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Formula 1

Alonso’s latest frustration with F1 officials explained

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
5 min read

Fernando Alonso felt Kimi Raikkonen’s pass in the United States Grand Prix was illegal because Alonso believes he did not force Raikkonen off-track.

Raikkonen tried to overtake Alonso around the outside at Turn 1 early in the American race and the two made contact on the exit of the corner, with Raikkonen running all four wheels onto the kerb and outside the white line in the process.

He then held on to complete the move into the sweeping Esses that follow Turn 1.

Alonso was angered by the pass and was adamant Raikkonen needed to give him the position back but the incident was only noted and never investigated by the stewards.

The two-time world champion claimed after the race “the rules are a little bit random” and even said that the fans trackside “saw a show that they didn’t deserve”.

Alonso replied bluntly when asked by The Race later to explain specifically why he was so upset with how the incident was handled: “I think he overtook me outside the track.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Race Day Austin, Usa

Asked as a follow-up by The Race if he disagreed with the FIA’s apparent interpretation that he could have left more space and forced Raikkonen wide, Alonso said: “No, but obviously it’s their decision. So, we have to accept it.

“I don’t know if you saw the whole race, but it was the same incident in lap one, Lando [Norris] in Turn 12, on the inside, overtook [Carlos] Sainz – Sainz went off track, retook the position and it was fine [although Sainz was later told to hand the place back].

“And then on the last part of the race when I overtook [Antonio] Giovinazzi for the second time, I brake on the inside in Turn 12. Again, I ‘forced’ him off track. He regained the position off track – that time he has to give me back the position.

“So, in a way, you always ‘force’ a guy to go off track when you brake on the inside. You commit to an overtake. And they are on the outside; they need to decide if they are backing off or keeping full throttle off the track, outside the circuit.

“It’s what Sainz did, Giovinazzi did, I did. We have to give back the position because you are running full throttle off track.

“But Kimi didn’t. So that’s why I thought that it was not consistent.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Race Day Austin, Usa

Alonso said he did not really care about the incident in the end as he was forced to retire with a rear wing issue anyway and he was only fighting for a possible 10th place anyway.

But he made it clear he is still unhappy with the quality of F1’s officiating.

Alonso has previously complained about the advantage he felt rivals had gained earlier in the season by abusing track limits but his objections had been ignored.

On the opening lap in Russia, he cleverly exploited the FIA’s rules gaining some positions on the approach to Turn 2 by positioning his car and braking in a way that he knew would mean he needed to use the run-off, then rejoining behind the car he was specifically behind at the moment he went off-track, which is all the rules require.

Then he claimed at the following race in Turkey that what he did in Sochi was “to confirm when I do things they have a different behaviour and a different repercussion on the following event”, claiming that F1 has “different rules for different drivers”.

Alonso said that F1’s rules are “very clear” and need to be better enforced.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship United States Grand Prix Race Day Austin, Usa

He said “I guess so” when asked if the consistency of the officiating is worse now than previously in his career, and added: “It depends who does it. In Sochi, I missed Turn 1 and in Turkey Thursday it was a hot topic.

“Here, without forcing people wide, there were like three cars in Turn 1 going out by their own decision.

“So, let’s see if Mexico is a hot topic. Or it’s just all fine because Fernando didn’t make any off track [move].”

During Alonso’s fights with the Alfa Romeos in Sunday’s race, he massively overshot the hairpin trying to pass Giovinazzi and went deep into the run-off.

But he stayed ahead of him and only dropped back behind when ordered to.

Alonso said that he didn’t make that move to prove a point and insisted he and Alpine respect the FIA, after his team also engaged in a sarcastic exchange with FIA race director Michael Masi over the Raikkonen incident.

“When I overtook Antonio, I braked very late into Turn 12, and I missed the corner on exit,” Alonso said.

“So when the team told me that I need to give back the position, I understood it was the right thing to do and it seemed logical to me because I braked too late.

“If it was a wall then I will never brake that late. So, I took advantage of going off track and I had to give back the position, so I slowed down.

“Unfortunately I was three seconds in front of him already, so I lost a lot of time, but I understood the decision. And then Giovinazzi did the same thing and he had to give me back the position.

“It comes back to my original point that with Kimi it felt strange. But no, I was not trying to prove anything.

“I was just trying to recover places. P10 was the real target, and we tried.

“And we respect everything that the FIA says.”

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