Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Alonso drops to 15th with 30-second penalty after Haas appeal, Red Bull cleared

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso has been given a 30-second time penalty which drops him from seventh place to 15th in the United States Grand Prix.

The stewards upheld a protest by the Haas team and ruled Alpine ran Alonso’s car in an unsafe condition because one of its mirrors fell off during the race. They also heard a second protest Haas brought, against Red Bull, which it dismissed.

At a hearing Haas pointed out that on three occasions this year one of its cars has been shown the black and orange flag due to a loose front wing end plate. Haas’s representatives – team principal Guenther Steiner and chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu – argued Alonso’s car was unsafe.

Alonso’s right-hand wing mirror came loose after his collision with Lance Stroll. Following the clash he returned to the pits where his front wing was replaced but the damaged mirror received no attention. Around 38 minutes later it fell off. During that time Haas’s team manager Peter Crolla twice alerted race control to the loose mirror and was told the matter was being looked into.

Alpine sporting director Alan Permane said his team were not to blame for the mirror falling off. He claimed the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix established a precedent for drivers being allowed to race with loose mirrors, as Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc did so in that race.

The stewards determined “the evidence shows that car 14 was driven firstly with the mirror flapping for a significant number of laps, then with no mirror after it fell off.”

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The FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer agreed the flapping mirror “was dangerous and it could come loose and hit another driver causing injury” and added “the car was unsafe to be driven with a mirror missing”. His view was shared by the FIA’s head of single-seater matters, Nikolas Tombazis.

The stewards determined the car was not “in a safe condition throughout a race” and this was the “responsibility of the Alpine team”, and disagreed the 2019 Suzuka race established a precedent. They imposed a 10-second stop and go penalty on Alonso, which is converted to a 30 second post-race penalty, and drops him out of the points places. Sebastian Vettel, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon all gain points as a result.

Despite ruling against Alpine, the stewards also expressed their concern the team were not given the same warning Haas had on three occasions this year. “The stewards are deeply concerned that car 14 [Alonso] was not given the black and orange flag, or at least a radio call to rectify the situation, despite the two calls to race control by the Haas team.”

The stewards did not find in favour of Haas’s other protest, concerning Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, which shed one of its front wing endplates early in the race.

Bauer stated that after Perez’s endplate fell off Red Bull supplied photographs of their car which allowed him to determine it was not unsafe. Tombazis agreed with his view and the stewards accordingly dismissed Haas’s protest against Red Bull.

In both cases the stewards agreed to admit Haas’s protests despite the team having failed to submit them within 30 minutes of the publication of the provisional classification, as required by the rules, as they “determined that the compliance with the deadline was not possible in this case.”

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2022 United States 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...

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67 comments on “Alonso drops to 15th with 30-second penalty after Haas appeal, Red Bull cleared”

  1. If it was so obviously unsafe why was the team not informed in the 38 minutes the mirror was flapping??? Absolutely ridiculous by the FIA. Punishing after the fact does nothing to help safety during the actual race and undermines any remaining respect for them.

    1. Completely agree. This shouldn’t have been a penalty for Alonso / Alpine, but a reprimand for the stewards. They were the ones supposed to show Alonso the black and orange flag during the race, to prevent dangerous accidents. They failed to do it, so why is the driver and team penalized? Were the team supposed to be proactive and pit for mirror change, without warning from race direction?

      1. After the race a team can file a protest which Haas did and Alpine did recive a peanulty because of that. But the Stewards should have reacted in the Race about this not after. Bad Stewarding during the race.

        1. The only thing I have to contribute to this conversation is that the word peanulty is very good. Some sort of peanut related punishment I imagine.

      2. While the stewards should have acted, and were showing their legendary inconsistency in not doing so, it is the team’s responsibility to ensure their car is safe. The black and orange flags should really, IMHO, be a last resort when the team fail to correct a safety issue with their car on their own. Personally, I’d add a penalty for being flagged to encourage teams to ensure their cars are safe without having to be told to do so, or maybe a mandatory inspection after repair to ensure it was completed satisfactorily, to make it worthwhile in a sporting context for them to voluntarily repair their own cars.

        That said, that’s not how it’s been before and, based on previous behaviour, penalising Alonso for the failure of the stewards to flag him (especially while not doing the same for Perez or Russell) is ridiculous.

  2. It’s interesting that Alonso was penalised for an unsafe car due to the mirror issue, which I whole heartedly agree with as you must be able to see the ones behind you. However, Hamilton escaped penalty even though, through his own admission, he could not see Verstappen behind him as his mirrors were shaking to much. Things like this are real safety issues, and all cars must comply.

    1. Mirrors were shaking from the vibrations on the track. That’s normal. If you want to apply that logic, Verstappen should be given a penalty for his front wheel winglet being loose and shaking around after obviously suffering damage.

      1. He does have a point though. If it’s normal for drivers not to be able to see the driver behind them surely all should be dealt with consistently and have the same safety penalties. The onus is on the teams to design stiffer mounts which they haven’t done due to weight saving

        1. Innovative road cars are doing away with them, camera stalks & screens mounted with and in the same field of view – a little closer to the driver perhaps?

      2. You probably mean Perez.

        1. @itsme no, he does mean Verstappen: if you watch the onboard as he passed Hamilton, you can see the left front wheel wing moving around far more than the right one.

    2. It’s interesting how they ruled Perez’s car was safe…that part of the front wing is also designed to avoid to puncture other cars during eventual contacts.
      Plus even Max, at the end of the race, had a lose left front wing cover, you can clearly see it during his camera car footage while he was passing Lewis in the braking phase.
      The fact that these cars are overweight should not imply the constructurs are allowed to save weight designing “weak” parts…a mirror should be steady enough to offer for a good vision and tyre covers should not flex too much to become so loose. FIA should be VERY firm in looking into these things IMO.
      Finally, drivers comments after/during the race should be taken SERIOUSLY in count, if Lewis says his mirrors are vibrating too much so that he can’t see clearly, just check it out! If Checo wasn’t unaware of the 10 car distance rule during the race (he was very surprised in learning that from his engineer during the race), take it in count, not just take for good what he says to the stewards after he was perfectly instructed by his team.
      All these discrepancies just leave the feel ruling is inconsistent and are clearly detrimental to the perception of a fair competition.

    3. @Martin i think you misunderstand the penalty- it is not about any kind of rearward visibility, but rather about bits flying of the car and hitting others in the head.

      1. I think it is true. There is some truth in the opinions about wight saving.
        But the mirror flying off was the most likely dangerous event here.

        If everyone starts to complain about any slightly loose, slightly vibrating parts on these cars (with quite vulnerable exterior), on the other hand that is just an other can of worm, awaiting to be opened in the close future.

        The vision in the mirrors is likely not something easy to follow in bumpy tracks like this anyway. Maybe that would not be easy even if the mirrors and their mountings would be mandatorily really massive. Especially since the cars are really stiff nowadays.

        How about then having a screen in the interior of the helmet, somewhere on the very top of the lid. That virtual-mirror- screen could turn on and off based on the eye movement of the dirver, so they could learn to use it intuitively, like looking up for the rear mirror in a road going car. The image of it would come from a camera mounted somewhere around the rear wing, for a more unobstructed-than-ever view. If they are really agile, then they could develop a blazingly fast AI, which considers the actual riding experience of the car, the bumps and the vibrations in real time, and uses the whole input, to give an image on the virtual mirror, which can be interpreted by the driver as an image without shakiness and vibrations (even if that recommends actually moving the whole image :) ).

        1. Although, as the “mirror” would be attached to the lid, then it would be in practically the same inertia system, as the driver’s eyes, so one factor of the shakiness (the mirror, attached to shaking car is already factored out. The problem currently is that the mirror, and the driver shakes at the same time, but not at the exact same frequency, as the mirror is likely mounted in a more firm and rigid way.) Maybe then it could be quite easily done without AI, if the image of the camera is stabilized enough, and in this field modern cameras are already doing a quite good job.

          1. Hm, so I have mistakenly used the “inertia system” expression, that would be a mirror translated version (from my native language) for the “inertial frame” or “inertial space” in English.

    4. Martin, I don’t know how it is currently assessed, but the stewards used to check the mirrors for legality by standing at the back of the garage, behind the car, and holding up a card with a number on it. If the driver could read the number correctly, the mirrors were legal. Kimi used to be especially scathing about the uselessness of mirrors on an F1 car, and how the test bore no relation to how they vibrated at racing speeds.

  3. Another example of how pathetic F1 has become and sets a terrible sporting precedent. I guess Perez should be penalized too. BTW, I don’t think Magnussen should have been meatballed and I don’t Perez deserves a penalty.

    1. Agreed. If it is safe after the end plate comes off, and the team is allowed to wait until it does, then why was Haas ordered to come in the pits before that happened?

    2. The flap fell off around lap 7, IIRC. Plenty of time to call Pérez in. But in usual F1 fashion the big teams get special treatment.

      Alonso should also have been flagged, but at the same time one wonders about the logic behind handing him a 30sec penalty and Russell 5sec for driving into Sainz and ending the latter’s race.

  4. You can t bone a race leader on the first turn and his car is retired and receive a 5 second penalty. Alonzo has a mirror fall off 38 laps latter and they penalize him 30 seconds. The penalties seem to never fit the crime for F1.

  5. Haas was not wrong here. The inconsistency is laughable.

    1. I agree, and the same logic should also apply to Perez (and Russell): a piece of fly carbon fibre is dangerous. Perez’s car wasn’t dangerous after the end plate had came away, but it was before and during.

      The officials need to decide how they are going to handle this and stick to it. If a broken front wing end plate (or other bodywork) which may come away is dangerous, then it needs black and orange flags every time, not only when it’s a Haas.

      1. Where do you stop?
        Russell’s end plate was loose as well yesterday!
        FIA continues to be consistently inconsistent.

        Next they penalise Alonso for leaving the track with all four wheels (vertically).

        Also, how ridiculous for FIA to warn drivers that there was a tow truck on track, but they failed to warn them that (earlier) there were marshals on track. As if the life of a marshal is less important than that of the driver.

        1. Reporting is something the FIA did after Max told them that would be beter as in the rain you can’t see while weaving to see something. Now the driver were warned and everyone went very slow there so that is working.

          1. But why don’t they warn drivers when there are marshals on track?
            A tow truck is easier to see and less dangerous than a marshal on track!

            The slowing down by the SC in that zone was very good (should’ve been a no brainer).

          2. They do warn the drivers that there may be marshals on the track: double waved yellows.

  6. Haas have a point. Stupid that the stewards didn’t give him the black and orange flag during the race. So quickly does F1 forget the mistakes of the past. How could anyone who has seen the footage of Massa in Hungary back in 2009 not think that cars with bits flapping in the breeze isn’t worthy of immediate action?

    Great news for McLaren in the fight for fourth though.

  7. Funny how Stroll is penalized and instantly being villanized while a neanderthal let go scott free after causing similar accident at Baku 2018.

  8. How can a photo of the front wing AFTER the end plate has broken off be proof that Red Bull is in the clear. The offence was before the end plate was broken.

    I guess the difference was that Haas complained about Alonso but didn’t complain about Checo. Which is not really how it should be.

    Ferrari, Mercedes, take note and complain next time around.

    1. Perez’s end plate just fell off in time. Maybe one more lap and he get the flag, lucky escape. The main thing is that that mirror on the alpine wasnt fell off, like perez’s before, but flapping till the end of the race.

      1. Oops, sorry, its a misunderstang by me!

      2. Perez’s endplate was hanging from lap 1 to lap 9. Enough time for FIA to see and examine. And if FIA doesn’t have resources to see and examine, then I guess it is the job of rival teams / drivers to see and report to FIA (similar to how we saw Lewis vs Max at the closing stages).

        If I remember correctly, it has been Norris, Verstappen and Alonso complaining about Magnussen’s wing in the past which led to the black and orange flag for Magnussen.

        It is understandable that Haas didn’t report Checo as they weren’t in a direct fight with Checo, either in the race or the championship.

        But If Ferrari and Mercedes were alert, they could have forced Perez into a penalty. Lesson for next time.

        1. is the job of rival teams / drivers to see and report to FIA (similar to how we saw Lewis vs Max at the closing stages).

          Except Max didn’t actually go off and Lewis was just being pathetic.

  9. Don’t like this penalty at all and I see I’m not the only one, a way to ruin a great recovery.

  10. Different teams, different rules.

  11. Why did Jo Bauer call the car legal after the race, and then not legal after protest?

    1. That’s an interesting question indeed!

  12. So, according to the FIA, had Alonso’s mirror actually fallen off then it would be okay, like Perez’s end plate, but since it didn’t fall off he gets a penalty. Okay.

  13. Inconsistent stewarding – F1 standards have deteriorated so much. They imposed this penalty just to please Haas. A brilliant charge through the field nullified by some brain-dull stewards.

    1. No it’s very consistent.
      It was a Red Bull car with an issue and in the most consistent manner it was deemed ok.
      Then it was not a Red Bull car and it was consistent with the rule makers to deem it an issue.

  14. Peter Crolla twice alerted race control to the loose mirror and was told the matter was being looked into.

    Well yeah I thought that’s what mirrors were for (looking into)

  15. Race Control: “Of course we will effectively disqualify you. But first we’ll watch you race your ass off for 30 laps with a broken back.”

  16. T-boning a direct competitor is a 5 sec penalty.

    A broken part that was of zero concern during the race is a 30 sec penalty.

    How on earth does punishment fit the crime..

    It is also this type of inconsistent arbitrary stewarding that turns the behavior of the entire grid into a kindergarten. With everybody tattling on each other all the time, to get them punished by the teacher.
    It really isn’t a good look for F1.

  17. *facepalm*

  18. I think Haas has every right to be aggrieved as the race directors were constantly hot on Magnussen every time his wing end plate even vaguely flapped yet they completely ignored anyone else with something similar. There was a period of time before where flapping wing end plates weren’t considered an issue, then they cracked down hard on it and now they seem not to care again. It’s ridiculous.

    1. Craig, whilst I think Haas might be right to be aggrieved, I don’t think asking for other teams to be penalised is the appropriate response. By all means use them as an example of the inconsistent application of the rules and demand the FIA explains why its stewards give more leniency to some teams than others, but asking for other teams to be penalised as well isn’t the solution. The other teams are not the problem; it’s the stewards who are the problem.

  19. Such a shame for Alonso. Here’s his 2nd-half race summary:

    – was involved in a huge accident with Stroll, clipping the left-rear of the AM at over 250kph
    – car got airborne ~2 meters before touching back down with a huge impact
    – hit the wall sideways but was able to continue with only a broken front wing
    – came out last in P17, after pitting for new tires and nose
    – started passing people left & right with a fairly bruised car.
    – lost a wing mirror due to vibrations on the straight, while overtaking Magnussen for 6th
    – finished P7 after being passed in the final lap by Lando.

    Legend.

  20. Ugh.. Understandable.
    But absolutely horrible we again are confronted with a changing classification well after the actual race. I understand weighing all cars takes time and gathering fuel samples. So those results come in later. But this time it was again for something that could be dealt with during the race. Either give him the flag or don’t. But if you don’t then the result should stand.

    1. Agreed.

      If it was illegal then the FIA should have told the team during the race.

  21. Whilst I don’t disagree with the reasoning for this rule, safety first, at what point will the FIA say any car caught in a collision has to leave the track? It feels like this is where we are headed. Alonso, through no fault of his own, guided a his compromised car to 7th place and the worst thing is that a post race penalty demoted him rather than a flag during the race. How can we be sure any car that has been involved in an incident is safe?

    1. Even then some parts like wing mirrors come loose of their own accord (see the wheel brow on Vestappen’s car).

  22. OMG, how pathetic of F1 to do this! Poor Fernando, his performance was heroic.

    They should impose attaching the rear view mirrors by wires for cases like these, just like with the wheels.

    1. I didn’t #$&+ report it

    2. Justice for what?

  23. Wittich I love you.

  24. I will no longer allow the FIA and their Stewards spoil may day with their actions.
    I will just listen to singing birds.

    1. This is a good approach. Ultimately, we fans saw Alonso have a great race with good moves, a great recovery and some impressive pace.

      Whether or not the incompetent and biased FIA then classifies him 6th, 12th or 20th way after everyone has already turned off their TVs doesn’t change that.

  25. “The stewards are deeply concerned that car 14 [Alonso] was not given the black and orange flag, or at least a radio call to rectify the situation, despite the two calls to race control by the Haas team.”

    Based on this, shouldn’t they penalise the Race Director rather than the driver/team?

    And can we still protest the race director for allowing the uninspiring waving of the chequered flag?

  26. Well, at least Haas got one of them penalized.

    1. The stewards saw the Redbull team in tears and decided against any penalty.

  27. A hint for the FIA: F1 racing is dangerous. Perhaps at this point it would be better not to race

    1. This is a point that should be brought up more often. It’s not possible to eliminate the risk in F1 without harming the nature of the sport. Unfortunately, it’s a losing battle. In the current context, F1 can’t afford to take risk, there is a lot of money at stake.

  28. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    24th October 2022, 14:54

    With the penalty applied retrospectively it is very clear that Perez should also get a similar penalty. Reading the decision documents it is a bias in my opinion that a flapping endplate is not dangerous. It could fly off and hit another competitor just as easily as a mirror.

    It is amockery as already pointed out that after the endplate had gone the car was safe. Well if that was safe then so was Alonso’s car after the mirror had fallen off.

    The bits that fell off the cars did so with no-one following so it must be okay right?

  29. We finally get a decent, uncontroversial race with great fights throughout the entire field and somehow the FIA still manages to give it a bittersweet aftertaste, and – in perfect FIA tradition – they do it AFTER the race when nobody’s looking anymore…

  30. Does the FIA go out of its way to make itslef look like a bunch of idiots? This isn’t a case of finding out after the event that a car was infringing a technical requirement, or the car was underweight, or the driver was high on stimulants. This is just pointlessly penalising a driver for bad officiating. If Alonso had been called into the pits to have the mirror made safe (i.e. ripped off) he might then have done a Max and driven like a man possessed to get back into the points. By applying a post-race penalty, missed due to your own incompetence, you deny him the opportunity to respond to the situation.

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