Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Albert Park, 2024

Stewards summon Alonso over “alleged incident” with Russell before crash

Formula 1

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Fernando Alonso has been summoned to the stewards over his potential involvement in George Russell’s crash on the penultimate lap of the race.

Russell was unhurt after hitting the wall at turn six while he was chasing the Aston Martin driver. Although the pair made no contact, the stewards announced an investigation into an “alleged incident” between them.

Onboard footage from Alonso’s car indicates he slowed more than usual on the approach to the corner, which is followed by a pair of DRS zones. RaceFans understands data from Alonso’s car shows he braked on two separate occasions approaching the turn and his speed before the entry of the corner was more around 35 kph slower than on his previous lap.

The Mercedes driver said Alonso slowed dramatically before the corner. “I was half second behind Fernando 100 metres before the corner and suddenly he came towards me extremely quick, I was right in his gearbox,” Russell told Sky after the race. “I don’t know if he’s got a problem or not.

“We’re off to stewards, so that’s a bit bizarre in a circumstance like this.”

Alonso said he was coping with a problem in his car at the end of the race. “Obviously I was focusing in front of me and not behind,” he told Sky.

“I had some issues for the last 15 laps, something on the battery on the deployment. So definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race. But I cannot focus on the cars behind.”

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“I knew that he was coming and he was in the DRS distance for already five or six laps,” he added. “So it was very close. I was just doing qualifying laps and trying to maximise the pace.”

Russell said he would not accuse Alonso of brake-testing him until he had seen more data from the incident. However in the Mercedes driver’s view “it’s clear that he braked 100 metres before the corner and then went back on the throttle again and took the corner normally.

“We’ve already seen the data of that. I’m not going to accuse him of anything until we’ve seen further.

“I was right behind him for many, many laps, I was half a second behind him approaching the corner and then suddenly he slowed up very dramatically and got back on the power. I just wasn’t expecting it and it caught me by surprise. That part’s on me but it’s interesting that we’ve been called to the stewards. I’m intrigued to see what they have to say.”

Russell’s team mate Lewis Hamilton accused Alonso of brake-testing him during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year. The stewards took no action on that occasion.

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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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24 comments on “Stewards summon Alonso over “alleged incident” with Russell before crash”

  1. All good, BSM will be along soon to smooth out for Alonso

  2. Alonso did literally nothing wrong, so a pointless investigation for what was a pure driver error by Russell for pushing over aggressively into that corner.

    1. I wholly disagree there about

      “so a pointless investigation for what was a pure driver error”

      there @jerejj.

      While I certainly agree that it looks rather like one of those now almost typical Russel errors pushing for an overtake, if there is even the slightest indication that Alonso’s behaviour on track influenced what turned into a big and potentially dangerous accident, it is imminent that the FIA stewards have a close look at what happened, why it happened and whether it was part of what caused this incident. Even if only to avoid speculation over it (which would mean that the FIA should publish a solid report of the findings, not a “we find driver 14 did not infringe on the rules, nothing to see here” message).

      1. I don’t think this should be a penalty – we can’t start policing apex speeds for every car on every corner. It’s the driver behind’s responsibility to negotiate corners safely. Otherwise every time someone gets out of shape and a car 6 places behind crashes we’ll have calls for a penalty.

        For me, the main issue is that since we’ve changed the circuit in 2022, to make it much lower down force with a faster profile in that turn, this corner has been excessively dangerous. No-one supports tarmac run offs less than I do, but like Eau Rouge, if you get a swapper on there is nowhere to go, the barrier is too close and you end up broadside. This happened last year with Albon too. It’s a blind turn at huge speed with a car potentially stranded on the apex.

        For me, Alonso clearly had an issue of sorts – Russell gained 15s in 10 laps due to a battery problem on the Aston. So Russell should have known that going into the best overtaking section Alonso would moderate his apex speed. And that’s his right. Russell ends up off line, on the marbles and cross the gravel. It’s the dip in the gravel that sends him into a barrier that is too close. For me, it’s a driving error compounded by a stupidly designed corner.

    2. Tell that to Johnny Herbert

  3. Blatant brake test and classic Alonso. When he’s not having his teammate crash for him, he’ll cause the crash himself.

  4. In the words of George Russell over the radio (paraphrasing from memory as I only listened live without a recording to get 100% accuracy):
    “Red Flag! Red Flag! Red Flag! I’m broadside across the track! Red Flag! Why aren’t they bringing out the Red Flag?!?”
    It was a blind 140mph corner with the Mercedes’ weak underbelly facing the cars. I was terrified for him. 12 seconds to bring the VSC out was a half-reasonable reaction speed I guess, but it should have been a red.

    1. Race was over, VSC was more than enough. At those speeds you aren’t going to get anyone running into him and by the time the drivers are collected by the safety car or see the red flag they literally all have already passed the checkered flag. It was nothing to worry about.

    2. 100% the red flag should have been shown. The cars passing him were still racing. F1 is too slow. I think they are calling the FAI boss to ask what they should do (but have not evidence for this) :-}

      1. @cswilly Effectively impossible to red flag whenever the final lap is already ongoing, so all drivers needed to reach the chequered flag (most critically, the eventual winner) for the race to end.

        1. On the contrary, red flag means results counted back a lap, which is exactly what Russell wanted, so as to keep his finish and points.

          1. Interesting point Euro Brun – maybe Russell was thinking that. But his voice did sound as terrified as I was. It wouldn’t have taken much of an impact speed to kill him, as the floor is only a few mm thick. And the impacting car’s halo would have quite a load case to contend with.

            Jere, I don’t know what you’re talking about. When it’s needed to avert serious danger, a red flag is ALWAYS possible.

          2. Just because of the damage the incident caused and the position I thought a red flag was coming, didn’t even think about the lap back rule.

  5. I’ ve said it before and here we go again

    George Russell is not the fastest driver around, not by far. But he is the absolute fastest guy at snitching and blaming other drivers.

    I cannot imagine any of the greats: Fangio, Clark, etc behaving like that.

    Grow a pair of brains George, you have -1

    1. @34rthl1ng
      Silly thing to say.
      George is literally quoted as taking the blame for the crash.
      Not sure what this weird fascination is for trying and failing to sound tough, but it’s really petty.

    2. @34rthl1ng firstly, that comment has aged badly in light of the penalty that the stewards have now given Alonso for driving erratically.

      Secondly, drivers in the past really didn’t condone that sort of behaviour either, particularly given the risk of a lethal accident was higher due to the poorer safety standards of the time. “Black Jack” Brabham got that name for being a notoriously dirty driver, for example, and Fittipaldi has talked about how, if it hadn’t been for McLaren’s celebrations in 1974 when he won the title, the first thing he’d wanted to do after the US GP was to go straight to the stewards and report Regazzoni for dangerous driving.

      1. @34rthl1ng firstly, that comment has aged badly in light of the penalty that the stewards have now given Alonso for driving erratically.

        Well, what did you expect from Johnny Herbert as a steward and his inured enmity towards Alonso?

    3. TBF, to George who is a snitcher in the pattern of most of today’s F1 drivers, he didn’t even complain or blame Alonso. The only time he mentioned something was only after Fernando got summoned to the stewards by Herbert who told Alonso he should retire in 2017 and was never a fan of him.

      The stewards specifically say he did not brake check Russell. F1 is going to get even more boring if we have 4 DRS zones and a driver can’t even defend by blending out of the throttle into a tight corner that setups a long run.

  6. Now the the investigation is complete and we know Alonso’s been penalized for potentially dangerous driving, the comments here slating George seem premature and silly.

    1. Well, he should’ve been more prepared & driven a bit further back if necessary.

    2. @praxis I disagree that the comments look silly. The steward’s decisions are not the gospel, even less so when they start dishing out such penalties.

      1. Indeed, they haven’t covered themselves in glory in recent years, they’re known to be inconsistent basically.

    3. @jerejj, @prajwal,
      Don’t know if the latest article changes your opinions:


      Truth be told, even if I agree with the penalty, I’m kinda disappointed with George’s failure to respond and adapt immediately. That crash doesn’t make him look good. F1 drivers are supposed to have very fast and consistent reactions.

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