Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Alonso blasts ‘incompetent, unprofessional’ F1 stewards over Miami penalty

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso called the Miami Grand Prix stewards incompetent and unprofessional following the penalty which cost him a points finish at the last race.

He also suggested Niels Wittich, one of F1’s two race directors, lacks sufficient knowledge and experience to oversee grands prix.

The Alpine driver collected two five-second time penalties during the Miami Grand Prix. The first was for a collision with Pierre Gasly and the second was for cutting the track and gaining an advantage while running ahead of Mick Schumacher.

Alonso cut the track at turn 15. He argued that he gave up the time advantage he gained. However by cutting the corner he also prevented Schumacher from being able to activate DRS approaching turn 17, as he had on previous laps. Alonso was investigated for cutting the same corner again later in the race, but was cleared, as on that occasion he was judged to have given up the advantage he gained.

The second time penalty dropped Alonso from ninth in the final classification to 11th, out of the points. He described the decision as “unfair”.

“We believe that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards,” said Alonso. “They were not very professional, I think, in Miami.

“I missed one corner and then I gave back the time on the lap but obviously after you miss one corner there is a sector time just after that corner so there is the pink [sector] colour.”

The stewards did not summon Alonso and Alpine to meet with them over the incident, as was the case for all other incidents which occurred during the grand prix. Alonso said his team went to see the stewards afterwards anyway.

“They took the decision without asking any proofs so we arrived after the race with other proofs and all the time back that we gave and they were just packing up. They were not even in the room.

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“We came there, we showed them all the data so they said ‘give us five minutes’ and then they found themselves with the hands tied probably because they issued already the penalty and they didn’t know how to get back from that document. So it was very bad.

“Honestly it’s already the past but it is something that should not happen in Formula 1 with professionals and the standard that Formula 1 has right now.”

F1 made sweeping changes to its officiating following the controversial conclusion to last year’s world championship, in which former race director Michael Masi failed to follow the regulations. Wittich, one of two new race directors who has been appointed, who previously worked in the DTM, oversaw the first five races of the year. World Endurance Championship race director Eduardo Freitas will run this weekend’s race.

Alonso said he does not believe the new race direction team has been an improvement over the previous one.

“We saw a couple of things already that proves that we still need to improve a lot,” he said. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director or trying to monitor a race. I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment.

“I know there is a new race director here. Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and other categories at the top level and I think that will already improve things.”

During the Miami Grand Prix weekend several drivers complained they were not listened to when they requested impacting-absorbing barriers be installed at the chicane following Carlos Sainz Jnr’s heavy crash on Friday. Alonso echoed their complaints.

“The accident that we had in Miami with Carlos and Esteban, we pushed to have some barriers there and some tyres or TecPro, no one did anything. When you don’t have that knowledge on racing it’s difficult to talk.”

However Alonso stressed he believes F1’s safety standards in general are very good.

“I think safety has been good, probably this year we have the safest cars and circuits and everything. The environment is very safe now in Formula 1.

“We just need to keep improving. We are the only ones driving the cars and feeling the crashes and things like that in our bodies. When we feel something that is needed I think we should be listened to and in Miami or somewhere for example we didn’t have that because it seems that the focus is in other places.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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24 comments on “Alonso blasts ‘incompetent, unprofessional’ F1 stewards over Miami penalty”

  1. Fernando is an incompetent, unprofessional cheater.

    1. Also, he should get a race ban for his disparaging remarks.

      1. By that logic Merc and Lewis should get an entire series ban based on their disparaging remarks after last season.

        Whether they complaints are valid or not, you don’t ban people for complaining about the steward’s decision.

    2. Incompetent?

      That seems to conflict with both the Drivers and Team Bosses ranking him 6th best driver in 2021.

      The people who actually participate in F1 seem to widely disagree with all of these “expert” fans that think he’s overrated and incompetent.

      1. Incompetent?

        I would consider taking all corners of a circuit quite the core competency for a Formula 1 driver, and Fernando Alonso failed to do that twice in just 3 laps.

        1. Okay. I guess every driver that ever makes a mistake during a race should be labeled incompetent by your standards.

          Senna ran into Prost.
          Schumacher binned it at Monaco, famously. (maybe even on purpose)
          Vettel has spun countless times.
          Hamilton cut the turn several times last season while defending from Max.
          The “Wall of champions” in Canada is named that just for fun…not because countless champions have crashed into it…

          All rubbish, incompetent drivers.

          1. Did invoking the names of a bunch of more successful drivers make Fernando Alonso miss any fewer corners two weeks ago on Sunday?

    3. I wholeheartedly agree with Alonso. With Alimso Intelligence is never in doubt. Niels and or the stewards have been a disaster.

  2. I knew what Alonso has done there the moment I saw his gap to Mick growing over 1 second on the first timeloop after the chicane. I had no access to telemetry, onboards or CCTV, just an immediate glance at Live Timing. Fernando, you cheated and rightly got caught and penalised. Don’t assume everyone who’s still following F1 is a braindead DTS-fan.

    1. You knew the intent of a driver just by “an immediately glance at Live Timing”?
      This is what Alonso is complaining about.

      If you saw his onboard, you’d see he locked up his inside tire and had no choice but to cut the chicane.
      He then raised his hand to acknowledge his mistake and lifted.

      Had he been able to plead his case he might have avoided the penalty. Of course, maybe not, but he should have a chance to show evidence.

      1. If you saw his onboard, you’d see he locked up his inside tire and had no choice but to cut the chicane.
        He then raised his hand to acknowledge his mistake and lifted.

        Nope, that was a later lap, almost the same, but the lock up was given as the reason that he did not get a time penalty for that corner cutting.

        Laps 53 and 56 if I recall correctly. Penalty for 53 and no penalty for 56

  3. With the caveat that I don’t know the context of his statement, in the sport that I participate in, public statements of this nature directed against named referee, stewards or other officials would lead to some form of disciplinary action. Rightfully, so, in my view

  4. The penalty looked fine to me, he can cry about it all he wants but the facts don’t back up that you gave back all the advantage. The barrier debate is a whole different can of worms to be opened. I think judging the new race direction team on the basis of a handful of races into the season after such a late change to the new team is also premature. The fact they’ve run the races as well as they have at this early stage with so little preparation gives me hope for the future. I would highlight that what further “proof” could Alpine provide other than the timing data which the FIA already had which clearly showed Alonso gained time and never gave it all back again. Telemetry showing he lifted on the straight is meaningless if he still gained overall on time that lap (which he did as it was his fastest lap of the race).

    1. Isn’t Alonso’s point that the stewards didn’t look at all of the timing data, instead basing it on a single point of data?

      Furthermore, it doesn’t address the other point raised, which is that there is no mechanism for the decision to be reviewed, even if the stewards were to then decide that they made the wrong decision.

      This type of penalty can be imposed without any checks or balances on the penalty procedure – a procedure that was supposed to be being reviewed by the FIA as part of the promises for greater transparency and accountability measures.

  5. I will take Alonso at his word.
    Firstly, he is correct in saying there should only be drivers as stewards. And former F1 drivers at that.
    Why in the hell was Danny Sullivan a steward?I assume just because the race was in the United States. Pathetic!
    And if Alonso went to the stewards with data, he should be listened to. He’s been around a long time and yes he is on the fringe at times but we don’t know all the facts. They could’ve at least listen to him.
    F1 is becoming a pansy ass series where hard racing is frowned upon.
    A bunch of marshmallows!

    1. For the record Sullivan did race in F1. And he’s not some random back marker from CART.

      1. True but Indy car and Formula One are quite different. He shouldn’t have been appointed just because he’s an American. BTW, a very overrated driver buy that is neither here nor there.

  6. He may need cheese with that whine.

  7. Racefans loves to report this stuff about Alonso and the readers gobble it up.
    Every driver complains about stewards/etc but we only seem to hear about Alonso.

    For Alonso it’s “Rules are rules, when you break them, you’re cheating”.
    For others (like Hamilton) it’s “Rules are rules, but Lewis should get a pass or that rule doesn’t make sense anyway.”

  8. I believe Alonso deserved the penalties and I will reserve judgement as to the stewards until we get deeper into the season to see how fairly drivers at the back are treated in comparison to drivers at the front.

  9. LOL. Pretty clear-cut case, so undisputable.

  10. He has a point that the stewards had no reply to their data argument, and he has a strong point about how they’re was no detailed reasoning given by the stewards about it.
    A criminal must be convicted with hard facts, not “I know it was him”. We all know that Fernando deserves the penalty (even he probably does deep down) but the stewards are yet to provide hard evidence and explanation for his penalty

    1. And the fia should seriously consider hiring alonso as a steward or even race director when he retires, nothing (absolutely nothing) will get by him from the drivers

    2. Fernando wouldn’t have gone to the stewards if he knew he was wrong. The stewards are incompetent. The FIA need to demand more stringent requirements for stewards – it seems politics are at play.

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