Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Alonso: F1 faces ‘a huge problem for the future’ if stewards don’t cancel penalty

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso is “very optimistic” the stewards will cancel the penalty which cost him the points he scored in the United States Grand Prix

Alonso finished seventh on the road in last week’s race at Circuit of the Americas. He rebounded after being caught up in a dramatic collision with Lance Stroll, which the Aston Martin driver was blamed for.

But after earning praise for his recovery drive, Alonso was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty after the race, converted to a 30-second time penalty, which dropped him to 15th place in the final classification. The stewards ruled his Alpine team failed to ensure the safety of his car by leaving him on track with a loose wing mirror, which eventually fell off.

The penalty came about after Alpine’s rivals Haas protested the result of the race. Alpine has issued a counter-protest which the United States Grand Prix stewards will meet to discuss later today. In a statement on Sunday, Alpine said they will protest “the admissibility of the original Haas F1 Team protest”, pointing out it was “lodged 24 minutes past the specified deadline.”

Alonso said he was “very disappointed” to learn of the stewards’ decision. “It was a rollercoaster of emotions for me on Sunday,” he said in today’s FIA press conference. “Starting at the back then we were like P6, we had the accident, last again and then finishing P7. And then in the evening again, out of the points. So it was up and down all day long. And now this, let’s wait and see.”

He said he is “very optimistic that we will keep seventh place” and praised the openness with which the FIA has approached points of dispute since its president Mohamed Ben Sulayem took over at the end of last year.

“The FIA has been very transparent to us this year,” said Alonso. “I think the new leadership, also with Mohammed, I think are doing things a little bit different than in the past. So I have full trust [in] what they will decide.

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“I think there are a couple of things that are very clear that were made wrong from their side. So as I said, I’m very confident that we will be P7 again in Austin. If I’m not P7 at the end I’m sure they will explain why and we will see it clear. So I am very relaxed about that.”

Although Alpine has only indicated it is protesting the timing of Haas’s protest, Alonso said the team had other concerns over the precedent set by his penalty.

“We brought this basically because [the protest] was out of time and there were a couple of things,” he said. “The FIA was not showing me the black-and-orange flag so they thought that the car was safe to keep driving. The car went through parc ferme, passed all the scrutineering, green light on parc ferme. And then the protest arrived too late. So between all I think there is no doubt that this was not the right decision to take.”

He warned that if the decision against him is upheld it will lead to many more drivers having to retire from races or pit due to damage.

“If this is the right decision to take, it will open a huge problem for the future in Formula 1. I think 50, 60, 70% of the cars will have to retire the car when they have a aerodynamic device that is not properly fix because it’s going to be ‘unsafe’ the car.

“It will open also, if 20 minutes is too late, it’s okay to protest, is one month too late? Is one hour too late? Is 10 years too late? When it’s too late? So that, I think we cannot afford.

“So as I said, this is a very important day for our sport. I don’t care about seventh, I’m not fighting for the world championship, but if this goes ahead, we don’t want to open that box.”

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2022 Mexican 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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26 comments on “Alonso: F1 faces ‘a huge problem for the future’ if stewards don’t cancel penalty”

  1. This man may be overly dramatic in his utterances.

    1. Alonso is unintentionally hilarious and endearingly self-important.

      Still, it’s easy to understand his frustration, but also respect why Haas may feel more than a little aggrieved by how the incompetent FIA officials have mismanaged this issue all season. Alonso is right that this meeting will be important, but hopefully in the sense that the FIA will finally start treating all competitors equally.

      Damaged F1 cars should be called in, even when they’re Red Bulls.

      1. Damaged F1 cars should be called in, even when they’re Red Bulls.

        Penalise RBR? Ask any Max fan, this was Lewis’s fault.

      2. Jonathan Parkin
        28th October 2022, 4:52

        But then we couldn’t have had Mika Salo’s non stop drive to 5th at the Monaco GP in 1997. He had a damaged wing that day

      3. But if the race director didn’t call it during the race, then whose fault is it? You can’t dock a team and drivers points by poor officiating. By that logic, lets dock points for Max’s championship win last season. At the end of the day, that was an officiating error as well.

    2. Giving penalties post-race is like annulling a goal after a match because it was determine that a foul was committed before the goal. It is a big deal. I know you people feel the need to parrot the same narratives from 2007 about Alonso being self-important, toxic or whatever, all of which are comprehensibly debunked. But in this case everyone should agree that the results of the race are not to change for an incident that wasn’t even investigated during the race, that passed scrutenering, and that on top of that, was penalised through a request that came after the timeframe FIA set for it.

      No hard feelings against Haas. I’m glad they complained because stewarding has been dreadful on this particular area; somehow really harming Haas while repeatedly failing to do the same for Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, all of which have had similar incidents during the year.

      There is no correct scenario where Alonso gets punished here, let alone Alonso gets punished and Red Bull doesn’t.

      1. you people feel the need to parrot the same narratives from 2007 about Alonso

        Let me stop you right there.

        First of all, “you people” is a funny thing to say while replying to one person.

        Second, if you had to pick the Championship in the past 20 years that I was least engaged with and couldn’t have cared less about in terms of ultimate outcome, 2007 would be the winner. If you were going back further, 1999 post-Silverstone might have it beat.

        Basically, you’re barking so far up the wrong tree it might as well be a post box.

  2. If it were any other part of the car, it would be different, but the mirrors are considered safety devices. In the decision given, it says a car that does not have both mirrors is considered unsafe.
    That being said, race control should have shown him the black and orange flag, or the car should not have passed post-race scrutineering.

    1. Sorry, but if it was so important to pull the car in, race control should have done so the moment the mirror came off. Letting an unsafe car finish even one lap is irresponsible if race control. You can’t expect the teams to take such decisions. It’s against their interest to call in their cars…

      1. The stewards did call out race control in their decision:

        The Stewards are deeply concerned that Car 14 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.

    2. That being said, race control should have shown him the black and orange flag, or the car should not have passed post-race scrutineering.

      However, since they did not show the black and orange flag, nor fail the car on post-ace scrutineering and HAAS failed to submit a case before the time limit I would put that down as three strikes, gone, finished thank you goodnight.

      Oh, and give Alonso the points he earned.
      Not an Alonso fan, but fair is fair.

      Or, if we’re into the retrospective penalties and results alteration game we can make a list of the incidences of other drivers not penalised for bits falling off Perez, Verstappen.
      Then there’s the failure of race directors to apply rules properly…

      1. However, since they did not show the black and orange flag, nor fail the car on post-ace scrutineering and HAAS failed to submit a case before the time limit I would put that down as three strikes, gone, finished thank you goodnight.

        Irrelevant, irrelevant, and considered and addressed in last week’s stewards’ decision.

        Sometimes, it’s almost as if some people didn’t read the decision Alpine are trying to appeal.

      2. Fair is fair?

        So its fair that some drivers and teams receives unfair stewarding (most likely from the race directors), meaning that other teams have to do the stewarding by calling it in and afterwards send legal documents within a short time, using and wasting ressource, to enforce a rulebook the race directors should do in the first place? How is that in any given situation fair. The issue is not Alonso getting a penalty, the issue is him not getting it during the race and likewise the Red Bulls. Out of some 7 end plate situations during this year, only one driver and one team have gotten a black and orange.

    3. You’ve missed his point, he is not arguing safe vs unsafe, he is arguing:
      1. He was not advised by anyone that he should pit and repair, so FIA, Stewards are in the wrong as they should have flagged him.
      2. Protests after the fact, how long after is still ok to protest?

  3. Simple fact is that the FIA should have done their job, judged the car was unsafe and told him to pit to give the team a change to rectify IN the actual race.

    But changing a rule hours or days after the event is not right and sets a very messy precident.

  4. I can understand Haas frustration when continually receiving the black and orange flag for broken front wing end plates which hardly affect the car.

    I personally feel race control has been too quick to show black and orange flags. Slightly broken cars should be allowed to continue to race.

    Alonso is right about submission deadline concern. There’s a reason for the deadline. If it’s not going to be adhered to, what’s the point of the deadline? It sets a precedent that the deadline doesn’t actually mean anything and protests can be submitted at any time long after the race has concluded.

    1. There is flexibility in the deadline if it was “impossible” for a protest to have been submitted before it – the stewards mentioned this in their decision. Impossibility is a high bar, and I don’t think the decision makes clear exactly why it was impossible for Haas to have protested earlier.

      Bearing in mind that reviews of this kind can only be entertained when there is new and relevant evidence that may have impacted the original decision, Alpine must be relying on something that shows that it was, in fact, possible for Haas to have protested within the original deadline. Difficult to envisage what that could be, but as we don’t know the stewards’ original reasoning for waiving the deadline, it’s impossible to know at this point.

    2. “Good news Fernando, we just made you the 2012 world champ because Vettel maybe, might have missed a yellow flag indicator a decade ago”.

  5. It’s a safety issue, so drivers should be given a max of 2 laps to pit & repair/ replace or be disqualified
    I also think the blue flags should be binned, let the driver following fight for the overtake if the car driver combination is good enough they will do it.

    1. Blue flags are used by marshals to alert a driver to the presence of a faster car about to lap them. the key here is “about to lap them”, not “trying to overtake them”.

    2. I also think the blue flags should be binned

      People shown blue flags are at the very least several kilometres behind the person they are told to let pass in the Grand Prix.

      If you want to fight the person lapping you, you can do so once you’ve made up that difference.

    3. You need therapy if you think blue flags should go away.

      1. While not the way I’d have said it, the problem is some teams are gonna get an advantage from the removal of the blue flags, such as red bull, who effectively run 2 teams, and ofc ferrari customers could make it easier to pass for ferrari, and same for mercedes.

  6. The stewards demonstrated all last year that the rules are whatever they want them to be and do not need to be consistent within a race or within a season. That has carried over to this year which is what happened last weekend. The WDC is settled so the Show is now about the mid-field battles. Alpine is in contention and the rules were not applied for that reason and that reason alone. Haas getting fed up with it is just like last season when Alonso got fed up with it and drove straight through a corner on the first lap to prove a point.

  7. F1 learned last year that the solution to abu dhabi was writing rules on the fly, not real rules because these have to approved by the teams so we end up with Wittich.

  8. Haas’s complaint should be that they feel they’re shown the black and orange flag for damage when other teams are not. If Alpine and Red Bull aren’t shown the black and orange flag, then Haas’s complaint should be with the FIA about stewarding. It seems convenient to me that they’ve penalized Alpine and not cleared up stewarding.

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