Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Alpine complain they had no say over penalty which cost Alonso points

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has complained the team was not allowed to dispute the penalty which cost Fernando Alonso a points finish in the Miami Grand Prix.

Alonso was penalised during Sunday’s race and again after it. The second penalty dropped him from ninth in the finishing order to 11th, costing him what would have been his second points finish of the year.

The stewards gave Alonso his second five-second time penalty of the race after he cut across the chicane at turns 14 and 15 on lap 53. This had a significant effect on the cars behind him.

Alonso was being pursued by Mick Schumacher, team mate Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel at the time. Schumacher had repeatedly been able to use DRS on the preceding laps because he was within one second of Alonso’s Alpine.

After Alonso cut the chicane he was able to reach the DRS detection line following the next corner more than a second before Schumacher. That meant the Haas driver was unable to use DRS and he immediately came under attack from Ocon as a result.

In their statement after the race the stewards stated they consulted video evidence before making their decision. Rossi is unhappy Alpine were not allowed to present a case to them.

“A disappointing post-race penalty for Fernando for leaving the track and gaining an advantage means our six points at the chequered flag turned into four points and it has cost us a deserved double points finish,” he said in a statement issued by the team on Wednesday.

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“This one is certainly difficult to accept since Fernando handed back the time during the lap and we were not able to present the evidence to clarify the particular situation before the penalty was issued.

Analysis: Why Ocon said Alpine’s radio order to help Alonso was “not possible” to obey
“With the opportunity to explain, we’re very confident Fernando would have kept his ninth place”

Alonso cut the same chicane on a further occasion later in the race. The stewards examined this as well, but judged that “no lasting advantage was gained” and did not penalise him.

Rossi was also unimpressed with the extent of damage caused to Esteban Ocon’s car when he crashed in final practice on Saturday. Ocon lost control of his car at turn 13 and struck a barrier at the following corner.

Carlos Sainz Jnr had hit the same concrete barrier the day before. Drivers asked the FIA to add an impact-absorbing TecPro barrier at the scene of his crash, but no change was made.

Ocon sustained a 51G impact in his crash, which cracked his Alpine’s chassis, and left him unable to participate in qualifying. He took place in the race, but said he felt “50% physically” following the crash.

Rossi believes the standard of barrier was insufficient for the crashes which occured there. “Esteban unfortunately missed qualifying, although with sufficient safety measures in place, it is likely the car would have been okay,” he said.

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2022 Miami 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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27 comments on “Alpine complain they had no say over penalty which cost Alonso points”

  1. Proesterchen nli
    11th May 2022, 12:43

    Alpine did sign the “winner” of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

    1. How is your comment related to anything? Alonso is not the “winner” of the 2008 Singapore Gran Prix – he actually won it, and the FIA didn’t take it from him. So I ask again – what’s the point of your comment? Looks like pointless whining. Did Alonso make something bad specifically to you, and now you’re holding a grudge for more than 10 years?

      1. You signed the driver knowing his history. You get what you pay for, apparently including said driver cutting chicanes at opportune times and the stewards not letting that stand.

        1. That still has nothing to do with this issue. Who’s the driver in question shouldn’t matter either.

          1. Maybe Alpine should have signed a driver that is allowed to cut chicanes with impunity.

        2. You’re almost making it sound like Alonso is the only driver in the current grid that has cut a chicane.

    2. OK.I get it.
      Hamilton is having a bad year being exposed by his teammate so you lash out at Alonso.
      Hamilton had “lie gate” in Australia back in the day. Not exactly a poster child for integrity.

      1. Yawn!
        What has this got to do with Hamilton? Is there ever going to be a discussion without Hamilton being drag into it? This fixation on Hamilton has really become boring and exhausting. The article is about Alpine and Alonso; just stay on topic please!

        1. So you are not a fervent HAM fan?

      2. I will gladly admit I didn’t anticipate your specific complaint when authoring my original post.

        You earned an A for creativity, though! 👍

  2. I actually would rather congratulate the Stewards on having a closer look and give a clear signal that the advantage gained was actually in denying Schumacher the DRS. Good job, because it clearly tells any driver who thinks of copying this – going off track for a shortcut to break DRS and then apologetically give back the seconds you won later, when you have a bigger gap to the guy behind due to denying them DRS – that they see what you are doing. So they might think twice.

    1. That’s my thinking too. Fernando should have been faster than Mick, then the Stewards wouldn’t have an excuse to penalise him.
      I also wonder if Fernando’s mistake somehow contributed to the collision between Mick and Sebastian, which put both of them out of the points (and Sebastian out of the race).

      1. @drycrust Maybe a slight contributor, but more so Mick going wide & inadvertently also forcing Ocon wide that allowed Seb to pass on exit.

    2. @bascb Indeed. Pretty clear-cut case, so quite undisputable for Alpine.

  3. Only in F1 would a team say “I didn’t get to influence the umpire” and not bat an eye.

    I’m glad the sport is righting that particular ship.

    1. @sjaakfoo

      Only in F1 would a team say “I didn’t get to influence the umpire” and not bat an eye.

      I’m glad the sport is righting that particular ship.

      I agree completely.

    2. Well said

    3. The Dolphins
      11th May 2022, 14:34

      Except that it’s actually something the governing body allows: appealing a penalty if you have new and relevant information to present to the stewards.

      Rossi is unhappy Alpine were not allowed to present a case to them.

      I’m surprised they were “not allowed” when they technically were except perhaps they did not do it under the framework provided by the FIA, which leads me to believe they have no new or relevant evidence regarding the incident and they just wanted to beg the stewards to reverse their decision which is a non starter. Sorry Alpine but Alonso is not a rookie, he knows full well how to drive that car to the limit and he has the mental capacity to understand how his driving will impact not only the car behind him but two cars behind him.

      1. This one is certainly difficult to accept since Fernando handed back the time during the lap and we were not able to present the evidence to clarify the particular situation before the penalty was issued.

        Indeed, they had nothing new and relevant to add, as whatever time Fernando lost by lifting on the back straight was information available to the stewards at the time of their decision.

      2. It doesn’t matter if the team has new evidence or not – the regulations state that the teams have no right of appeal against a post race time penalty, and they have no right to provide any evidence for their side of the argument.

        The complaint is one that all of the teams have complained about ever since the rule was introduced, which is the lack of transparency in applying the penalty and the absence of any appeal mechanism for this particular type of penalty.

    4. I agree as well. Influencing any persons in charge who are making penalty calls or running a race by any team should never happen or attempt to influence or speak to those persons during a race. but I don’t think Rossi was referring to this.
      However, I can understand having the ability to contest a penalty call after the race when administrators are given adequate reasons to look into it and if it’s within the rule book (currently it’s not in this situation); like they have done in the past and like they do in sailboat racing. Go before three panel judges on site at the venue, immediately after race (with a 15 min deadline to file after race finish to file protest or after penalty is given), then quickly plead your case (a short version) and except the results of the panel and move on. But if its clear cut and not good enough reasons for the team to go before the judges, then also accept that. It would have to be very clear cut evidence of wrong judgment given to a driver in order to be heard by the judges otherwise, every team will try that at every race. There has to be a line.
      But never should a team be able to speak to the ones calling the shots during a race. Even soccer moms know this (despite trying) that it’s a no-no.
      A lot of times. we’ll speak to the stewards afterwards in a non formal friendly way, as more academic, non-formal way to civilly speak to them and understand the call. Sometimes they’re even willing to patiently hear our side to understand the way we saw it and you move forward whether you like it or not.

  4. Alpine should think more about their car development than whine about the penalties. Their new floor didn’t give them anything in two races, so they can throw it in the garbage. What a bunch of losers.

  5. I presume the stewards had all data available to them, especially after the race, and therefore there was nothing Alpine could have presented that should have swayed their opinion. Also I’m pleased that they chose to investigate an incident like this, where the benefit to Alonso may not have been immediately obvious. Chances are we won’t see any driver now attempt to do this deliberately as a result.

    1. @ciaran firstly, as confirmed last year, the stewards don’t necessarily have all the data available to them, even directly after the race has finished – some data might not be made available until several days later.

      Secondly, the stewards are under no obligation to have to consider all of the available evidence – judging what evidence is and is not relevant is entirely at their discretion, so it is within their power to exclude data.

      The biggest mistake, though, is that you don’t understand that Rossi’s complaint is that the way in which the penalty was handed down means that there was nothing that Alpine could do to present their side of the story, and the regulations also state that you have no right of appeal against a post race time penalty. It is a complaint that the power to impose a post race time penalty has no counter balancing mechanism – it’s imposed automatically, and there is nothing that anybody can do about it.

  6. It is out of line with established policy, so I understand why Alpine is upset.

    But this is a much better process. It’s crazy in sport for teams to get to pull together evidence and a case to present for things that happen on the field. The FIA should be deciding these things on their own, and the penalty is the penalty.

  7. The lack of transparency is the real worry here. We saw last season calls by the stewards which were, to put it mildly, questionable but as usual they didn’t provide any real justifications. That was their right but it is not really helpful in such a sport as this where so much money rests on one decision made behind a curtain.

    Surely the FIA has learnt that lesson from last season and from Abu Dhabi in particular. If you want the refereeing system to be supported and honoured then justice has to be seen to be done. And teams should be allowed to put their case forward after the race and not have it dismissed in seconds flat.

  8. While this is definitely a deserved penalty, the idea that a racer would cut a chicane to increase the gap enough so the follower wouldn’t have DRS just underscores how DRS has too big of an effect on a race. It really needs to be dialed back to avoid artificial results. Perhaps it’s still too hard for drivers to pass regularly without it, but its effect should be diminished. Leclerc and Verstappen would have battled a lot more in this race without having DRS enabled.

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