Alpine driver Fernando Alonso was handed a five-second post-race penalty which dropped him out of the points at the Miami Grand Prix and took aim at the stewarding ahead of his home Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend
Last Updated: 20/05/22 12:32pm
Fernando Alonso has questioned the professionalism and competence of the stewards in Formula 1 after being handed what he felt was an unfair penalty in the Miami Grand Prix two weeks ago.
The two-time world champion was punished post-race with a five-second penalty for gaining a lasting advantage for going off track at the chicane, dropping him from ninth to 11th and seeing him finish outside the points.
Alonso’s Alpine team argued the Spaniard had in fact slowed up enough to relinquish any advantage following him cutting the corner but to no avail, and the 40-year-old aimed criticism at the officials ahead of his home Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend.
“We believe that it was very unfair, and that it was just incompetence from the stewards,” Alonso said. “They were not very professional, I think, in Miami.
“I missed one corner and then I gave back the time on the lap but after you miss one corner there is the sector time just after that corner [Alonso then set the fastest middle sector]. They saw the pink colour [for the fastest sector on the timing screen] and they took the decision without asking for any proof.
“We arrived after the race with all the proof of giving the time back and they were just packing up. They were not even in the room. We came there, we showed them all the data, they said give us five minutes and then they found themselves with their hands tied because they issued already the penalty and didn’t know how to get back from that document.
“It was very bad. It’s already the past but it is something that should not happen in Formula 1, with the professionalism and standards that Formula 1 has right now.”
We believe that it was very unfair, and that it was just incompetence from the stewards. They were not very professional, I think, in Miami.
Fernando Alonso on his costly five-second penalty
The stewarding was not the only aspect of the last race Alonso took umbrage with, questioning the knowledge of Niels Wittich, who took charge as Race Director in Miami and has previously served in the same role in the German touring car series, the DTM.
The role is being shared between Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will oversee this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, as part of the reforms which were introduced following Michael Masi’s departure ahead of the 2022 season.
However, Alonso believes there are still improvements which need to be made, citing incidents from the inaugural Miami race as examples of that.
“We saw a couple of things already [in 2022] that proves we still need to improve a lot,” Alonso said. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a Race Director or trying to monitor a race. I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment.
“I know there is a new Race Director here. I think Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and other categories at the top level, and I think that will already improve things.
“The accidents we had in Miami, with Carlos [Sainz] and Esteban [Ocon], I think we pushed to have some barriers there and tyres or Tecpro and no-one did anything. When you don’t have that knowledge of racing, it’s difficult to talk.”