Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

Alonso slates “shocking” decision to give points for “non-race” at Spa

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso joined critics of Formula 1’s decision to award points despite no racing laps being completed at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Alpine driver also expressed his sympathy for the spectators at today’s rain-lashed race, which saw just a handful of laps run, all behind the Safety Car.

“It’s a sad feeling because I think the spectators were amazing all weekend, facing some bad weather but they were always supportive,” said Alonso. “It’s good to see the fans back after the pandemic, et cetera.

“They didn’t deserve this weather. It was no fault from anyone but we could not do any laps today.”

While Alonso said he agreed with the decision to abandon the race without having completed any racing laps, he criticised the FIA for awarding points to the drivers who finished in the top 10.

“The only thing that I don’t agree with is why they do two laps and they give the points. Because we didn’t race.

“We didn’t have the chance to score points, many people. I’m P11, I didn’t have any green light lap to score a point and we didn’t score so that’s shocking. But it’s their decision.

“[There] was no way we could race today as we showed. It was only red flag situation or behind Safety Car situation, as we did. So how you can give points to a non-race?”

Alonso suspects the late, two-lap restart at the end of the race was only done in order to complete sufficient laps for points to be awarded.

“They did the three laps just to give the points because the conditions were the same as before. So it was a strange show for sure.”

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70 comments on “Alonso slates “shocking” decision to give points for “non-race” at Spa”

  1. His words to the Spanish speaking media were a lot stronger

    1. what did he say? Is there a link? He’s usually quite a bit more candid with the Spanish media. For good reason too. We all know how the British press has treated him over the years

    2. Me and my friends just thought what if other sports were governed similarly in this kind of „No-play” conditions? Some examples:
      The winner of a 100-metre dash is the one who takes off and then takes on his shoes faster than others.
      The winner of a bicycle tour is the one who rings his bicycle bell louder than others.
      The winner of a football game is the team with a higher combined salary for their players.

    3. Tell me he wants Masi dismissed.

    4. If only he’d qualified higher than near last he’d have benefitted like those in the points

      Reply moderated
      1. It’s the second consecutive race where Alonso’s team-mate grabs more points than him due to a fortuitous turn of events.

  2. Hard to disagree! Perhaps a rethink of the regulations is required. Pro-rata points until you get to 80% distance or something.

    1. I thought you needed half race distance to count as a race but that’s obviously outdated or does that apply to full points? 2 laps is a joke.

      Let’s be very clear, this was not a race. Its insulting to everyone involved to pretend that it was. So much manipulation to call it a race to avoid financial repercussions. Absolutely disgusting behaviour by FIA and F1.

  3. This is a clear cheating from FIA.
    No race laps = no race = no race points.
    FIA gave 3, 2 and 1 point for Sprint race top 3.
    And here, they give 12,5 points; 9 points and 7,5 points for top 3 in the Qualifying! Where is the logic?! It’s a disgrace, not a race!

    1. Sam (@undercut677)
      30th August 2021, 0:30

      @bulgarian Same principle, if the grand prix at Silverstone would have been rained out, then the Sprint Race results would have gotten the same additional points as today. It didn’t, therefore that didn’t apply.

      All of this is a good argument for sprint races.

      1. I’m ok with Sprint races, but the points system is still a catastrophy! Firstly, FIA must clear that mess and only then they should offer Sprint races. They started with “God knows what” and now the 2021 Championship results are already controversial!

        1. Sam (@undercut677)
          30th August 2021, 0:53

          The championship in a close fight will always be controversial. Merc took the lead by crashing out their competition without much penalty for them. There are more pressing problems to solve to make the rules more fair than a one in a decade freak weather event.

          1. Haven’t you heard of 3 Sprint races this season?! 3 Sprint races and 1 Farce race = 4 controversial results in a single season!

          2. Sam (@undercut677)
            30th August 2021, 2:16

            Having a sprint race does not make a weekend controversial. This is a figment of people’s imagination. There was nothing about the sprint in silverstone that made that weekend controversial. In the contrary, Max getting at least some points in the sprint made the weekend less controversial.

          3. Agree, if there’s a farce it’d be hamilton’s penalty at silverstone, I know there was a precedent with raikkonen in silverstone 2018 about a 10 sec penalty if you spin your opponent, but imo consequences should be taken into account and hence what hamilton did deserved more (maybe a stop and go, he would still gain points for taking out the opponent, which means the penalty would still be lenient) than raikkonen back in 2018.

    2. I don’t think it’s an issue with the rules or points system as you and others are saying. It’s, in my opinion, an issue with how liberally they are considering what is a race lap. They were saying earlier, none of the formation laps counted as race laps so it shouldn’t count towards the 2 laps to get 1/2 points. It’s just for financial reasons, they changed those laps from “formation laps” to “laps under the safety car”. If they actually raced 2 laps (which I don’t think they should’ve) then it would’ve been fine to give half points or quarter points or some points (not full ones) in my opinion. They just need to point out, 2 laps under safety car is not 2 actual racing laps, and that’s where the issue is in my opinion.

      Reply moderated
    3. [Sporting Regulation] 36.13 Should Article 36.11 apply, the race will nevertheless count for the Championship no matter how often the procedure is repeated, or how much the race is shortened as a result.

      I suspect “Article 36.11” should read “Article 36.12”.

      1. Actually, it seems to me whether or not points are handed out at the end of a race depends not on the number of laps, but on whether any unauthorised person who was loitering around the pitwall. Yes, I know that sounds bizzare, but that is exactly what the current Sporting Regulations appear to say.
        The Sporting Regulations I was looking at were what was released on 16th December, 2020, which were current at the time I started writing this, on the FIA website. Rule 36.13 says “Should Article 36.11 apply, the race will nevertheless count for the Championship no matter …how much the race is shortened…”. As I said in my comment above, I think the reference in 36.13 should refer to Article 36.12, but it doesn’t refer to that article, it refers to Article 36.11. So, assuming Article 36.11 does apply, and that is what the rule says, then, even though only two laps of the race were run uncompetitively behind the Safety Car, the result of that “race” would give the first 10 cars across the Finish Line points and the following cars no points.
        So what does Article 36.11 say? It says “Unless specifically authorised by the [Deletion] Safety Delegate, during the start of a race the pit wall must be kept free of all persons with the exception of the team personnel permitted under Article 22.13, officials and fire marshals.”
        So, the question is, were there any unauthorised persons at the pitwall? My guess is there weren’t any unauthorised personnel around the pitwall at the start of the race, so the race results stand. Now if it happened to be an unauthorised person was there, e.g. a spectator, then the race result won’t stand.
        The next question is, assuming the start was legitimate because there weren’t any unauthorised persons at the pitwall, should full points be handed out or only half points? It looks to me as though full points have to be handed out because the rule specifically says “no matter how much the race is shortened”. It doesn’t say “if less than half the laps were run then half points can be handed out”, no, it specifically states that no matter how much it is shortened (i.e. half the race distance or less makes no difference) the result has to be the same, so full points have to be handed out.

    4. @bulgarian

      FIA gave 3, 2 and 1 point for Sprint race top 3.

      It wasn’t a race. It was qualifying. They gave points for qualification run. Not unlike here.

  4. If they handed points out at Indianapolis in 2005 can anyone really be surprised they’re handing them out here? And before someone brings it up, I’d argue 6 car “race” doesn’t qualify as a race either given there were only 2 cars that really had race pace that day. Where’s the precedent for not awarding points?

    I think the only fans that have a right to any kind of complaint are the ones who attended the race, they definitely deserve their money back.

    1. Iny 2005? Most cars came into pits there, but 6 cars are 6 time more than a single Lewis Hamilton at the Race re-start in 2021 Hungarian GP.

      1. Not sure I follow.

        The rest of the grid followed Lewis out of the pit lane and we had a full grid, full race that weekend.

        It was an unprecedented re-start to be sure, even a little funny, but I don’t see how it applies here.

        1. Bernie, Max and other high profile staff of F1 didn’t expect that most teams withdrew from Indy at the very last moment.

          1. @bulgarian we know that Ecclestone had been informed that the teams would withdraw before they took to the grid, since he was in a meeting with the team bosses where they told him they would have to withdraw.

    2. Sam (@undercut677)
      30th August 2021, 0:54

      Well said Joe

    3. You are confusing cause and effect. In 2005, all but 6 cars declined to participate in the race but it was still a rave. 2 years ago, 1 or 2 rounds of the Indy Lights series had 6 entries. A few years before that, the Star Mazda series had 6 entrants in a season and A1GP before that those were all points paying, full lenth races.

      At Spa, no one was allowed to race. They did one or 2 laps behind the safety car and were told to come in and pack up.

    4. Tarquin Chufflebottom Esq.
      30th August 2021, 7:10

      At least in 2005 there was competitive racing (remember the pit lane?).

      This was just an insult to all fans, and it is indefensible.

      And yes, they should be refunding all or part of all race day tickets.

  5. I have mixed feelings. There were no race… No race at all! No reason for points. On the other hand, the pilots qualifyed. Max deserve points for his lap. Russell even more. Their Saturday mustn’t be wasted. The great job form pilots and teams. But for sure all spectators should be refunded.

    1. Then does Leclerc deserve points for his Monaco qualifying?
      Slippery Slope.

    2. There is NO points awarded for qualifying never has been. There has been many great qualifying poles where the driver has gone on to loose in the race, that just racing….no points awarded. The points should be removed and the race voided!

  6. Sam (@undercut677)
    30th August 2021, 0:58

    Alonso could have shown what he can do in yesterday’s qualy but he didn’t. He had the same opportunity to do so in a much better car than Russell. These points were earned in yesterday’s brutal qualy and were not distributes randomly. Everyone whined about minimizing qualy importance when arguing against sprint races but now they whine that it was too important here.

    Some pwople will always find a reason to whine.

    1. Yeah, Fernando did that, and “some people” also must include Lewis. It probably would include Max had he not finished first as well.

      Reply moderated
    2. Then why waste all that money and time to go racing when we could just decide the championship from qualifying.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        30th August 2021, 15:24

        when we could just decide the championship

        Let’s hope the championships aren’t affected by this race (5 points for Red Bull) because then those points are going to be a huge point of contention. It’s going to be very hard for anyone to argue against the fact that the race director didn’t decide the outcome of the championship.

        It’s also possible that we get the dreaded make-up call which is even worse as 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

        The only people who would be happy about it are the Drive To Survive producers :-)

  7. How does the fact that this race happened affect Perez. Is there a penalty next race for fixing the car and “racing” today vs nod they didn’t fix the car until next week?

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      30th August 2021, 2:48

      It would’ve happened during the week so I don’t think so.

    2. Redbull missed an opportunity to fit a brand new engine in Perez’s car.

      1. Started to write ‘they can fit a new engine anytime they want’ then got it. Pretty funny. Maybe they should have.

        Reply moderated
    3. @jimfromus
      No, Perez would be totally in the clear. His solo accident/mishap during warm up lap and starting in the pits would only apply to this race, it’s not really a penalty by stewards. This has been talked about a couple of times from previous rain red flag races situations last year.

      But

      The real question how would Bottas, Stroll, Lando and other serious penalties be applied? The ones who went over their component limit and given grid penalties. Should they have been given a freebie/canceled if the race was canceled?

      1. @redpill
        I completely agree. And love your screen name.

  8. The points awarded isn’t the only “shocking” revelation after today.
    In a high technology sport the weather prediction is still likely from the previous century. Perhaps a cat or dog that eats a grass before the rain?
    Adding 5 minutes of wait for at least 5 times? Seriously?!

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      30th August 2021, 2:50

      Nascar does it all the time. I’ve been to so many races that were going to be rained out but they kept stringing fans along to make concession and ad money. Make fun of nascar all you want but I’m sure they have access to radars too lol

    2. When I lived in Northern Europe it could be sunny when I got up, pouring when I got in the shower, sunny again when I got out, and then chucking down when I went out the door. And I was not in some forest valley with a notorious “micro climate.”

  9. schumi_alonso
    30th August 2021, 2:23

    most of the folks who need the points and finished in the points have kept quiet about this issue. those who need the points but finished outside are saying that no points should be awarded

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      30th August 2021, 3:12

      I think what they did was a good compromise because it left everyone unhappy. It would’ve been weird to have zero points for all of the time put in over the weekend but what happened also feels unfair

      1. Personally after what happened and being one who doesn’t really like mercedes, I would’ve preferred if verstappen could’ve got full points and maybe hamilton made some mistake (unlikely though since he’s also good in the rain), not to mention it could’ve been a very interesting race in these conditions, but giving half points is a compromise to make qualifying meaningful without giving too much for a couple of “laps”.

    2. Tarquin Chufflebottom Esq.
      30th August 2021, 7:11

      Verstappen took it even further – he called the fans “the winners”.

      What a muppet.

      “Of course it’s a win but it’s not how you want to win. I think today big credit goes to all the fans around the track, to stay here the whole day in the rain, in the cold, windy conditions, so I think they are actually the bigger winners today.”

      1. Maybe, just maybe (but very obviously), he used the word ‘winner’ meaning ‘biggest achievement’ / ‘best performance’.

        So I guess the real Muppet is the one writing the comment.

  10. It’s hard to call what happened at Spa at race. Alonso is right. This was pure gamesmanship by the FIA and F1 to try to say they had a race so the financials weren’t impacted.

    I can’t recall but was there ever a green flag or we’re all three laps run under yellows because of the safety car? I think unless there are green flag laps, they can’t call it a race and shouldn’t award points.

    1. No, there was not a single green flag. This was not a race.
      It should be viewed as an extended formation lap behind the Safety car.
      One cannot call a race something that is a couple of formation laps “decorated” with a couple of Red Flag laps.

      1. I think the technicality is that they had a pitlane start – not unheard of (see Hungary for everyone except Hamilton). There was definitely a green light at the end of the pitlane, when they started.

        I wish they had some provision to be able to postpone the race to Monday – but who knows what that meant in terms of marshalling, local support staff, etc.? As we have seen from the experiment at Imola last year, they could’ve shortened the Zandvoort weekend to just Saturday and Sunday.

        1. @macaque Masi and Domenicali ruled out Monday but bringing forward a race should be doable. Either earlier on Sunday or Saturday, depending on a given weather forecast.

  11. So what do the people that bashed Hamilton for saying the same things on the grounds that he was being selfish have to say now?

    1. I don’t even think hamilton can complain about this outcome, he only lost 5 points, unless he was sure about winning, it could’ve been worse for him, think he, like verstappen, just wanted to have a race and some battles.

    2. They’ll conveniently forget he said anything of the kind or that the criticized him for it.

    3. Those who bash Hamilton for simply being selfish are missing the mark. He’s not the only whiner of the grid, not even that. But he seems to be the only one who whines even after winning or being favoured, because enough is never enough for him. And he’s the only sir in Formula 1 as well, exclusive distinctions for him to feel entitled of it all, hence his “still I whine” moniker.

      Reply moderated
  12. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    30th August 2021, 5:28

    A few changes which the sporting regulations could do with going ahead…

    1- Clarify the formation and racing laps. There was a ton of confusion yesterday regarding this. IMO, the race never started because they said ‘start procedure suspended’, then they started the clock. Later on Perez was allowed to rejoin because because they never started it in the first place.
    Any laps done without at least one standing or rolling start should not be counted as race laps, merely formation laps, though the lap count may be reduced as needed. All the laps done yesterday would fall under the category of formation laps by this definition.

    2- Change the half points criteria. While I have no qualms about awarding points after 2 laps, they should be 2 laps of racing under green flag conditions. A change to 10-75% of race distance would be better, because it gives the half points some worth.
    For races which are concluded within 10% race distance under racing conditions, give a point each to the top 10 (or 5 points for P1, followed by half point decrements till 0.5 for P10). This rewards drivers who did well in qualifying, while not significantly changing the gap in either championship.

    3- Events (won’t even call it a race) like yesterday’s where running under green flag was not possible, call it a null event and award 0 points.

    4- The time-limit rule. 3 hours is way too short in adverse weather conditions. Then having a rule to stop said clock is simply absurd. Either increase the time limit to 4-6 hours, or define it on the basis of sunset time, which would change on a race-by-race basis. I am sure F1 can develop a sophisticated Lux meter for their use.

    4- Tone down the podium ceremony in such situations. Having a full blown ceremony was, frankly, an insult to the crowd and those who spent half the evening staring at their screens.

    5- As for having a reserve day, I don’t think it is possible with an expanding calendar and a tight schedule.

    1. @asleepatthewheel
      1- I agree
      2- Also
      3- Again
      4- 4h was the previous limit, so merely reverting to that would be enough
      5- Yes, probably, although earlier on Sunday or Saturday should be doable, depending on a given forecast

  13. Screw this, I’m watching football.

  14. Predictions for sunday at Zandvoort are 27 degrees and sunny. Hope we can get a good race there so we can forget about this awful weekend.

    1. Tarquin Chufflebottom Esq.
      30th August 2021, 7:13

      Don’t tempt fate!

  15. I have been saying for years that the fundamental problem for Formula One – the sport – is that it is saddled with $9.0 billion of invested capital on which it must earn the cost of capital, and it’s capital for intangible assets that have no benefit for the sport whatsoever.
    Yesterday at Spa was simply another consequence.
    Q.E.D.

    1. The race was organised by Spa and officiated by FIA.
      FOM/Liberty were not involved as they awarded the organising rights a long time ago. I seriously doubt they would offer a refund to the race organisers if the weather gods made a race impossible.

      1. About financing refunds – for any of the bodies involved, save perhaps liberty, the financial hit would be too much.

        The world already has a tried and proven solution for this – insurance.

  16. I also agree with him.

  17. First, they should schedule the race after Hungary when the chance of bad weather is less likely.
    Taking the whole month of August is foolish!
    The race should be run the following day if it happens again. Ridiculous!

    Reply moderated
  18. @ajpennypacker he said it was a “marketing plot”

    “I prefer not to say anything, bite my tongue … I’m eleven, just one position away from the points, we are playing a lot in the constructors’ championship. We are playing bonuses, we are playing many things. Many have had Christmases anticipated because, today, without being able to run, that they give you the points, it is a shock “, began Alonso.

    “We have nothing to say. What interests us most is security and that we are heard on security issues. And then sports, or points, or marketing or whatever we have done … because these three laps, I suppose it was more of a marketing operation to say that you could not shoot, give the points and everyone was happy. Because without these three laps the points could not be given, it seems to me. They stopped the clock, then they restarted it, then stop it again … the truth is that it tastes bad. It has been a half absurd day, “continued the Asturian.

    Of course, like the rest of the pilots, Alonso agreed that “the conditions were not appropriate for racing in terms of visibility. It was the right thing to do not contest the race. I feel bad for the people … When they focused on a stand it broke my heart. There was an older couple, at the time of the first red flag, about 65-70 years old. The woman was looking at the phone. I was thinking about them and it tastes really bad to me. “

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