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Alonso punished for pit lane near miss
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Alonso punished for pit lane near miss
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2010   |  10:36 am GMT  |  19 comments

There was a curious incident during qualifying when Fernando Alonso exited his pit garage and almost drove straight into Nico Rosberg.

Alonso: Near miss with Rosberg (Darren Heath)


The German braked hard and an accident was avoided, but Rosberg called for a penalty for the Spaniard over the radio and the FIA stewards decided to fine him and the Ferrari team $20,000 for unsafe release. It was a bit like a footballer who calls for a fellow professional to get a yellow card.

Operationally it was unusual that there was no Ferrari mechanic in the pit lane in front of the car, looking to see if the coast was clear and Alonso came out of the garage very quickly.

Rosberg said afterwards, “It’s a serious situation. There were some photographers standing there and if we collide, parts start flying and it’s dangerous for them, very dangerous. I think it’s correct that they got a fine and we need to do better next time. It’s not good.”

The incident comes three weeks after Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were both cautioned for dicing in the pit lane in the Chinese Grand Prix. Safety in the pit lane has always been an important thing in F1 and the $20,000 fine indicates that the FIA wants to remind the teams and particularly the drivers, to take it seriously.

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19 Comments
  1. Nick Stewart says:

    Although I am not an Alonso fan, it seems a bit tough for him to be fined and not the Team. No car should be able to leave the pit without being directed to do so by the Team. Also $20,000 is such small change for most drivers I can’t see it acting as a deterrent. They should have dished out a punishment that would have hurt the Team. Pitlane safety is as important as driver safety, Hamilton ( and I’m a huge fan )and Vettel should have had a bigger punishment for the incident in the last race too.

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  2. Matt says:

    Does $20,000 really matter to a team with Ferrari’s budget?

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    1. Bevan says:

      I’m on 60k a year & I still feel like weeping if I get a speed cam ticket for $80.00.I’m sure someone in Ferrari will feel the same way.

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  3. michael grievson says:

    When a team/driver are fined what does the FIA do with the money? Keep it? Donate it to charity?

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  4. Istapol says:

    Bad title, James. Alonso was not punished, Ferrari was. In this case the driver could not do anything, the mechanics gave him free way (wrong decision, but Ferrari decision, not Alonso’s). In Shanghai, Mr. Hamilton drove like a mad outside the pitlane track, where all the mechanics stayed . It was Mr. Hamilton’s decision and he had to be punished (and we all know what happened).

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    1. Aderac says:

      think you’ll find it was vettel who was pushing hamilton towards the mechanics when he realised he was there, that was dangerous!

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      1. Phil C says:

        Agreed, I don’t think it was Hamilton’s decision. If he’d braked then, there was a chance Vettel could have shot over to the right and into mechanics, or their wheels could have become tangled, leading to one huge accident. When you look at the replay, you see the space on the left of Vettel, you have to ask why he squeezed Hamilton over – there was enough room for both cars to drive safely side by side without crossing the blue line, until one could back out.

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    2. Galapago555 says:

      Yeah, you’re right. We all know how different things are for race stewards and FIA, just depending on who’s at the wheel. If any driver or if Mr Hamilton. It’s sob obvious…

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  5. Fairnando says:

    $20,000 fine?
    If FIA takes safety seroiusly it should be more than just a fine.

    Oh but its the Spanish GP…

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    1. "for sure" says:

      If it had been a Lotus or a Virgin I wonder what the penalty would have been?

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  6. Andy C says:

    I’m not a big fan of fernando but I have to agree with some of his comments. I thought the lewis and seb incident was much worse as they knew each other where there.

    Generally though the stewarding has been much more consistent this year.

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  7. He wasn’t punished, James, he was fined. A trifling amount for someone on his salary.

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  8. hunnylander says:

    Ferrari was fined, but Alonso wasn’t punished, neither reprimanded.

    There was no unsafe release in China by McLaren and RBR.

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  9. drums says:

    The title is not only fully wrong but misleading. Ferrari has been fined, not Alonso. Ferrari has been fined for letting Alonso getting out from inside the team pit. Given that the pilot has not visibility at that place, and giving that F1 cars cannot turn from there without invading the free corridor, it is the responsability of the engineers but not the pilot to let the pilot to go out. James, I sincerely think the title is intended to be sensationalist.

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  10. m de p says:

    i think it was james honest mistake. He is overworked during the gp weekends.
    I think, the penalty is fair, and alonso getting away, its right as well. He didn’t do anything wrong. It was a team mistake.
    Rosberg remindes me of the kid at school that was always telling the teacher, what the other pupils were doing. Pathetic. Teacher’s pet i think you call it.

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  11. Rich C says:

    $20k ?? Less than a drop in the bucket! Fines are hogwash. You need to DQ somebody if its serious, otherwise…

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  12. steve says:

    Ummm,so why were Mclaren and RedBull not fined for jousting in the exit then?????
    As for Rosberg m de p has it in one “teachers pet” springs to mind,still karma also comes to mind…….the er Spanish Grand Prix…for Rosberg?
    Teachers report may include ” needs to try harder”.

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  13. Robert Powers says:

    “Safety in the pit lane has always been an important thing in F1”

    Only since Imola 1994.Before that it was definitely Katy bar the door.

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  14. AlexD says:

    Why my comments are never published? I am always super polite and positive:-)

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