Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Alonso unhappy rivals will “pay no price” for crashing in qualifying

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso has called for talks on how to improve Formula 1’s qualifying rules after the contest for pole position was decided by a crash for the second weekend in a row.

The Alpine driver was one of the eight drivers in Q3 who had to abort their final laps after two of their rivals crashed at the end of the session. Two weeks earlier in Monaco Charles Leclerc took pole position after crashing on his final lap in qualifying.

Alonso said it is not fair that drivers who crash in qualifying are able to take their starting positions with no disadvantage.

“This is the rule that we all know,” he said. “I know there were some discussions already after Monaco when Leclerc crashed and you are able to repair the car. I think they’re going to be even more now because there are four or five cars that made a mistake today and there is no price to pay tomorrow.

“That’s a little bit unfair for the other people that didn’t make a mistake. But the rule is the way it is. We know the rule before we start the weekend. And sometimes we may [end up] in the wall and we will benefit from this rule.”

Leclerc’s crash in Monaco prompted suggestions Formula 1 should adopt IndyCar’s rule which penalises drivers for causing red or yellow flag incidents in qualifying. Alonso wants F1 to consider some kind of improvement to the qualifying procedure.

“It is the way it is but maybe we need to think how to improve,” he said. “I think we didn’t enjoy qualifying today from inside the cars and probably even from the outside because you are always hoping to see the real battle on the last couple of new sets of tyres in Q3 when the gloves are off and you want to see the action and you always finish with a strange [end]. So there will be, for sure, some talks.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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37 comments on “Alonso unhappy rivals will “pay no price” for crashing in qualifying”

  1. There’s even rewards if you crash before another driver does, aka Stroll & Giovinazzi… madness.

    After all the talks post-Monaco, F1 has to work cleverly on this rule matter if it doesn’t want to shoot itself in the foot with no fun but disruptions.

    The session wasn’t worth of self-declared pinacle of motorsport.

  2. Once again Alonso is trying to benefit from someone else’s crashes. :-)

    1. @rpneto – Comment of the Day – easily!

    2. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
      5th June 2021, 17:50

      @rpneto hahahaha brilliant!

  3. Today we even had the immortal ‘Crofty’ suggesting Leclerc should accidentally-on-purpose do a Rosberg on his second run, go off and cause a yellow flag. It took a former driver to remind him, you know, there’s such a thing as sports ethics and honour still [expletives self-deleted]

    Maybe Baku Turn 3 should be renamed the Wall of Wannabee Champions.

    1. @david-br I think you might be taking it a bit far. I’m no big fan of Crofty but he did say before hand “I know I shouldn’t” and was clearly talking in a jokey manner.

      With regards to naming Turn 3, that is a potentially good name. The other one I thought of was naming T15 the ‘Philharmonic Wall’ after the Baku Philharmonic Hall on the inside of that corner.

      1. @randommallard Maybe, it just seemed one of those jokes that continues a bit too longer than comfortable… Anyhow it seems to be going through everyone’s mind that drivers might be tempted to get an advantage this way, maybe because the grid is so close? I like the ‘Philharmonic Wall’ much better than my idea, actually :O)

        1. @david-br Regardless of Crofty’s questionable jokes, I think it was clear that none of the 5 crashes today were deliberate. The only one where you can maybe suggest it is Sainz’s, but Tsunoda was already deep enough into a wall that there was gonna be a red flag anyway and the incident does seem like an honest mistake while trying to avoid Tsunoda.

          1. Totally agree that none were on purpose @randommallard but I think Alonso’s more general point may be (?) that deliberate or not these kinds of incidents can benefit a driver unfairly (back to Leclerc or Rosberg in Monaco). Or from another angle, they make qualifying less exciting than it could be with rivals actually able to post final run lap times.

          2. @david-br OK, so now he suddenly DOESN’T want to be able to benefit unfairly from crashes? Oh the irony!

        2. @david-br with respect, most of Crofty’s jokes last long enough to get uncomfortable. He tends to drag them out, knowing he shouldn’t, then when it falls flat or he gets a quip from someone else he tries to defend it before moving on.

    2. Yeah, not real cool, but tell me everyone wasn’t thinking it anyways…

    3. @david-br You’re pretend you’re upset with an unsporting attitude from the Sky commentator, and then it’s really just a cover to come out with your unsporting smear of your hero’s rival from years ago (yet again).

  4. Jonathan Parkin
    5th June 2021, 17:26

    There was a YT comment in the official posting of the qualifying highlights that maybe this is a symptom of the reduced practice time. Also let’s not forget we didn’t come to this circuit last year

    1. A good point. The amount of running these drivers get to simply understand their machinery and the tracks is really quite pitiful. It’s like sending out Nadal and Federer but they’ve been barred from setting foot on a court besides a five minute warm up. We all get it as a way to reduce costs and perhaps even an environmental angle too, but it’s just ridiculous that an F1 driver is basically learning on the job with these complex machines at such critical limits.

  5. Edsel Ramírez
    5th June 2021, 17:46

    If the session only has a fee seconds left after a red flag, why not add 3 to 5 minutes to the clock after a red flag. It’ll give a chance to those who were working on a flyer and won’t will not get ruined by a crash. Seems fair to me…

    Reply moderated
  6. Tommy Scragend
    5th June 2021, 17:47

    Is Alonso also unhappy that the crash which brought an early end to Q2 prevented him from being knocked out?

    Swings and roundabouts.

    1. Tommy Scragend Someone else made the point about Alonso being annoyed about people gaining from other people crashing. You can almost smell the hypocrisy in that (although whether he actually knew about Crash-gate is another matter)

    2. No he was also on a quicker lap and lost the chance to improve
      In the last few years we are having more crashes due to less talent on the grid
      This is what Alonso is inferring to

      Reply moderated
  7. I really don’t see how the four drivers who crashed today gained an advantage. But one man who benefited today was our very own Fernando Alonso…

    I agree though that it was annoying to see the best parts of qualifying cut short. But what do you expect when you build crazy tracks like Baku…

    1. The article didn’t quote him saying that the drivers gained an advantage but this,
      “Alonso said it is not fair that drivers who crash in qualifying are able to take their starting positions with no disadvantage.”
      There is a difference between what you have understood and what was actually said.

      1. Good point. He didn’t say so indeed. But still the drivers who crashed did have the disadvantage of not beeing able to continue in qualy and made it easier for others to progress to the next session. That seems enough of a penalty to me.

        1. It didn’t make it easier for others to progress, that’s the point. Vettel’s and Ocon’s chances were gone in Q2 when Ricciardo crashed. Alonso was on a new set of softs in his Q3 second run when Tsunoda crashed. Verstappen would have attempted for pole and Sainz might have improved his position too. So many losers here because of the mistakes from other drivers.

    2. Everyone will play it safe tomorrow and let Baku end like 2016 and 2019…or will it be 2017 and 2018 again?

      1. Let’s hope for 17 and 18 with lots of randomness and this time both Mercs in the wall.

      2. Here’s hoping for a 2017 or a 2018!

    3. @roadrunner Alonso didn’t necessarily benefit from the red flags today. It’s true the Q2 flag guaranteed his place in Q3, though he might have made it through anyway. But in Q3 he also did his first run on a used set of softs and had a new set for his second run. So he was likely to improve his time, and maybe gain a place or two on the grid.

      But in any case, I think this issue goes beyond how it affects individual drivers in specific sessions and is something that at the very least is worth a few discussions, even if they eventually decide there is no solution that wouldn’t have adverse effects and opt not to tamper with the current rules.

  8. Pointless complaining.

  9. Come on, Alonso!! It is funny to hear this from you, of all people, because hen your teammate crashed on purpose so you could win a race you didn’t say a word….

    As @jerejj said, Pointless complaining.

  10. The man’s got a point. Just looking from a show and spectators perspective we are deprived of the ultimate Q3 battle between the greats. The only time when cars really go fast and are not nursing stints and tyres. It should be respected since the sport is about the fastest cars.

  11. Ignoring a blue flag, or holding someone up in qualifiyng: penalty

    Destroying others qualifying because you screwed up: nothing

    It should be an immediate trip to the back of the session your screwed up. You weren’t able to complete it.

  12. As usual, Fernando is right. What they should do is mandate that qualifying cannot end under a red flag and any crash in qualifying is a minimum five place grade penalty.

    If a crash happens two minutes should be put back on the clock giving everyone a chance to get pole.

    1. Dani Popescu
      6th June 2021, 6:01

      But track conditions change. From the start of the qualifying session till the start of Q3 temperatures dropped by 4°C. Sometimes, 15 or 20 minutes later (get two cars off the track, repair the barriers, out lap) is too late and you can no longer set a best time.

  13. Totally agree with such a rule. Even for yellow flag.

  14. Now it’s time to say that it won’t be easy with Fernando. We’ll see how it goes on the “Karma Day” (July 14th).

  15. The weirdest thing is that Bottas didn’t get reprimanded for driving unnecessarily slow on his outlap…

    I thought we were done with that childish behavior.
    Which is what Max was actually commenting on.

    Reply moderated

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