Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso collide, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Stroll handed three-place grid penalty for “late move” on Alonso

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll will take a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix after the US Grand Prix stewards found him to blame for his race-ending crash with Fernando Alonso.

The Aston Martin and Alpine collided along the back straight while battling over seventh place on lap 22 following the first Safety Car restart.

Alonso followed in the slipstream of the Aston Martin then pulled to the left to attempt to pass. Stroll moved to the left in an apparent defensive move. Alonso collided with the rear of the Aston Martin, lifting the Alpine’s front wheels off the ground and sending him towards the barrier.

Stroll’s car was sent spinning littering the straight with debris as cars behind tried to avoid the crash. Alonso’s Alpine struck a glancing blow against the barriers but was able to continue with relatively minor damage. Stroll’s car was too damaged to continue and he retired from the race.

The stewards announced they would investigate the frightening incident after the race had finished. Following their investigation, and having spoken to both drivers, the stewards handed Stroll a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Mexico after deeming him to have been “predominately to blame” for the clash.

“It was clear to us that the driver of car 18 [Stroll] made a late move in reacting to the overtaking attempt by the driver of car 14 [Alonso] by moving to the left,” the stewards explained in their decision. “The stewards determine that the driver of car 18 was predominantly to blame.”

As well as the grid penalty, Stroll has also been penalised with two penalty points on his superlicence. Stroll now has a total of five penalty points for the last 12 month period, leaving him seven points shy of an automatic one-race suspension.

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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...

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26 comments on “Stroll handed three-place grid penalty for “late move” on Alonso”

  1. I think he has got away a little lightly with this one. But at least no-one is buying his ‘left enough room’ excuse.

    1. Agree. I think it should have been 5 spots given his history of accidents caused by not being spatially aware of the drivers around him and making moves way too late.

      1. Completely agree, he does not have spatial awareness despite the occasional good result

  2. Should have been a harsher penalty. That was a block on a high speed section and could have resulted in the deaths of both drivers.

  3. Amazing he only has 5 penalty points in the last year.

    1. Usually his opponents are the ones penalised when Stroll closes the door while being overtaken.

  4. Shockingly light penalty. It’s a disgraceful move, anyone with even the merest inkling of racing could see how dangerous his actions were. Worthy of a race ban imo, Alonso was very very lucky not to be injured.

    Where’s the incentive for improvement with these nothing penalties? His average grid position is something like 15th, 3 places is no big deal, especially with half the grid now getting jumbled every race as they go over component limits.

  5. Well thats a slap on the wrist if ever I saw one. That was the most dangerous move I’ve seen in many a year. You simply can’t change direction with a car alongside you on a straight at that speed. Fernando is so lucky not to have gone upside down or even cleared the barrier and Lance was so lucky not to be harpooned by another car behind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he was penalised for weaving on the straight earlier this season. Surely a race ban is in order.

  6. Can agree it was dangerous, but considering how rarely aston gets the chance for points, stroll was having a great race, I feel this is beating a dead horse.

  7. I agree with others that this is lenient. Stroll was penalised earlier this season for weaving too much while defending, and the incident with Alonso shows he hasn’t learned his lesson. I would, at the very least, have issued more penalty points to reflect that this is a repeat offence.

  8. Have to be against this penalty. Not that Stroll wasn’t the cause of it (as he could have picked a line earlier), but how it will impact overtaking. What this penalty mean is that delaying your overtake until you’re almost in the gearbox of the front runner then you can make a clear pass (most often DRS) without the opponent being allowed to defend himself. Thats gonna be some dull racing. Force the drivers to be skilled and don’t make it a process.
    We also had this discussion back when Leclerc was with Alfa Romeo and Magnussen made a late defensive move on the straight at Silverstone.

    1. Also as someone already stated. Verstappen did the exact same thing against Ricciardo in Baku and never received a penalty.

      1. Probably shouldn’t open this can of worms again, but I agree Verstappen’s move against Ricciardo was similar. I think it wasn’t penalised or even really looked at by the stewards because both cars were in the same team and there was no damaged party to push for a penalty.

        But, I think late defensive moves on the straight like this are dangerous and should be penalised. There have been many close calls where an incident has been narrowly avoided so there was inevitably going to be a big crash at some point if there was no clamp down.

      2. What Stroll did was not a defensive move but just causing a crash. The difference with the defensive moves Max makes from time to time is that Max knows what he is doing and Lance doesn´t. Quite ridiculous to compare the two…

        1. Max was breaking and changing direction under breaking. Clearly knew what he was doing… and he did more than what Stroll did. I understand you’re trying to say that Max have better awareness, and I get it, but it was still an extremely biased call in Baku.

      3. I had to watch both incidents again but they’re not the same. In fact, they’re not even closely similar. Verstappen closes the inside of a 90 degree corner in the braking zone. In his defense, there is time between the move and the impact. Still, there was no way for Ricciardo to get out of it so the impact was inevitable at that point.

        The Stroll move was just in the middle of a straight. And he was SO late the impact was basically instant.

        And then there is the speed difference between the incidents..
        If you do want to pick on Verstappen you should have picked the Kemmel straight block on Kimi. That is way more comparable I think

        1. Still, there was no way for Ricciardo to get out of it so the impact was inevitable

          Doesn’t that make it the same then?

          1. @jff
            Did you take a look at the two incidents?
            They crashed because there was a corner coming up and they were braking. Except Ricciardo already committed to the dive, he needed the extra room Verstappen blocked on the inside of the corner.

            Stroll-Alonso was nowhere near a corner. Stroll didn’t even ‘close’ anything, they were both on the right side of the track. He just jinked left in the middle of the straight when he shouldn’t. If he wanted to break the tow, he should have moved earlier

        2. The point wasn’t that they were done the same way, but that they both left the other driver with no option. Max’ was far worse in terms of rulebreaking.

          1. @JA
            Well, forgive me for misunderstanding but you worded it as exact same.
            I disagree with your conclusion it was far worse in terms of rulebreaking. That is factually incorrect because you either break a rule or you don’t, that’s the same for both. But let’s address what you probably meant: it’s a worse offense.
            Well, that’s up for debate. Strictly speaking Ricciardo and Verstappen were reprimaned while Stroll received a grid penalty and points. But that is probably due to Baku being a RBR in-house-party… There is no set penalty for moving under braking though. It could be from a time penalty up-to disqualification. Same goes for generally causing a collision. So you can’t claim one is worse than the other with a rule book in your hand. So in this case it seems fair to me to consider the danger of the move. Since the Baku incident happened in the braking zone of a 90 degree corner it was a relatively low speed shunt. The cars slid straight into the escape road. No worry there for either drivers health and a chance of being hit from behind by a third car was also low. If you look at Stroll-Alonso it was way more dangerous. Just 1 car length sooner and Alonso would have hit the barrier at the opening. They both could have bounced differently onto the track, multiple cars had to take evasive action, carbon hail storm on multiple cars. I feel it’s pretty clear.

    2. What this penalty mean is that delaying your overtake until you’re almost in the gearbox of the front runner then you can make a clear pass (most often DRS) without the opponent being allowed to defend himself.

      Not really? You can still make your one move and defend – what you can’t do is make your move just as the other driver is about to draw alongside (which makes total sense to me – how are they suppose to react to that in time?). If Stroll wanted to defend the inside, he should have committed to it earlier, instead of moving just as Alonso is about to draw alongside.

      1. It would still remove all skill of overtaking. Its a one move deal that sticks as the one infront can only move prior to the attack.

        1. The skill of overtaking is in picking the breaking point under different conditions and being off the ideal line through the corner, compromising the exit, which compromises the next corner etc.

          If the car behind is way faster and is already passing you halfway down the straight, yeah, there will be no skill involved. It’s like overtaking a truck on the motorway. Skill is only required if the cars and drivers are somewhat equally matched and that is how it should be.

  9. Stroll, even just this season, has caused crashes and been flagged for dangerous weaving. Furthermore, he keeps blaming the other drivers. This incident with Alonso was a good moment to give him a serious sporting penalty. Not a near meaningless grid drop.

  10. & rightly so.

  11. Sight, what a shame, FIA, give him(Stroll) a harsher penalty

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