Penalty: Why Fernando Alonso lost seventh place

Penalty: Why Fernando Alonso lost seventh place
Written by insideindyhomes

( – First a difficult race with technical problems for Fernando Alonso, then more bad news after crossing the finish line at the Canadian Grand Prix 2022 in Montreal: The sports commissioners gave the Alpine driver a five- seconds time penalty, so that Alonso lost seventh place in the race and was only classified ninth.

Fernando Alonso in the Alpine ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo at Montreal 2022


But what was Alonso guilty of? The stewards of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) took offense at his defense against Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo on the penultimate lap of the race. Because between turns 10 and 12, Alonso made several sudden lane changes.

“Once had to [Bottas] even slow down and therefore lost momentum,” explain the sports stewards. “[Bottas] was at no time next to [Alonso]but we still consider the situation to be a clear violation of the rules.” Based on a precedent from Melbourne 2022, a five-second time penalty should be imposed.

What the sports commissioners justify the punishment

This was done with reference to Article 2 b), Chapter IV, Appendix L of the FIA ​​International Sporting Codex. Under the heading “Overtaking, vehicle control and track limits”, it says, among other things: “Only one lane change is permitted when defending one’s position.” And: “Maneuvers like […] Abnormal changes of direction that interfere with other drivers are prohibited.”

In addition to the time penalty, the sports commissioners awarded a penalty point. With six penalty points, Alonso is currently in P3 of the “penalty point table” in the 2022 Formula 1 season. Four penalty points have gone to his account since Miami alone. (Call up the complete overview of driver penalty points here!)

Alpine technique faulty from lap 20

If Alonso had known that right after the end of the race, his mood in the subsequent media rounds might have been even worse. But the two-time world champion also seemed to be served when he reported on his Grand Prix: the technology had already let him down in the first third of the race.

Alonso says he struggled with battery failures “from lap 20”. “The energy stayed away early on the straights, right after the corner exit.” As a result, he lost about “eight tenths per lap” and with it the prospect of finishing the race in Montreal in the top 3.

Race starts promising for Alonso

Because the Canadian Grand Prix had started extremely well for Alonso: Alonso had defended P2 at the start against Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari, but soon let Sainz go and set himself up for P3.

After an early pit stop by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, Alonso moved back up to second but then lost speed and dropped back to P4, from where he made the first stop on lap 28.

At this point it was already clear that the further course of the race would be extremely difficult, because the drive problem persisted. “We still tried to settle the matter, but that didn’t work,” says Alonso.

The podium is out of reach

With his actual ambition to achieve a top result, he had to end it. “Fortunately, we didn’t take the car out of the race, but still scored points,” says Alonso.

“Until then I thought we were fighting for a podium. Because at the start of the race I felt strong compared to Hamilton. We didn’t have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz, but we were good enough to control Hamilton and Mercedes.”

“With the drive problem, it was all about getting through for us,” says Alonso. In the end he was able to hold his own to some extent “only with DRS” and secure P7 on the track. Original sound: “I drove kamikaze-style into the curves in front of the DRS measuring point, because DRS was my only salvation on the straights.”

Alonso complains: Just bad luck, but good luck for the others

Because the course of the race didn’t play into his hands either. He was “unlucky” during the (virtual) safety car phases, says Alonso. “When we decided to pit stop, the safety car phase was just coming to an end. So we stayed out. Ten seconds more and it would have been enough for the stop.” But as it was, “everyone behind us was very lucky again”.

Photo gallery: Formula 1 2022 in Montreal: The most important thing about Sunday

What annoys Alonso the most: That the technology on his Alpine A522 has not held up. He speaks of “another problem with the reliability of the car with the number 14, and only there”. That was “disappointing,” says Alonso. And: “After that day, the bottom line is that I’m frustrated.”

“Because I’m here to try to do better than P6 or P7. I really think we were better than that this weekend. The fact that we didn’t finish on the podium here or before is because of reliability and maybe bad luck with that virtual safety car.”

“You can’t control luck. But the reliability of the number 14 should be a bit better,” says Alonso.

Alpine: No details on the Alonso problem yet

Immediately after the race at ‘Sky’, Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer did not know what exactly went wrong with the Alonso car: “There could be a leak in the air system, but we still have to take a close look at that.”

On the other hand, it is clear that his team had “higher hopes”. “The bottom line,” says Szafnauer, “is [das Ergebnis] but very good. We’re not fighting the top teams. And we scored good points against the teams that are our direct opponents.” The race result can therefore be classified as “really very good”.

However, the Canadian Grand Prix has not changed the positions of Alonso and Ocon in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship and Alpine’s position in the constructors’ championship.

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