Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Alonso apologised for calling Miami stewards ‘incompetent’

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he apologised to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem for accusing the Miami Grand Prix stewards of “incompetence”.

The Alpine driver was penalised after the Miami Grand Prix after cutting a chicane and failing to surrender the advantage he had gained. Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, he described the panel of stewards who had handed him the penalty as “not very professional.”

“We believe that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards,” Alonso said.

Alonso’s comments caught the attention of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the two were seen conversing in the Barcelona paddock on Friday. Speaking after the Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso said that he had gained a more sympathetic view of the stewards after discussing his concerns with Ben Sulayem.

“We talked during the week as well,” Alonso explained. “I’m a very good friend of Mohammed and I have a lot of trust, especially Mohammed, in how he’s handled the FIA and all the changes that he’s making and all the things that he wants to improve. I fully support what he’s doing and his ideas.

“Reflecting from Miami and from Thursday here, maybe I see it in a different way now. They did their job in Miami and, yeah, we see things differently maybe from the car and from the heat of the moment.

(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull; George Russell, Mercedes; Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Spanish Grand Prix in pictures
“So I think we all work together, to improve the show. And today, for example, the fans saw a super race and we are all here to help the show.”

Asked if he had apologised to Ben Sulayem for his comments, Alonso replied “yeah, for sure. To Mohammed especially.”

In the Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso drove through the field from the very back of the grid following an engine penalty to claim ninth place at the chequered flag – his first points since the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I’m very happy,” said Alonso of his drive. “Obviously, finishing in the points is always a target every weekend.

“For us, after the bad qualifying yesterday, the decision to change the engine overnight was like sacrificing this weekend. Knowing that, it was very difficult to get points.

“So now that we got this P9, it feels like a victory nearly and it feels good. Hopefully we can start from here maybe five, eight, 10 consecutive races in the points, which is what we need.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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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6 comments on “Alonso apologised for calling Miami stewards ‘incompetent’”

  1. Good on him! I hope he’ll be more measured in hic comments (and maybe even try to make every corner of the circuit) in the future.

    1. @proesterchen but there were points that Alonso did raise that do indeed have validity.

      Is it really appropriate that there are types of penalty that can be imposed without any means of scrutinising the way in which those penalties are imposed? Should the stewards have been able to issue the penalty without fully examining all of the timing data to make sure that their assessment was actually correct? Or, when it comes to the drivers raising formal concerns about safety issues, shouldn’t the FIA at least be prepared to listen to the arguments, rather than just refusing to engage with the drivers at all?

      None of those points have been answered, and just bashing Alonso rather than trying to answer any of the points raised just makes it look as if you’re trying to shout him down rather than having to question if the FIA really is doing things properly.

      1. Isn’t it the nature of in race penalties that there is only limited time to take them and that they cannot be overturned after the race though anon?

      2. It might help if Fernando Alonso expressed concerns about the rules and regulations governing the sport he’s been participating in for over 2 decades outside of cases of him being found to be a blatant cheater and rightfully punished for his actions.

        Cause in this case, all the hand-waving about the application of the rules was merely enacted to deflect from the fact that this know cheater cheated again, and cost himself and his team points as a result.

  2. It was a fantastic race from Alonso, I was surprised at how well Alpine got along with the tires and how he could advance over the other drivers. And all this without a Safety Car, on a track like Barcelona, from P20 to P9. Phenomenal.

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    23rd May 2022, 18:18

    Someone questioning the stewards’ competence? I can’t even imagine it :-)

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