There has been an interesting reaction in Italy to Fernando Alonso’s accident, which put him out of contention for today’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Alonso lost control of his car at Massanet corner, as he braked from 170mph down to around 60mph for the left hander. He got off line and smashed into the barriers,
“It was my fault, ” he said. “I locked the left front wheel and the car went into the guard rail. Perhaps the hard tyres needed another lap to get to the optimal temperature and perhaps the track wasn’t at its best. It’s a shame. With the car I had I’ve missed an opportunity.
“But I want to get into the top ten and get some points. The numbers say that usually there are 8-10 retirements here and we need to be right there picking up the pieces.”
Alonso had just set the fastest time of the session to that point when he crashed.
In Italy the media has reacted by questioning whether the pressure of carrying Ferrari’s hopes is getting to him. They have also highlighted the absurdity of the spare car rule, which means that the public doesn’t get to see one of the stars they came for.
The Italian press put the accident in the context of other Alonso errors this season. In Gazzetta dello Sport, they pull him up for spinning at the start in Melbourne, going out in Qualifying 1 in Malaysia after misreading the weather conditions and of course the jump start in China.
“This is the fourth error in six races,” says the paper. “But he denies that behind it all lies the super-pressure of having to win for Ferrari.”
Il Giornale is stronger, “In one moment of folly the fake champion has burned months and months of work of the technicians from Maranello. This is the most serious aspect of an absurd incident, which compromises the whole season.”
While Corriere dello Sport’s headline says it all, “Alonso – what a disaster!”
All make reference to the rules preventing the use of spare cars. Until three years ago, Alonso would have been able to jump into the spare and be in the show, rather than skulking around the garages. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali says that he is going to raise the issue with the team’s association, FOTA.
Like many rules in F1, the ban on carrying a third chassis was introduced to save costs. By not transporting a spare car and the mechanics to service it, the teams save around £350,000 a season, according to team managers I sounded out.
On days like this the fans are entitled to ask whether that is worth it.