Alpine disagree with Alonso’s penalty for weaving on the final lap

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Alpine team management defended Fernando Alonso after he was penalised for weaving on the final lap of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Alonso was penalised, as Lance Stroll was in Australia, for the defensive moves he performed while trying to keep Valtteri Bottas behind. Bottas drew close to the Alpine on the final lap as Alonso had a snap of oversteer at the exit of turn nine.

Approaching the turn 10 hairpin, Alonso defended the inside line, but Bottas emerged from the corner poised to overtake in the DRS zone. It was at this point Alonso began the moves the stewards considered unacceptable.

Alonso pulled off-line to the left, then to the right again as he opened his DRS. He swerved back to the left again, then right once more and then back onto the racing line, at which point Bottas backed off slightly. As they approached the final chicane Alonso changed lines again to cover the inside.

The stewards ruled Alonso violated the International Sporting Code regulation which states “more than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted.” They called Alonso’s driving a “clear breach” of the rules, but Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer disagreed. “Was it deserved? No,” he commented after the race.

It is the second time this year Alonso has lost points due to a post-race penalty. His five-second time penalty yesterday dropped him from seventh to ninth; in Miami the same cost him a points finish. On that occasion Alpine complained they had not been able to make representations to the stewards about their driver’s penalty.

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Szafnauer said he was “not frustrated” with Alonso’s latest sanction “but it’s always good not to get those penalties and finish high, for sure.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix in pictures
It capped a disappointing race for Alonso who was classified ninth after starting on the front row. He lost time during the race due to a power unit problem.

“We don’t know what it is yet, it looks like it was an air leak somewhere, but from where I don’t know,” said Szafnauer. “That manifested itself in some higher temperatures and then you had to manage, so we were limited down the straight.”

Alpine did not approve Alonso’s request to be put ahead of his team mate in the final stint. However Ocon did lend a helping hand by backing off enough that Alonso could benefit from DRS.

Szafnauer saw no point in swapping the running order of their drivers. “We were [sixth and seventh], right, so what do you want to do, allow them to race or swap them to be [sixth and seventh] again?” he said.

“I’m all in favour of allowing them to race, but you’ve got to remember Fernando had a powertrain issue that, he had a leak that caused him to not have the straight-line speed. Esteban graciously waited for him, so he could have a DRS train, which was the right thing to protect him from Bottas.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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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...
Will Wood
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25 comments on “Alpine disagree with Alonso’s penalty for weaving on the final lap”

  1. W (@vishnusxdx)
    20th June 2022, 13:25

    Alpine can disagree. We all saw the onboard on Bottas. It was as obvious as it can get.

    1. Yeah, I just watched Bottas’ onboard and it doesn’t get any clearer than that. You’re allowed to leave the racing line to defend and return once. Alonso did it three or four times.

      Alonso lost the rear a bit out of turn 9, which opened the opportunity for Bottas, so he has only himself to blame.

    2. Pretty much yeah, it was really quite clear to see @vishnusxdx. And we all know the penalty for it, and it has even been applied already this year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the team.

    3. @vishnusxdx

      +1

      It’s not even debatable when watching the replays. It was a bad decision on drivers part.

      Suck it up, take your knocks, lick your wounds and move forward.

    4. I love Alonso, but this was clearly a case of a driver frustrated by bad luck (he would have finished far ahead of Charles and Ocon if not for the safety car) and another fading power unit not wanting to lose a place on the final lap after all that defending.

    1. @sjaakfoo :)
      You can imagine the scene, Alpine offices after the race, PR assistant typing out an official Alpine twitter statement: “Fair cop, Fernando trying his luck as usual.” A cough from behind, PR sees Alonso’s reflection in the computer screen, some hasty backspacing: “Alpine is disappointed…”

  2. I think there should be a difference between weaving to break the tow and weaving to prevent an overtake. It sounds similar, but the first one is when there clearly is room between the two cars and the second one is when the overtaking party is already drawing alongside.

    Alonso was clearly doing the first weaving, but also a bit of the second one so I can understand the decision to penalize him.

    Come to think of it, there already must be an actual difference in the rulebook, since people got away with weaving to break the tow in the past (most notably Verstappen in Abu Dhabi on the last lap after the overtake on Hamilton).

    1. Using ‘Max did it and didn’t get penalised’ is pretty shaky ground to be starting a line of reasoning from, I’d say.

      Decisions seem more consistent this year, on the whole. And I think this one was entirely correct. ALO should know better!

    2. I think you are right there is a difference between braking a tow on the straight and weaving for defense. So it’s not always a clear penalty. Judging it from a onboard is always difficult because the driver behind in this case Bottas is also moving and makes it hard to judge.

  3. Racing is banned. Can’t wait to see race direction not penalizing the top runners.

    1. @peartree I feel you’re maybe being a bit… facetious :)

      Seriously though. Proper racing isn’t banned, unfair racing isn’t. You can defend but when it gets to the point that your competitor literally has to lift off the gas because you are weaving left to right and back again and it’s going to come to a collision… that’s not proper racing anymore.

      1. @mattds That used to be considered racing though. It been deemed ‘unfair’ or whatever is something born from the modern fans who would have all had heart attacks if they had been watching in the 70s/80s/90s when you used to see weaving, blocking, squeezing & defending far more aggressive than what Alonso did yesterday.

        I often wonder how many penalties Villeneuve & Arnoux would have got in the modern era & how much modern fans would have called that ridiculous if it happened today as more than once they squeezed the other off track, Overtook with all 4 wheels outside the white line & bumped into each other.

        I mean the younger more modern fans used to defend that ridiculous Indycar no defending rule that meant drivers weren’t allowed to move to the inside to defend. Got some absurd penalties as a result of that absurd anti-racing rule.

        1. Such weaving was never considered fair racing.

        2. @roger-ayles Yeah, about that. I’ve kind of had it with self proclaimed veteran fans who seem to think the amount of years having followed F1 is directly linked to knowledge on F1 or to the validity of the arguments being presented.

          It’s not. It’s not in any way, shape or form. I have been following F1 religiously since the mid eighties, so by now I have actively lived through slightly over half of F1’s history. I’m also pretty familiar with the decades that came before it.
          And you know what? I have never ever, not a single time, used that to try and give credibility to an opinion I’m holding. Because it simply doesn’t add to constructive debate.

          It seems to become more and more of a thing to do this and it’s obnoxious. Veteran fans shouldn’t alienate new fans. They should embrace and be constructive. The bigger the fan base, the more the sport stands to gain.

          On-topic: nope, weaving continuously in order to cut off competitors was never deemed fair. That is not a thing.

    2. Not “racing is banned”, but forcing another driver to lift off to avoid the wall is banned.

  4. Not penalizing him would’ve contradicted the precedent set by Stroll’s penalty for the same infringement in Melbourne, but of course, Otmar was okay with that because different team.

  5. As an alonso fan, penalty was justified

  6. Otmar Szafnauer has yet to meet a penalty he wouldn’t disagree with.

    The only result of his looney statements on deserved clearly penalites is that he will easily be dismissed whenever his team might get one that may be questionable.

  7. I do think that Alpine has the “racing as a team” nailed, to take a positive from this. How often have we seen a team ask their other driver to slow down to give a DRS tow for laps and laps in a row? Not too often. And it wasn’t the first time they did things like this to keep both of their cars doing better than without it already. So that is a good team job.

  8. It shouldn’t have down to this.
    Bad strategy would have had ALO ahead of OCO in the first place.
    ALO’s bad luck continues – diminishing an outstanding season.

  9. I’m not concerned about the penalty. What I don’t understand is why did Alpine leave him out so long for his pitstop. He was on the same tyres as the others, so why decide to follow an alternate strategy? The engine issue seems to be a convenient explanation of Alonso’s later lack of pace, but if you see closely, the strategy ruined his race, bringing him out behind Ocon. Seems Alpine sabotaged Alonso’s race, and Otmar doesn’t seem much disappointed by it. From 2nd on the grid to 7th (before the penalty) at the end of the race – something’s cooking. Perhaps I’m a disillusioned Alonso fan.

    1. I doubt you’re half as disillusioned as Alonso is with his entire season. Actually though, I don’t recall anyone asking him about the penalty, but if he did address it, because he’s the most forward looking individual in F1, he’d probably just say, “Fk it. Let’s go to Silverstone.”

      Reply moderated

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