Alpine’s CEO Laurent Rossi has published a statement calling for a “more fair” Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 weekend after expressing his displeasure with Fernando Alonso’s Miami penalty.
Alonso finished eighth on the road in Miami, but was initially ranked ninth due to a five-second penalty for colliding with Pierre Gasly, which he accepted and apologised for.
However, he then plummeted to 11th place after receiving his second five-second penalty of the season. This was for gaining track advantage by avoiding the chicane on lap 54 of 57. Alonso sped through the run-off, gaining valuable time.
The Alpine driver quickly recognised the error and raised his hand and noisily elevated it after exiting the next curve onto the penultimate straight, which Rossi claims should have been enough to escape a penalty.
Rossi voiced his disappointment in a statement released by Alpine after the race, stating that the “disappointing” penalties cost his team a “deserved double points finish.”
“This one is certainly difficult to accept since Fernando handed back the time during the lap and we were not able to present the evidence to clarify the particular situation before the penalty was issued,” said Rossi.
“With the opportunity to explain, we’re very confident Fernando would have kept his ninth place.”
Rossi also mentioned Esteban Ocon, who had to withdraw from qualifying after crashing in final practise.
In the third free practice, Ocon collided with an unprotected concrete wall and fractured his chassis, less than 24 hours after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz crashed in the same spot and the FIA refused to put a Tecpro barrier.
According to Rossi, the damage would not have been as serious if “adequate safety precautions” had been in place. It comes after Alpine team leader Otmar Szafnauer said after the race that things should be modified for next year’s event.
Rossi’s statement alluded to another issue, which is that Alonso was impeded in qualifying and denied a spot in the top-10 shootout.
“We’ll go again next weekend in Spain where we’re determined to piece together a much slicker and, a more fair, race weekend and demonstrate the real potential of our package.”
Alonso was eighth on the route to a points finish at the time of the second infraction. He was chasing Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo and attempting to draw away from Mick Schumacher’s Haas.
Alonso was two seconds behind Bottas and half a second ahead of Schumacher as they approached the slowest stretch of the race.
By cutting the chicane, Alonso unintentionally set the quickest middle sector time of the race, reducing the deficit to Bottas to about 0.9s while increasing the gap to Schumacher to 1.0s, thereby placing him out of DRS range.
Following that, Alonso’s teammate Ocon launched an attack on Schumacher.
Alonso’s lead over Bottas swiftly increased to 1.7 seconds down the straight, while Schumacher’s was only 1.2 seconds. He did not give back all of the time gained, even if it was only a few tenths of a second, according to the timing data available.
After crossing the finish line eighth on the road, his five-second penalty relegated him to ninth, 0.237 seconds ahead of Williams driver Alex Albon.
While a five-second penalty for such little amounts of time may appear punitive, there is a case that Alonso kept a lasting advantage.