Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2023

Alonso “sorry for the fans” and says second practice should have been extended

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Fernando Alonso says the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix should have been extended after almost half an hour of running was lost due to crashes.

“They need to extend the session,” said the Aston Martin driver on his radio when the session was red-flagged for the second time. “For the fans,” he added.

Carlos Sainz Jnr and Nico Hulkenberg caused the crashed which disrupted the session. “It was an unlucky FP2 with all the red flags,” said Alonso affterwards.

“I feel for the fans because they pay all these, I guess, expensive tickets for the grandstand and they don’t see action. So I’m sorry for them.”

Last week second practice at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit was extended by half an hour after almost no running took place in the first session due to problems with the track. However fans were unable to watch the second session as grandstands were closed.

But while F1 did not share the circuit with any other series last weekend, it does at Yas Marina. Qualifying for the Formula 4 United Arab Emirates series was scheduled to take place half an hour after the end of second practice.

Had that not been the case, Daniel Ricciardo also believes the session should have been extended to allow more running for the F1 drivers.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I don’t know if there’s anything on after us tonight, if there’s F2 or something like that, but if there isn’t then it would be nice to stop the clock.”

Isack Hadjar, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice in pictures
Ricciardo, unlike Alonso, had not sat out the first practice session in order to allow a test driver to run in his car, as required by the rules. AlphaTauri fulfilled that obligation for Ricciardo’s race in the first round of the season when the inexperienced Nyck de Vries drove.

A total of 10 drivers did no running in first practice and were therefore more seriously disadvantaged by the disruption to the second session.

“I did FP1, but a lot of drivers didn’t,” Ricciardo acknowledged. “So they’re kind of staring down an FP2 with like five laps or something.

“It would have been nice to maybe get a little bit of time back so maybe that’s something we can discuss in the drivers’ briefing tonight and look for a few more rule changes.”

However, not all drivers agreed. Kevin Magnussen, whose team mate caused the second interruption to the evening session, was asked if it should have been extended and replied: “No. It’s fine.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

7 comments on “Alonso “sorry for the fans” and says second practice should have been extended”

  1. The countdown needs to be stopped in free practice

  2. I side with Mag’s & VB’s views & besides, running time has never been stopped in practice sessions like in qualifyings, so changing for the sake of changing doesn’t have a strong justification nor extending on-the-fly, which would be easier said than done anyway because of support categories.

    1. Jere, whilst I agree it shouldn’t be change for the sake of change, what has changed over the years is ever shorter practice sessions and more red flags eating into that time, so I think there is an argument for reviewing hw it is being done and asking if it is still appropriate. I also find it interesting that it is the drivers who are being the voice of the fans here, whilst the promoters are the ones living in the ivory towers.

  3. At venues where they have a solid number of support events it’s impossible to significantly change the schedule. No reason to treat other events any differently.

    Besides, it’s the last race in a season where all these complainers were very uncompetitive. What are they really going to get out of half an hour more practise? It’s the least of their issues.

  4. Practice sessions can only take place because there are marshals and other crew providing essential services to the teams. Many of them have time expectations, such as being home at a certain time, e.g. to pick up a child from a friend or family member. For those people, extending a session could mean a reluctance to be available next year.

      Was a track marshal for decades, covering any varied race events. Many F1 marshals are from out-of-town and the locals are also itching to see the cars in action. Marshals stand out at their posts for m-a-n-y l-o-n-g hours to watch F1s for 2 hours. Both out-of-town marshals & spectators have trekked from wherever, paying hard earned $$’s for accommodation/living exp/entertainment. Both sets then have the trek home together with thousands of others & may times, even if you are local, return to your ‘digs’ a lot later than anticipated. Marshals, particularly, understand & accept this.

      Marshals & spectators have come to watch F1s on track. So practice [particularly FP2, normally run at near race conditions] is extended. We all understand delays, but give us all our moneys’/time worth.
      Re-schedule/delete supporting events if one must.

      …For those people, extending a session could mean a reluctance to be available next year…
      I firmly believe you have clearly demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the immense passion & dedication of the overwhelming majority of volunteer officials.

  5. 3 hours of free practice. 2 and a half hours with the red flags. Should be enough to prepare for a 90 minute race.

Comments are closed.