until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Alonso will raise F1 penalty bias concerns with FIA president

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Aston Martin Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso reckons the Miami Grand Prix weekend has provided an example of how he believes "nationality matters" in F1 investigation outcomes - and says he will raise his concerns with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Alonso, who loudly objected this year to penalties he received in the Australian Grand Prix and the Chinese Grand Prix sprint, indicated he felt singled out in the aftermath of Lewis Hamilton escaping without sanction after an opening-lap clash in the Miami sprint.

Hamilton dived down the inside of Turn 1 and, in taking avoiding action, Alonso collided with team-mate Lance Stroll, who was turning in from the outside.

The resulting chain reaction led to the retirements of Stroll and McLaren's Lando Norris, while Alonso himself and Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate George Russell were two other drivers whose races were obviously compromised.

Speaking to Spanish TV channel DAZN after the sprint, Alonso claimed Hamilton would not be penalised because "he's not Spanish" despite "ruining a few people's races".

Hamilton had already been cleared by that point, although the stewards' full reasoning for why was still a few hours from being issued.

The verdict read: "From the video evidence, it appeared that there were at least three collisions that occurred – the first between cars 14 [Alonso] & 18 [Stroll] and then between car 44 [Hamilton] and car 14 [Alonso] and finally between car 18 [Stroll] and Car 4 [Norris]. While it appeared to us that the incidents began with cars 14 & 18, the sudden and fast arrival of car 44 contributed to the various collisions. 

"However, we were not able to identify one or more drivers wholly or predominantly to blame for the various collisions or any one of them."

The stewards also indicated that their decision was influenced by F1's current policy of greater leniency for first-lap incidents relative to those on other laps of the race.

Speaking after the grand prix qualifying session later that day, Alonso had not changed tact.

"I had to open the gap [which led to contact with Stroll] because Hamilton was coming from the inside without control of the car. If I do that, for sure I get the penalty," he protested.

And he indicated that he stood by his original claim to DAZN.

"Yeah-yeah, sure. I do feel that nationality matters, and I will speak with Mohammed [Ben Sulayem], with the FIA, whatever.

“I need to make sure that there is not anything wrong with nationality or anything that can influence any decision - not only for me but also for the future generation of Spanish drivers, they need to be protected."

Further questioning on the matter was then cut off by Alonso's Aston Martin team.

But Alonso was seen early on Saturday evening in Miami emerging from the FIA's hospitality with Ben Sulayem and Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack.

The four-person stewards' panel for the Miami GP comprises members from Singapore, Barbados, Italy and the United States of America.

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