Fernando Alonso has lost his United States Grand Prix points finish following the Haas Formula 1 team’s protest against his Alpine and Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.
The Red Bull action was dismissed, but Alonso has been given a 10-second stop/go penalty converted into a 30s time penalty as it couldn’t be taken during the race.
That drops him from the seventh place he had heroically achieved following his wild airborne crash with Lance Stroll to 15th place.
Haas lodged two protests after the Austin race because it felt Perez and Alonso were permitted to continue with unsafe car designs.
It has been frustrated by race control’s handling of car damage this season as three times its driver Kevin Magnussen was forced to pit after receiving a mechanical warning flag because of front wing endplate damage.
After the second time this happened, Haas sought to discuss the matter with the FIA and argued the construction of the wing is safe when the endplate is partially dislodged.
But when Magnussen damaged his front wing in the same way again in Singapore he received another mechanical flag.
Haas was then left frustrated when it felt Perez and Alonso had got away with the same offences in the US.
Perez picked up front wing endplate damage after hitting Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap but was left free to continue until the endplate broke off, while Alonso’s right wing mirror was apparently damaged when his car went airborne in a dramatic clash with Lance Stroll then and later in the race the mirror came off towards the end of the back straight.
Haas lodged separate protests against both cars, both of which were deemed admissible by the FIA stewards and led to full hearings.
The outcome of the Alonso case was that he should have been called in for the mirror situation to be attended to and therefore a penalty was merited.
The stewards noted that race control should have put the warning flag out to Alonso once contacted by Haas.
“The stewards are deeply concerned that car 14 was not given the black and orange flag, or at least a radio call to rectify the situation, despite the two calls to race control by the Haas team,” said their report.
But they ultimately determined that it was mainly the team’s responsibility to ensure the car was in a safe condition and therefore imposed the penalty.
Alpine is unable to appeal the decision because it’s a time penalty that has been applied to the race results.
In the Perez case, the officials were satisfied that Red Bull had been able to quickly prove to them that the car was not in an unsafe condition.
FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer told the stewards “that after the endplate had fallen off, Red Bull had contacted him and sent him detailed photos of the front wing.
“Mr Bauer determined that the car was not in an unsafe condition. Mr [Nikolas] Tombazis [FIA single-seater technical director] agreed that the car was not unsafe.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had said earlier on Sunday evening: “The piece of the endplate came off. At that point the wing was structurally safe.
“We worked with the technical delegate to show him that structurally it was sound and they were happy with that.”
Though Alpine still scores as Alonso’s demotion moves his team-mate Esteban Ocon from 11th to 10th, its lead over McLaren for fourth in the constructors’ championship comes down to six points.
Sebastian Vettel rising from eighth to seventh means Aston Martin is now just one point behind Alfa Romeo for sixth in the standings.