Alonso wants stewards to “show a yellow or red card” for qualifying incidents

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says penalties for impeding drivers during qualifying should be harsher and the stewards should be less hesitant to administer penalties.

The Alpine driver qualified 11th for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but the stewards are investigating whether he was impeded by Daniel Ricciardo at turn 16 during Q2. Alonso missed the cut to advance to Q3 by a hundredth of a second.

Alonso said the enforcement of the racing rules has deteriorated since his last race in Abu Dhabi three years ago. “[It is] definitely much worse than in 2018,” he said.

“There are no rules out there. Not for the out-lap, there are no minimum times to respect. There are, on the first lap, a lot of strange movements off-track. I complained the first third of the championship. Then I changed attitude and then I was doing the same. And now there was someone impeding, today.”

Following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the sport missed the oversight of its late race director Charlie Whiting, who passed away in 2019. But Alonso does not feel his successor, Michael Masi, is to blame for a softening in the policing of incidents.

“We should be a little bit more aligned with the things that are right and the things that are wrong,” he said. “It should be more black and white – you know, what is a penalty, what is not a penalty.”

He believes the stewards “have to be harsh in some of the decisions” when necessary. “In football, when someone makes a tackle and there is a big penalty or whatever, there is a red card. Here they are always struggling to show a yellow card or a red card, so that’s why we keep repeating the same bad things.”

The lax enforcement of the rules means many drivers are causing problems by backing off before beginning their flying laps in qualifying, Alonso believes. “It’s everybody,” he said. “Everybody [does] that.

“We do that as well in the out-lap. You know, sometimes there is no way we can pass. And we are too slow, slower than what we want.

“But our team is very sharp on telling us when a fast car is coming, so I had zero investigations for impeding in the whole year. So you have to be also sharp, and the people that are not sharp, they are investigated. And normally, they get a penalty like that. But this is another thing, you know, it’s very random.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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9 comments on “Alonso wants stewards to “show a yellow or red card” for qualifying incidents”

  1. Firstly, its not just rules. Its offences and then penalties.

    Even when thought to be clearly defined ie causing a collision, there is the added, but not formally approved/published guidance. In this example, did one driver predominantly or equally cause the decision.

    Then the penalty. Only a few offences have a penalty clearly associated. As Michael Masi demonstrated, they pop up all through ISC, app & SR. So we know there is guidance, again in the ‘magic’ Stewards Handbook, to ensure consistency. So despite them being in the book, Masi can’t tell the Stewards to issue more severe penalties, can he?

    Then this philosophy of informal consistency is vetoed by ‘First Lap’ and ‘Let them race’ for minor incidents?

    Then the last point, the penalty severity, is set by the actual incident. Forget actual consequences, or worse possible consequences. Add to that, the penalty can only be applied to the event.
    Which seems inconsistent when adding time after a finish which doesn’t change result, rather than 2 lines down in SR, giving any amount of grid places, let alone, as now ‘threatened’ removing Championship Points.

    The ‘rules’ have followed FIA culture of growing in an organic reaction to perceived empirical problems. As a first solution it would be to recollate all ‘rules’ into a logical order. Strangely there are well laid out schemes for other motorsport series.
    Then a critical review against current offence/penalty philosophies. This would, of course, include the Private Stewards Handbook.

  2. Typical boomer saying it was better in the old days.

    1. Typical ignorant statement born out having no idea whatsoever of what you are commenting on. Fernando Alonso, having been born in 1981 is of the Generation X group. The Baby Boomer generation is generally defined as people being born between the years of 1946 to 1964 some 17 years at minimum before Alonso was born. The standard of knowledge on this site from many commentators is appalling.

    2. he isnt wrong tho KEKW

  3. Jose Lopes da Silva
    11th December 2021, 18:42

    Qualifying incidents need strong stewarding as the qualifying structure increases the odds for them to happen. In fact, these happen in pretty much every Saturday.

  4. “It should be more black and white – you know, what is a penalty, what is not a penalty.”
    The last voice of reason in F1

    1. @ruliemaulana So was this really worth a penalty? Someone well ahead of Alonso starting his own flying lap. Alonso can’t expect every driver to also make sure they have a 3s clear gap behind them so they don’t cause even the slightest bother to him.

  5. I wonder if at the next stage of Alonso’s career, after racing, he can take the job of being a steward and revolutionise it. Someone needs to.

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