Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Albert Park, 2016

Alonso doesn’t blame Gutierrez for crash

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso said Esteban Gutierrez was not to blame for the huge crash which put both out of the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was trying to overtake the Haas driver when the pair made contact, launching the McLaren into the barriers. The pair were unhurt but Alonso’s car sustained significant damage.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2016
Alonso’s car suffered serious damage
The stewards have summoned both drivers to explain the collision but when he was asked by reporters if there was any blame to apportion Alonso said: “No I don’t think so.”

“I think we are racing, we are fighting and I took the slipstream as much as I could,” he said. “In the last moment I tried to move, I don’t know if it was too late, I moved as well because I wait for the last moment.”

“Obviously you see only the rear wing, you don’t have the full vision of the track so it’s tough and for him the same thing. You try to defend and you don’t know exactly what the other guy is doing. So we are both happy and OK now talking to you, so that’s the real important point.”

Alonso said he was “OK” after climbing from the wreckage of his car. “It was a scary moment, a scary crash.”

“Lucky to be here and happy to be here and thankful to be here especially to the FIA and all the safety because probably I’m alive thanks to that.”

“At the same time we are racing and we lost the opportunity of points, we lost the opportunity of starting the championship OK. We lost probably the power unit and the whole car because we have a lot of damage but as I said I’m super-happy to be here talking to you guys.”

Update: The stewards have cleared Alonso and Gutierrez over the collision.

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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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61 comments on “Alonso doesn’t blame Gutierrez for crash”

  1. Why would he blame him. It was pretty clear that it was unfortunate timing to make the move so close to the breaking zone and GUT did nothing wrong. Racing is dangerous and incidents like this can happen without having to lay blame on anyone.

    1. He doesn’t. He was asked if he did, and answered the question.

  2. I think Alonso misjudged gap and speed. Still I consider it as racing accident. It’s very fortunate no one hurt.

  3. I think Gutierrez thought Alonso was attacking him on the right side and drifted very slightly to the left at the last moment. Fernando was risking too much and breaking too late, and ran into him. It was a racing incident, glad to see they are both ok.

    I hate the way the halo looks, but I can see how, in 100 crashes like this, it might have saved the driver’s life in a handful of them. Alonso was lucky to walk out without a scratch this time.

    1. Fernando was 2 seconds a lap faster than Est at that point, and Esteban should have been made aware of that fact over the “team radio”!!! Ban team radio for coaching drivers if you wish, but lets not ban team radio that could make every driver aware of other teams strategy or speed/safety margins etc…I think a touch of inexperience from Est and a little of “my compadre” will let me thru contributed to this misjudgement. To see Fer getting out of that car on his own was so reminiscent of Ayrton at Mexico 90. Both huge shunts and ending up upside down. Climbed out and walked away….what a BOSS!!!

      1. The radio ban had nothing to do with the crash. Esteban knew Fernando was back there because they had been nose to tail for over a lap at that point (Gutierrez had actually been 3/10ths quicker on the previous lap). There’s also no reason for Gutierrez to let him through just because he’s quicker at the moment since any time Alonso loses at that point could give Gutierrez an advantage later in the race. Esteban had gained 2 seconds on Alonso from lap 3 to lap 11 so the cars were of comparable pace and could have been racing each other late.

  4. Even if he was to blame him, it wasn’ Gutierrez’s fault that Alonso misjudged.

    1. Steward: A car hit another car from behind
      F1 boss: whos to blame?
      Steward: It was the double WDC
      F1 boss: lets just say racing incident, understand?!

      1. I agree with the stewards that it was a racing incident. Claiming they wouldn’t penalise Alonso just because he’s a champion rings hollow when you recall he was given a penalty for a collision in the last race before this one.

        1. It did look earily similar to the grosjean verstappen hit in monaco last year and that got penalised. so theres definitly something to argue here imo…

        2. yes K. And are we all still of the opinion that is was an unfair penalty? #:)

    2. ………….so who was to blame? #:)

  5. Why would he? This is Alonso’s fault. Should be penalised. If Monaco last year is to be a precedent…

    1. @hahostolze Monaco last year has nothing to do with this one. This was a combination of factors, mainly that Gutierrez moved to the left just as Alonso was coming off the slipstream, maybe a bit too late. But they both moved to the same side.

      Last year, Max just plowed into Grosjean. Nothing else.

      1. That’s just ridiculous. They’re nearly identical incidents.

        1. Not really.

          You also have to take into account the nature of the corner in Monaco, it’s very narrow and drivers know that they cannot risk manoeuvres like they would at other circuits because there isn’t as much space.

      2. @hahostolze, the collision was neither GUT nor ALO’s fault; an analysis by Anthony Davidson of Sky F1 using FOM data showed GUT breaking earlier and a slight steering adjustment to left – probably for an approaching corner – but it did not definitively revealed the cause. IMO, it was a racing incident, horrendous and scary one, but nothing more. Thank goodness everyone walked away.

    2. Also similar to the case with Massa and Perez in Canada 2014, where Perez moved slightly into the line of the guy behind. Perez was penalized there. I consider the responsibility here pretty much 50-50%.

      1. With this accident they both moved at the same time, it was unfortunate more than anything. Canada was a slightly different

    3. Totally agree

  6. The red light on the Haas car had just began blinking indicating it was beginning to slow down massively. Alonso wad just too close to take avoiding action.

  7. Well, let’s imagine Rio Haryanto making such a brilliant move.
    Anyways, glad no one was hurt.

    1. Race suspension I think would have been the outcome of that investigation.

      Let’s be honest, proven talented drivers get a lot more slack for a careless mistake, and so it should be.

  8. This looked EXACTLY like Verstappen against Grosjean in Monaco last year. Same race incident, nobody really to blame. Attacker tries to slipstream and brake as late as possible and defender needs to brake slightly earlier due to the defending line.

    1. At least Alonso did not blame Gutierrez.

    2. I will blame in both cases the attacking driver for braking too late. Both GUT and GRO got their races ended but not both VES and ALO got penalised.

  9. Data showed Alonso was going about 20km/h faster at impact than on his last lap…..

    1. well he was trying to overtake

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      20th March 2016, 15:40

      A car with DRS open going faster than when it was closed? You don’t say!

  10. Alonso simply misjudged the speed, the gap, and, therefore, missed the braking point as well, but a racing incident nevertheless.

  11. Missjudged the gap,… Alonsos fault really. But no penalty should be given, otherwise there is no room for racing..

    The crash looked scary as hell…

  12. hypothetically speaking if it was guitierrez fault and alonso lost his engine in the crash, would he still have to use new engine from allocated 5 engines? or would he be allowed an extra one if the crash were no fault of his..

    1. I believe it would still count as one of the allocated engines.

    2. It comes out of his allocation, yes. I believe gearboxes are exempt as they are expected to last a certain number of consecutive races rather than have a capped number over the duration of a season which can be used and re-used. So he’ll replace his gearbox without penalty.

  13. wonder how much longer fernando woudl have been stuck in the car if they were running that ugly halo this year.

    1. I wonder the same, would the halo have provided more protection or it would have made the extraction harder? And the same goes for Kimi, he had to climb out of the car and away from the fire as fast as he could and was helped by a mechanic, with the halo in place it would have been trickier. I don’t care if the halo is ugly or if Red Bull’s concept looks cool if they help to improve safety, but whatever system is adopted, it clearly needs massive testing. Otherwise they should forget the idea altogether.

      1. ” And the same goes for Kimi, he had to climb out of the car and away from the fire as fast as he could and was helped by a mechanic”

        Yeah, I agree, that was a pretty speedy exit for Kimi. ;)

    2. I saw a picture of Alonso sitting beside the car and there would have been no issue with the halo. The car was onre on its side than upside down and if the halo had any effect, ti would have been to put it even more on its side. With the halo mounted on the outside of the raised sides of the cockpit, they should have no problem fitting through it.

  14. I think the blame lies with the terrible Honda engine last year. Alonso isn’t used to going so fast at the end of the straight. :)

    1. Comment of the day! XDDD

  15. I was following the GP on Canal+, where J.Villeneuve comments. He was putting 100% of the blame on Guttierrez, even more.
    I wasn’t so sure about it when i saw the replay, and FA himself now admits it was just a racing incident.
    How can it be that their views are soooo different ?

    1. because J.Villeneuve is an angry little man. and its always the slower cars fault in his mind.

    2. Because JV did exactly the same thing at the same spot. If he can’t take any blame for his incident, he isn’t going to suggest the trailing car should share any blame in this one. The way I see it, Alonso moved late and Gutierrez made a very small move to the left, or more to the point, he went straight at a point where the track has a very gentle bend to it.

  16. I wonder how Alonso’s car looked like after the accident. I tried to find something on the net but the only thing I foundd was cranes taking away some wheat harvester or something that probably got in the way during the accident.

    Joking aside, seeing Alonso climbing out looked like a minor miracle.

  17. It is the fault of neither driver.
    The same thing almost happened to Maldonado last year while overtaking a car last year.
    I think it happens when the car has exhausted its stored energy.

  18. This accident has left me pondering about gravel traps vs Tarmac run off, had this been a tilkedrome there would have been Tarmac… Question is would Alonso have come out of it better or worse, the car digging into the gravel did slow it down a fair bit, obviously once it was airborne there’s very little slowing it down so how would a car with no front brakes have faired in this crash?? For me part of the luck alonso had was how his car finally landed. Surely Tarmac would have made him have a heavy impact sideways on to the wall? But at what speed? What differences in G force? I think the sport does need to look into this for future track design, we could so easily have been looking at a very serious accident for Fernando. It was a testament to the increased safety of the sport, but I feel a huge amount is owed to luck, for me these questions need to be asked and studies taken

    1. What caused the rotational airborne flip of Alonso’s seemed to be its going spinning sideways from tarmac onto a narrow grass fringe and then having both front and back wheels hit the gravel pit simultaneously. That’s what sent him flipping in the air as opposed to spinning out on the surface, if he had kept spinning the ending would have much like the Haas car. I think the gravel pits work, but Alonso also hit another car and a wall first before transitioning onto two different surfaces. That is a short straight and the wall on the left is virtually on the track. More work on the border design could be done, and having concrete barriers just next to the track is a recipe for disaster. In testing Rosberg spun on wetties, and pranged right into concrete. Alonso was extremely lucky! I think the halo is a good thing, and from what I’ve seen it wouldn’t stop a driver from dropping out of an inverted cockpit as Alonso did. It might slow down safety workers from extracting an unconscious driver though.

  19. I do put more blame on Gutierrez. When watching the last moments before the accident from the front, you notice that Alonso’s visor was pointing straight while Gutierrez’s visor was pointing down. From the onboard camera on Gutierrez’s car, you can see that moments before the crash, he was making adjustments on his steering wheel.
    Gutierrez must have seen Alonso coming but didn’t expect him to overtake. Alonso was going faster than previous lap because he had the speed and was attempting a pass and Gutierrez should have expected that. If you see a car in your rear view mirror approaching you fast, you expect that car to overtake. That’s were Gutierrez miscalculated. It was obviously a mistake but could have been a really bad one.
    I believe (and I’m no expert, just my opinion) when you are racing and you see a fast approaching car behind you, you should assume an overtake attempt is imminent. That’s where Gutierrez failed. It was obvious from the onboard camera that while Gutierrez was working on his steering wheel, he drifted just slightly to the left right before impact.
    Was Alonso going faster than normal? Yes, he was attempting an overtake. Was Gutierrez not paying attention to what the driver behind was up to, i believe so.
    At the end of the day, I’m thankful no one was hurt at all. That’s the most important thing and i don’t believe there should be any penalties but it should be a lesson to all drivers about where their eyes should be when a car behind is coming very fast at you.

    1. Alonso stated in the Spanish media (yes, I do speak spanish) that it was his fault for miscalculating the gap, and then Gut’s Haas suffered an engine failure which reduced power significantly (hence the blinking red light…Actually, Gutierrez had been suffering from an engine failure since the start of the race). Add to the factor that Guti had older tires so he had to break earlier in the corner.

      The reason why anyone is blaming Gutierrez, is beyond me…

  20. Gutierrez maybe moved a bit, Alonso was maybe a bit close…

    It was very much an old-fashioned ‘racing incident’. Glad the stewards decided neither would get a penalty.

  21. Glad evereyone was ok. Racing incident. Risky move by Alonso, and a slight move to the left from Gutierrez. At least the FIA willo have some good high speed video footage of the drivers in the crash. Hopefully they’ll find something usefull in it.

  22. I think Gutierrez moved a little in Alonso’s path as well.. He must have been very relieved to see Alonso climb out of that wreck.

  23. While @grippgoat was being humorous about Alonso being habituated to a slower speed by the engine deficiency of last year, there is validity to the idea. While Alonso is a massively experienced champion and a complete driver, recent practice is key to skilled performance at the limit of human capability even for the best. Alonso spent the last year in a car 20-30 kph slower at the end of the straight than he has now, meaning all last season things happened more slowly and he was able to brake much later as his car had less terminal velocity. Plus, this was the first GP of the year after months off from racing. Plus he was coming up on a relatively inexperienced driver in a new car with a cockpit workflow he is still getting used to, moving at a slower speed. At the limit, racing requires instinctive skills, and Alonso’s ARE rusty. He did not blame Gutierrez because he knows deep down he is to blame for the incident. He left it way too late for the move, being right up on Gut’s gearbox he impaired his own view of the corner and his braking references and left himself completely at the mercy of Gut’s brake point, he did not leave himself or Gut any margin for error, he ruined both of their races, and risked his life. He is extremely lucky to be uninjured. Alonso is known as a smart driver, but that was not a smart move in any way.

    1. I think the McLaren’s speed caught Alonso by surprise!!

  24. Another rookie mistake by Alonso…
    Go home, champion, you are old to drive a formula 1 car…

  25. I’m surprised that no one seems to notice the funny coincidences in this “race incident”. Isn’t it interesting the huge benefit that Gutiérrez gave his team by crashing his car?

    I wonder if Gutiérrez did it on purpose and this was a minor Crashgate. Even I, as a regular driver, knew from the first time I sat at the wheel some very basic rules to stay alive. One of them, as basic as it gets, is “If the driver behind is closing on you, YOU DON’T BRAKE”. That rule always applies, no matter the situation, but even more so when you’re driving at high speed. It keeps you alive.

    So Gutiérrez, one of the best pilots in the world (yes, he is, otherwise he wouldn’t be in F1), sees Alonso closing on him, almost touching him, and he does the one thing every driver in the planet knows not to do? Hmmm… Braking at that moment could only have one consequence, and that is the consequence we saw. Why on earth would Gutiérrez do something so stupid? Well, maybe because it wasn’t so stupid.

    He crashed at the best moment and the best place for his teammate and his team. At that point Grosjean was the only pilot in the race who hadn’t pitted. That means that he effectively got a free pit stop which allowed him to restart the race in P9 with fresh rubber. Put that in context: Starting in P9 for Haas is like, say, a pole for Williams: Something they only dream of.

    Gutiérrez crashed at the right time: A couple of laps earlier, Hulk, Bottas and Pérez hadn’t pitted yet and that P9 restart would have just been a P12. A couple of laps later Grosjean’s tyres would have fallen off the cliff and Grosjean would have had to pit himself, thus getting no benefit from the crash.

    Gutiérrez also crashed at the right place. He was just behind Grosjean, which means that Grosjean had a clean track ahead of him while everybody coming behind found a track full of debris, ready to cause havoc left and right. As far as I know, that didn’t happen, the pilots were good enough to avoid any further damage, but that could have been quite different.

    I’m quite surprised that no one has noticed how coincidental everything is in this “race incident”. Grosjean’s teammate did exactly what Grosjean needed when he needed it, where he needed it. And by doing so he achieved the goal for the whole season of his rookie team (scoring points)… in round 1!

    1. Good Guy Guti, taking the hit for the team.

    2. @Alonso

      Are you serious???? God, I hope not. This is the most ridiculous post I have ever read. There are so many ridiculous propositions in this post that I do not have the time to waste addressing all of them. But the basic one is this: as “one of the best pilots in the world” with extensive experience in open wheel formulas, Gutierrez knows that braking at that speed WILL launch the following car into the air. So you are basically saying that Gut is willing to risk Alonso’s life and limb, i.e. maim or kill him, in order that his team score points in their maiden outing?

      Wow.

      1. Let me get this straight: You find ridiculous the idea that a driver is willing to risk somebody’s life in order to get an outstanding result. Did I understand that right?

        You’re aware that we’re talking about Formula 1 here, aren’t you? I guess the names Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna or Fernando Alonso don’t say much to you (let alone Nelson Piquet Jr.) Nor does the word “Crashgate”. I would encourage you to get information about these drivers and their dirty tactics. You’ll find it most interesting.

    3. You are trying to apply road driving concepts to race cars and it doesn’t work. The fact that there is a car behind Gutierrez should make no difference as to whether or not he brakes since the alternative to braking is driving straight into the gravel trap. Anyone who has done so much as a little karting is used to having someone right on their tail or conversely adjusting to having a car brake right in from of them at predictable location. This wasn’t a case of brake checking. It was a driver keeping his car on the island.

      You’re also making a lot of assumptions about the outcome of the accident. If there is no red flag, Grosjean doesn’t get nearly as much advantage. Instead he comes out of the pits around Jolyon Palmer. We also have to remember these are the guys that couldn’t time their qualifying to get Grosjean a second run in Q1 within 11 minutes 30 seconds. For them to suddenly work out the strategy to make a crashgate work would be surprising. For a driver who has been given no information about any other driver’s pitstops to come to that conclusion on his own while trying to drive at a high level is nearly impossible.

      1. “You are trying to apply road driving concepts to race cars and it doesn’t work.”
        Everything you said applies just the same to road cars.

        “the alternative to braking is driving straight into the gravel trap”
        First, that’s an assumption. Maybe he could have braked later and still keep the car on the track. Second, the gravel alternative is much, much better than having a collision at 300 km/h. Third, it’s not the only alternative. He could also have gotten out of the way.

        “You’re also making a lot of assumptions”
        What assumptions? I never said Haas knew it was going to work. Neither did Briatore in 2008. Briatore tried and it did work, but a thousand different things could have happened instead. Same here.

        “these are the guys that couldn’t time their qualifying”
        Seriously, these guys created an F1 team, which is one of the most difficult things in the world. They can do almost anything. Including, of course, creating a cheating strategy.

        “a driver who has been given no information about any other driver’s pitstops”
        We don’t know what information he was given.

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