'Incompetence': Former champ Fernando Alonso ridicules F1 officials
Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso has publicly slammed what he described as 'incompetence' from the sport's stewards after a controversial 12 months of motor racing.
Formula 1 and the FIA's race control operations have come under heavy scrutiny over the last year, with a string of contentious decisions culminating in the eyebrow-raising one-lap sprint to the finish to decide last season's champion.
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Constant complaints from teams and drivers ultimately resulted in FIA race director Michael Masi being replaced for the 2022 season, with duties split between experienced duo Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
However Alpine driver Alonso says the fact that driver concerns about safety at the prior race in Miami wer ignored shows there is still much work to be done to ensure drivers and the FIA are on the same page.
Changes will be made to the Miami circuit next season after concerns were raised by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Alpine's Esteban Ocon, both of whom crashed in a similar part of the course a fortnight ago.
This, in combination with a still inconsistent approach the applying the rules which Alonso believes cost him two penalties in Miami, was proof for the Spaniard that work still needed to be done.
“We saw a couple of things already that proves that we still need to improve a lot,” he said.
“(In) racing, you need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director – or trying to monitor a race.
“And I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment. I know there is a new race director here.”
Wittich has presided over the first five races of the season, with Freitas to step into the race director's chair this weekend for the Spanish Grand Prix.
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Alonso and Alpine were particularly miffed about two penalties the two-time world champion picked up in Miami.
The first was for a collision with Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly, while the second was for cutting part of the chicane and gaining an advantage.
However Alonso says he slowed during the lap to give the time saved by cutting the corner back, and that the FIA had failed to consider this when they handed out the penalty.
Claiming team data showed he had slowed sufficiently so as not to gain a lasting advantage, Alonso said the FIA had acted too hastily in applying the costly penalty.
“We believe that it was very unfair and just incompetence from the stewards,” Alonso said.
“They were not very professional in Miami. I missed one corner and then I gave back the time on the lap, but … they took the decision without asking [for] any proof.
“We came there, we showed them all the data. So, they said ‘give us five minutes’ and then they found themselves with their hands tied, probably because they issue the penalty already and they didn’t know how to get back from that document.
“So, it was very bad. It’s already in the past but it is something that should not happen in F1 with professionals and the standards that Formula One has right now.”
Alonso has endured a luckless start to his 2022 season, stranded at 16th in the standings having suffered some rotten luck to start the season.
The good news for Alonso is that both he and Ocon have shown pace behind the wheel of the Alpine - with the team yet to put together a full race weekend.
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