Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Istanbul Park, 2021

Alonso avoids penalty for yellow flag incident in Q1

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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The Turkish Grand Prix stewards have decided not to penalise Fernando Alonso after an investigation into whether the Alpine driver failed to respect double waved yellow flags during qualifying.

Alonso passed the yellow flags at the beginning of his first lap in Q1, after Max Verstappen spun ahead of him. He went on to complete his lap time, which is contrary to the race directors’ instructions.

However, the stewards ruled that as his subsequent lap was three-and-a-half seconds faster, Alonso had backed off sufficiently in response to the warning.

“It was evident that the driver fulfilled the requirement of reducing speed significantly after the double yellow flags were displayed and therefore complied with the provisions set out in Art. 2.5.5.b) of the FIA International Sporting Code,” they noted.

“Nonetheless, Note 7.1 of the race director’s event notes require drivers not to set a meaningful lap time in a double yellow flag situation.”

“Taking into account the fact that the yellow flag situation occurred at the time the driver started his first timed lap of the session and noting that the driver was fully convinced that he did not set a meaningful lap time as his next flying lap was approximately 3.5 seconds faster than the one when the yellow flag situation occurred, the stewards are satisfied that the driver complied with the relevant regulations and take no further action.”

At the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year, Sebastian Vettel was given a five-second time penalty and three penalty points on his licence after the stewards ruled he had failed to respect double waved yellow flags. However, in this instance he was deemed to have ‘continued trying to set a meaningful lap time’.

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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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15 comments on “Alonso avoids penalty for yellow flag incident in Q1”

  1. Typical Spanish driver bias!

    In all honesty though, in conditions that are changing so rapidly and on the first flying lap it is very hard to tell from the outside what would be a ‘representative lap’. So I assume from seeing the data the stewards are convinced Alonso was not pushing on that lap. Good news for his race obviously. Would have been a shame to get a penalty after a strong qualifying performance.

    1. @keithedin

      Would have been a shame to get a penalty after a strong qualifying performance.

      Yeah, he’s finally starting to come somewhere very close to Gasly and Russell amongst the one-lap wonders who put their car where it didn’t belong in qualifying. Alonso has been doing superb racing performances for a while since his comeback, now this very high level is coming to quali as well. As for Ocon, he had been looking like Massa vs. Alonso in the last few races before Russia. But now he’s dangerously becoming anonymous further back in a way that resembles Vandoorne in 2018. I wonder what’s happening with his car now.

  2. Not convinced yet of Alonso’s claims that the stewards favoured British drivers in a certain way, but I understand his reasons to suspect that.

  3. Seeing as Vettel got 5 place grid drop and penalty points for not abandoning his lap in similar T1 double waved yellow in Bahrain – and even without actually getting the flags -, and Alonso got nothing without abandoning his, at least we know the stewards like Spaniards much better than Germans, but then we probably knew that already.

    1. @balue
      To be fair, he was mainly referring to the media in his latest statement. The British medias are usually lenient with the British drivers and have made a living in the last decade by grilling Hamilton’s rivals in press conferences (Alonso, Vettel, Rosberg, Verstappen).

    2. @balue Alonso did slow down though, as they said in the article above.

      1. abandoning lap @mashiat

        1. His engineer even says on the radio how his first sector was ‘decent’.

        2. @balue He has plausible deniability even if he didn’t abandon the lap, as he was 3.5 seconds slower on that lap than the following lap. Conditions weren’t great, but the transition was certainly not 3.5 seconds. That’s why the stewards ruled that he was not going full speed on the initial lap.

          1. @mashiat The sector and lap must be compared to others at the time as the track was ramping up a lot, which the stewards full well knew, but pretended not to as an excuse not to punish him following his critizism that they only let Brits off.

            I thought the stewards would come down hard on him following his criticism, but this proves it’s the opposite.

  4. I think he is hinting that Hamilton has had several gifts over the last few years.
    I also think he complained because he thinks Versteppen may get shafted if a questionable situation arises and wants the spotlight on the stewards to not be biased.
    I think the stewards may have let him know today they are watching him closely and will not hesitate to discipline him if he crosses the line.
    He’s got a target on him now:)

  5. Well, I guess there are different rules for different people after all.

    1. Ahah, that’s a good one after his comments.

    2. @spafrancorchamps

      Well, I guess there are different rules for different people after all.

      Not quite, Alonso sufficiently slowed down to the double yellow flags. And he only set a time because it was his first lap attempt.

  6. Seems like common sense. He was probably still going reasonably quick for the rest of the lap for tyre prep reasons (one would think).

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