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Formula 1

Alonso questions F1’s ‘direction’ amid penalty dispute

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Fernando Alonso has called Formula 1’s “direction” into question and says Thursday will be “an important day” for the championship amid a strange penalty dispute.

The Alpine driver lost an astonishing result in the United States Grand Prix after a post-race penalty dropped him from seventh to 15th, costing him the points he had earned with a remarkable recovery after an accident in which he went airborne and hit the wall.

Alonso was punished after a protest lodged by Haas regarding Alonso’s right wing mirror falling off, and the stewards ruled that the Alpine had been driven in an unsafe condition.

They hit Alonso with a 30-second penalty in lieu of a 10-second stop-and-go penalty despite criticising race control for not acting during the grand prix, as their view was that it is ultimately the team’s responsibility to ensure the car is running in a safe condition.

Alpine was left disappointed by the decision as it contends it “acted fairly and deemed the car remained structurally safe” in the wake of the Stroll clash.

F1’s rules do not allow time penalties to be appealed so Alpine cannot challenge the decision that way.

Instead, Alpine is attempting to launch a counter-protest: it has targeted the fact Haas submitted its initial protest 24 minutes past the deadline, which the stewards were aware of but accepted it anyway.

Alonso issued a short statement on his Instagram account thanking people for messages received on Sunday and Monday, and made it clear he was unimpressed with the FIA’s decision.

He said: “It’s one of those rare times in sport, that I feel we are all on the same page and share the same opinion towards rules and regulations.

“Therefore, Thursday is an important day for the sport that we love so much, as this decision will dictate if we are going in the right direction for the future.”

This is a reference to Thursday’s hearing at 6pm local time in Mexico, where there will be a video conference to decide if Alpine’s protest is admissible.

If it is, then there will be a separate hearing to actually hear the case in full.

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