track should be done more often.

    2. Absolutely brilliant by your logic mr @jorge-lardone of “Follow the money, always follow the money”
      Vettel is Red Bull and Red Bull puts lots of money into formula 1 that’s why he is a 4 times WDC (they have TC and an illegal car but because of the money no one can say a word)
      Hamilton & Roseberg are Mercedes and Mercedes puts lots of money into formula 1 that’s why they are 2nd in the WCC
      Please if you have more theories don’t hesitate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Madness and dangerous. So we have a new rule that says “if you have a fast car then you are allowed to take a shortcut”? The correct option was for Alonso to lift off the throttle.

  36. Michael Brown (@)
    4th November 2013, 0:33

    I know Alonso had to avoid Vergne due to how the pit exit is, but he overtook Vergne by going off the track. Even worse in my opinion is Sutil cutting the chicane to stay ahead of Perez. He didn’t gain a place, but he possibly failed to lose one

  37. I believe this is an inconsistent decision with what we have seen so far this season, plus it hasn’t been properly argued by the stewards. I don’t think the argument is about Vergne leaving enough space or Alonso coming out of the pits and having to lift to let Vergne through as many people say. The point is that Alonso did leave the track and he did gain an advantage (which was to be in front of Vergne after leaving the track while fighting for position). The fact that Alonso was quicker and on fresher rubber it totally irrelevant, as when an incident of this sort happens, the car trying to overtake is usually faster and is the one leaving the track most of the times, so it could always be used and this rule would never be enforced.

    The only argument that Alonso could hold not to be punished is that he was in front of Vergne all the time, and thus he did not gain a real advantage, but then again, we have seen examples this year where a driver leaves the track fighting for position and gets a penalty even though he was in front all the time, i.e. the Hulkenberg/Perez incident in Singapore:

    For those people arguing that Alonso could have done nothing else as lifting wouldn’t have avoided a collision with Vergne, my point is still clear: he could have given the position back on the next corner as it is usually done on this sort of situation. And this is what he should have done in my opinion. The chicane after the tunnel in Monaco is a clear example. There is no way that two cars can go parallel through there, so when there is a tight move, the driver on the outside usually jumps the chicane and then gives the position back so that he gains no advantage and therefore no penalty. Given the speed Alonso had on the soft tire at the end of the race he would have probably ended up fifth even if he had given the position back to Vergne. However, he didn’t, and so he deserved a penalty in my opinion.

    Having said that, I must point out that I don’t like this rule at all. It penalizes aggressive drives and risky moves, which is what really spices up the races. It also takes a lot of human interpretation which isn’t always consistent as we have seen today. A simpler solution (although more expensive in terms of money) would be to replace the track limits with a surface that would slow cars down, so that people would not get a real advantage by running over the track limits. Let the drivers fight! We want more racing and less judging!!!

  38. blah blah blah vettel won the race, championship long decided. Even if he received a penalty, Alonso has nothing to fight for…this is a big who cares along with the rest of F1 races remaining

  39. The dimensions this comments stream has taken on is quite remarkable…everything from conspiracy theories to insulting the operator of this site…so, here’s my take:

    1. re: conspiracy theories and teflonso – besides the nice ring that the nickname has, and the big politics and big money that do have an undue and undesirable influence on the sport, this incidence is hardly evidence of either. only thinking that vergne should have been punished is a bigger reach (which btw is the only thing that alonso deserves criticism for).

    2. As for the steward’s decision(s) – the ‘inconsistencies’ are often a function of the situational awareness and context-sensitive application of the rules that we indeed expect from them. So, lets cut them some slack when we have a different interpretation of the events or the rules. If you think this was a clear cut rule infringement, I disagree (sort of)…

    3. The pit lane exit as the special circumstance that vindicates Alonso – Initially, I also thought that Alonso could have lifted to avoid the incidence (after all he does join the track behind Vergne), and so he clearly gained an advantage by going off track which wasn’t inevitable had he ‘decided’ not to go for the pass. So, punish Alonso. BUT, I wonder if the ‘slowing down’ should really be considered an option, and the passing move really a decision on the part of Alonso. If you consider that, in this case, you have two cars flying at a high speed turn being catapulted at each other from what are effectively two different racing lines, it would have taken incredible prescience and reaction-speed for Alonso to have done better than he did and avoid not only a crash but the incidence altogether. Hence, one might consider the peculiar pit-lane exit as the decisive factor in causing the incidence (not a ‘decision’ of Alonso’s to try to pass, and certainly not a ‘decision’ of Vergne’s not to leave room) and Alonso leaving the track as a good option to avoid a big, big crash. Still, ideally, he should have relinquished his position, but given this reading of events I can understand a reluctance to punish him after the race.

    4. @keith – I just discovered this site after the japan gp. Mainstream media articles (whether british, german, or spanish) are often compromised by either a national bias or the need to fish for headlines. Your articles exhibit a keen understanding of racing and express your affection for the sport rather than any particular driver. Well done!

    1. Thank you very much and welcome to F1 Fanatic!

  40. So on Alonso’s list of options as he exitted the pits, braking was obviously not an option….according to the race stewards that is. Straight lining a corner and gaining an advantage is also okay.

    Perez and Maldonado have just found an answer to their steward woes.

  41. Fair. And Vergne agrees with the FIA.

    1. He didn’t see it from outside or above or from Alonso’s car, so his ability to judge it is somewhat impaired, but off course, when the stewards have spoken he knows that his opinion won’t change things. Fact is that had it been with barriers like in Monaco, Alonso would have backed off as many have pointed out, and this logic makes it obvious that the stewards are wrong on this issue. They should immediately have asked Alonso to give the position back and the issue would have been solved correctly. It is difficult and a bit unfair to give him a punishment after the race.

  42. These on/off track discussions can be avoided by making the tracks interesting again.
    Give us back the sand traps, tyre-stacks and move the barriers closer to the track.
    This wouldn’t be a discussion if it happened on a track like monaco. Alonso would’ve hold back or crashed into the barrier.
    There is no ‘penalty’ anymore for making mistakes. Nowadays you can just move on. In the past you would have your car trapped in the sand. I think it would make racing more exiting.
    I’ve really started to hate these Herman Tylke tracks. Pure Boredom.

  43. If the driver involved in the incident would have been a driver other than Alonso, say Di Resta, I’m certain the reaction from the readers would have been very different. Since Alonso is not liked very much, whatever he does or does not do is always under scrutiny …

  44. Michael Brown (@)
    5th November 2013, 15:08

    Alonso going off track to avoid a crash is ok. He should have given the place back to Vergne because he overtook him off the track, which is an illegal overtake.

    The stewards are saying that Alonso had a much larger grip and speed advantage, but that doesn’t excuse him from overtaking illegally.

Comments are closed.