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Alonso blames “extremely bad luck” for Malaysian Grand Prix retirement
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Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Mar 2013   |  1:47 am GMT  |  199 comments

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso blamed “extremely bad luck” for his second lap retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

The double world champion, who was competing in his 200th race, moved up a place to second at the start but broke his front wing when he tapped leader Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull at turn two.

With conditions still a few laps away from being suitable for dry weather tyres, the team decided to keep Alonso, 31, out on track to avoid having to make two stops in four laps. It was a mistake; the loads on the wing were too much for the damaged pillar.

The wing collapsed on the start-finish straight on the second lap and became lodged underneath the Ferrari. Alonso no longer had control of the car and went straight on at turn one and into the gravel, ending his race.

Given everything that he and the team had said in the build up to the season about the importance of consistency, it was a very rash gamble, when he could still have scored perhaps 10 or more points on a chaotic, pit-stop laden race.

Alonso said: “It was a very, very small touch, but enough to damage the front wing a lot. It was extremely bad luck in my opinion. We were constantly talking on the radio on the first lap. The car was behaving more or less well in the first two sectors and from the television the team saw damage.

“But we knew on lap three or four we would switch to dry tyres and if we could make it to then we could save 20-30 seconds in the race. To stop on lap one and lap three for the tyres is a little bit too much of a penalty.

“They said I didn’t have the front wing performance I should expect, but to see how the problem was going to develop on the next lap. Unfortunately on the back straight the front wing dropped. At that point we were five seconds before the pit entry and we didn’t make it.

“Looking now, after the incident, it was the wrong decision, but I think it was extremely unlucky – a combination of things that happened today.”

Alonso, who finished second in Australia last weekend, said that if he hadn’t retired, his Ferrari had the pace to challenge the Red Bulls for victory.

“I think we had a good car and I don’t think we were too far from the Red Bull pace, especially in the race,” he said. “They didn’t have the easiest weekend here in Malaysia. No one was especially quick, so I think we could really fight for the win with the Red Bulls.”

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said it was the team’s decision to stay out with damage rather than pitting.

“We took a risk that didn’t pay off,” he said. “The decision was from the pit wall. Obviously Fernando can feel it in the car, but he could not see the damage.

“We take the responsibility as the team. The ‘kiss’ [on Vettel's car] was unfortunate because we could have taken good points from this race. Fernando’s not happy to come away with zero points, but he’s positive and looking forward because he knows we have something to play with.”

Felipe Massa, 31, who started second but finished fifth, said that graining on his front tyres in wet conditions ended his hopes of challenging for a podium.

“I lost a lot of positions because of graining and a lot of time compared to the guys in front,” said Massa. “In the dry it was fine and the pace was good so if it was not for this problem at the start of the race maybe I would have had a chance to fight for the podium.

“When you start second and you finish fifth you cannot say you are happy. But if you see what happened at the beginning of the race then it could have been worse as well. It is important to bring points home and fifth after the first stint was not so bad.”

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199 Comments
  1. Scuderia McLaren says:

    “It was extremely bad luck in my opinion.”

    Huh? I thought Samurai’s didnt get bad luck – lol.

    But seriously, how does one have bad luck when they outbraked themselves and hit the leader, then not pit to replace when they had a whole lap to assess the damage and risk of continuing.

    He gambled and lost in T2 at the start. Then Ferrari gambled and lost on keeping him out despite a clear front wing failure and potential to go under the car. Not bad luck I’m afraid.

    They should have thought, “wow, we are lucky he made it around the first lap. In in in, change wing and we’ll go for pts now.”

    Gambling is no bad luck.

    1. ALL4IT says:

      Totally concur, the damages was most certain to fail, yet FA still on full speed to defend position, had he slow down a bit, he could have drag it to pit as it failed with 5 sec. to pit. then again he wants to push his luck to 3-4 laps means he will keep going as long as the wing still hanging. more like pushing his luck than bad luck!.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Funny really, last year it was always damage limitation.
      This year, the mind set is winning races. They took a gamble that it would hang on for a couple of laps and he’d still be in place to fight.
      Still, I’d rather he has problems this point of the season.
      As for Massa, over one lap he may have the measure of FA, but over a race distance…

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        HWS, what you say is true. Alonso’s pace is accessible lap after lap, race after race.

        Alonso seems to be trying harder? I think he should relax and let it come to him…

        Perhaps he likes the under dog tag, and we see that he has the car now, so go do it. You know?

      2. Yak says:

        I don’t think he’s necessarily wrong to be pushing hard right from the start. Aside from it being what everyone should really be doing, Ferrari have for once a decent car at the very start of the season. He needs to make the best of it while he has it in case later in the season things aren’t quite so peachy. A bit further into the season, despite all the whining currently, the other teams, Red Bull included, will have a better grasp of the new tyres, and their cars will of course continue to improve in other ways. Ferrari may keep up, they may even be ahead, or they might drop behind in the off-track race. So FA needs to take everything he can get now.

        I don’t think the tap with SV was a huge mistake as such. SV went right down the inside to cover himself and had to slow the car to make it. Alonso went in not expecting Vettel to brake so suddenly, and he had a fair bit going on around him at the time too.

        The call to stay out seems a bit misguided from the pit wall though. Alonso wasn’t really in a position to make that call, beyond whether or not he wanted to make an uninformed decision on whether or not to take a risk.

        It wasn’t bad luck, it was just physics.

        As for the underdog thing… maybe this year he feels more pressure than last year. After all, last year they started poorly and he basically had nothing to lose. The entire year outside of the car was basically spent talking about how bad the car is and how amazing he is. This year they have the car, so suddenly he has no real excuse for not delivering.

      3. quattro says:

        “As for Massa, over one lap he may have the measure of FA”
        I do not know about that. If I remember correctly, stats from prev three seasons strongly suggests that ALO destroys MAS also over one lap. Maybe MAS have a slight advantage (a few thousands of a sec wasn’t it?) over one lap, when the car is much easier to handle.
        In any case, as long as ALO continues to deliver on Sundays, I could not care less about the Saturdays.

      4. markymark715 says:

        Massa has was clearly off his game after his accident until the second half of last season. Now he seems to have his Mojo back is more like the Massa we saw in 2008 which will be a challenge even for Alonso to beat.

      5. Elie says:

        Well !.. Over this race distance Felipe beat him didn’t he.

        I said at the start if the year it would be very difficult for someone like Fernando to repeat last years performance and that despite Ferraris 138 being a much better car , wouldn’t it be ironic that he has a bad year & I see the cracks just starting.

      6. hero_was_senna says:

        Says something that Alonso had to be out of the race for Massa to beat him. Using your example, so did Chilton.
        Anyone would have beat him if they jogged round for 1 and half laps.
        I know I can provoke with my comments but people take them too literally

      7. quattro says:

        “Well !.. Over this race distance Felipe beat him didn’t he.”

        So, your memory buffer has room for outcome of one and only one race? That would explain a lot…

        “I said at the start if the year it would be very difficult for someone like Fernando to repeat last years performance”

        You are, as usual, late to the party. Fernando, said that before you.

        Just out of curiosity – what do you mean by “someone like Fernando”? Who else but Fernando on this grid have managed such a performance, or even shown any signs of being able to pull such a result, given such a package?

        ” I see the cracks just starting.”
        Or you are daydreaming…again.

      8. D@X says:

        Concur! So much pressure this year, it was unlike Ferrari or Alonso to gamble like that. I know he can get the best out of a really bad car but broken front wing…who are you kidding!!! Thats stuff for the Gods to pull off. They used most of their Luck last year, this year the car seems to be performing ok, maybe it’s beginning to get to him just a little.

      9. Lindsay says:

        I have never seen a front wing that broken last 3 laps. There was no luck in it. He was losing speed. In three laps 10 other cars would have past him.

        A lap 1 pit stop would have put him last with a clean track, bigger gamble would have been hard tyres after lap 1, but still if they did not work in 4 laps he still would have been 20 seconds off the lead. But better than 40 seconds that staying on inters would have meant.

    3. Rizal Ismail says:

      He did not hit Vettel, A slight tap in from Vettel right rear tires as he turned into turn 2 that cause the incident. Anyway, it is bad luck because it could be either way, it could be like what happened to Alonso during last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, where Kiki’s front wing sliced his rear tires. In both cases, extremely Alonso was having such bad luck.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Oh my god, Alonso hit Vettel when Vettel was already in the acceleration zone. Watch the footage. Alonso clearly misjudged it. He tried to get too close to Vettel to set up a nice run down into T4. He got greedy and paid the price. He is clearly desperate this year, especially with Massa doing him on on sheer pace for the last 4 quali sessions.

        Then Ferrari seriously gambled, they did not take a calculated risk, and paid an even bigger race ending price. Really the front wing is hanging off the car! they had a whole lap! It is beyond clear that Alonso should have pitted. The failure was inevitable and reckless to Alonso in my opinion considering that front wings get caught under tyres and there is then ZERO braking.

        But in the end, it all spawned from Alonso thinking too far ahead as usual. Trying to set something up before he even got through the corner.

      2. quattro says:

        The irony of things. It is almost entertaining to read your text, were you are mentioning the words “ALO”, “VET” and “greedy” and somehow get confused associating “greedy” with “ALO”.
        You can almost HEAR “greedy” screaming “I want VET, give me to VET!”. I think, WEB (and quite a few others) would try helping poor “greedy” get to the right address, a day like this.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Hey scud, you’re usually more reasoned in your thinking. The car had completed a lap at pretty much racing speed in second position, through high speed corners and a straight which has the same top speed as the one it failed on. I suspect the airflow from Webbers car pushed the wing to failure at the start of the second lap.
        Maybe both driver and team reasoned, it hasn’t failed now, lets keep going. If it had been a dry race, Alonso would have been in at the end of the lap.
        Re: Massa, he was in sixth with a healthy car. Do you honestly believe Alonso is worried about him? Alonso himself has acknowledged he is not the fastest qualifier but an incredible race driver. As far as desperation, not this man, he plays the long game better than anyone.
        Silverstone 2011 is high in everyone’s thoughts after Vettels display yesterday, yet people forget Alonso was overtaken in the early stages there by Hamilton etc, yet as the track dried he got stronger and stronger.

      4. Elie says:

        Absolutely spot on.. Not only that -Ferrari themselves got greedy because like I guessed at the time– they were gambling he could change to slicks on the second lap on the drying track. Very wrong!

        As for the Suzuka incident in 2012 it was covered a thousand times and it was very evident that he drifted across and all but forced Kimi off track ( probably unwittingly) and had it not been for his tyre blow out he might even have been penalised.

        People rave about his driving prowess and no doubt he is good. But at the very limit he is not as sharp as a few out there.

      5. Sebee says:

        Could internal pressure from “new” Massa be causing Alonso to try and outdrive his equipment?

        Has he ever started a season with an 0-2 quali result and his team mate ahead of him in the WDC?

      6. simon says:

        I think Seebee has hit on something!

      7. markymark715 says:

        As usual? Alonso is probably the best driver in F1 right now and is head and shoulders above most in the sport. Trust me is Vettel’s car no one would beat him not even Vettel or Hamilton.

      8. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Well Markymark715, the 2007 season with Alonso and Hamilton suggests otherwise. Ham was a rookie then and out qualified Alonso over the season and beat him in the WDC championship due to more 2nd places.

        Only silly first year rookie errors made Ham lose the title. Imagine what he’d do to Alonso now in the same car.

        Disclaimer: I am not a Hamilton fan at all. Just calling it how I see it. I don’t subscribe to the “Alonso is the best” theory. He just has great PR in the last 2-3 years.

        The Ferrari has hardly been a dog in Australia and Malaysia, and clearly without the “under dog” tag, Alonso struggles with the pressure. Vettel for example thrives on it.

        Again, to be clear, I ain’t a Vett, Ham or Alo fan. Raikkonen is my man.

      9. truth or lies says:

        “He did not hit Vettel, A slight tap in from Vettel right rear tires as he turned into turn 2 that cause the incident”

        Are you serious?

        Anyway drivers make their own luck, just ask Vettel or Webber for that matter

    4. Doobs says:

      If there’s no risk it’s not gambling. The team thought the wing would hold up long enough to make it to the first stops. It didn’t. Woop-de-doo. Not the worst judgement call you’ll see this year, but out come the haters anyway…

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        there is calculated risk taking and then there is reckless gambling.

        what ferrari did was reckless and negligent to Alonso. he is lucky he was not on a streek track, like Canada, on the back straight at 300kmph.

        A wing under the tyres there, no braking and straight into a wall at 300. Sounds horrific to me – think Robert Kubica Canada crash!

      2. Doobs says:

        With hindsight everything’s obvious I guess but I don’t accept that Ferrari kept Alonso out knowing the wing was going to break. would be reckless. But instead they would have looked at the telemetry and what they could see on their monitors. Alonso would’ve seen nothing at all – though he would’ve no doubt felt the difference and communicated that to the team, and would trust their decision.

        As Alonso said, many times we’ve seen cars with bits of bodywork flapping around (or even bits of artificial grass etc hanging off the side pods etc) without too much ill effect. Too bad it didn’t work out for them, it was a brave gamble and would’ve made the end of the race even more interesting.

      3. yugin says:

        “Not the worst judgement call you’ll see this year”

        You’ve already been proven right by a certain German :D

      4. markymark715 says:

        It was just reckless to leave him out I knew that immediately when I looked at the wing and so did Brundle. Not calling him in to pit was just reckless as it was quite clear to most watching that he was very lucky for the wing to stay on for even 1 lap let alone 3. Another mistake by the Ferrari team that may cost Alonso another title. Before you say he also was part of the decision to stay out remember he was driving and cannot see the wing to judge on the likelyhood of the wing failing.

    5. Anil says:

      He didn’t out brake himself. Check the footage out on YouTube but Vettel just didnt’t accelerate out of turn 2 for some time. Not sure if it was deliberate but that’s what caused it.

      1. Jazzda says:

        I’m convinced it was deliberate. It’s an old trick to force who is behind to lift by the time he would otherwise be accelerating. It’s maybe legit, but certainly not nice.
        I remember Prost complaining about Senna doing that all the time.
        This is not an excuse for Alonso, tho, as he should know he was fighting someone willing to do anything to win. He knows now, like all of us.

      2. Kimi4WDC says:

        Are you serious?

    6. Simmo says:

      Have to agree. While I am a full Ferrari / Ferrari drivers supporter, I think Alonso’s not getting us on this one. He and Ferrari messed up.

    7. W Johnson says:

      Well said…If Martin Whitmarsh made the same comments, there would be an avalanche of criticism levelled at McLaren on this website for not providing a more truthful assessment and ful of PR etc blah balh blah…..

      There was no bad luck, it was poor driving by Alonso for going into the back of another car made worse by a poor decsion to take a calculated risk that failed.

    8. zx6dude says:

      Scuderia McLaren, totally agree, no bad luck here. Gambling and bad judgement…

    9. Rod Aguirre says:

      Agree. No bad luck here, just the deserved result of an irresponsible gamble.

    10. KGBVD says:

      I am beginning to think that Alonso doesn’t actually understand what “luck” is/means.

      Something affects a Ferrari negatively = bad luck in the Alonso to English dictionary. Something benefits a Ferrari = hard work, determination, and fate.

      FA’s definition of “luck” is right up there with Vettel’s definition of a “mistake”.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        LOL

        So true. So true. So true.

        But I still love our 22 sociopaths they call “Formula One drivers”. All of them.

  2. Right says:

    It was just a dumb move by Ferrari and him following it.

    Everybody and their mothers knew the wing was going to slide under the car. So why didn’t Ferrari?

    1. Chris Chong says:

      Thank you for an amusing mental image of my mom, sitting next to me on the couch, shouting at the TV with her arms in the air: “THAT WING IS GOING TO SLIDE UNDER THE CAR!!! PIT NOW!!!”

      :)

    2. Nesto says:

      Well, Alonso can’t see his front wing and you expect him to go against the team’s orders ? In hindsight, yes that would have been the right thing to do. He was still in 2nd and keeping Webber behind and thats why they probably thought best to keep him out to make the strategy work.

      Several things pop into mind. I agree, however, this is one of those decisions that you just sit there and think “WHY FERRARI, WHY!??!?!” Abu Dhabi 2010, Canada 2012, now Australia 2013. From my tv here in America I can see all those were fatal mistakes. *sigh* Thankfully, its only the 2nd race and I really feel this could be the year as hes got a capable car beneath him.

      Lastly, can’t wait for these damn snowplow wings go away next year (they are right??) We’ve seen this happen several times where the wings got caught under both front wheels these past few years and of course, being that they’re so wide, wheel-to-wheel fighting has become much more unnecessarily dangerous. Just pure stupidy with these new wings and only add more to make aero so important.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        To be fair to Alonso and Ferrari, he had maintained second position through the lap. He had already been through several high speed corners without it failing and the previous straight has the same high speed as the one past the pits which caused it to fail. Everyone took a calculated gamble that it would last a few laps. After all if it had failed into the last corner, he could have swung straight into the pits.
        One other thing which I thought at the time, could the disturbed air off of Webbers car have actually caused vibrations which caused the failure if the wing?

      2. Kimi4WDC says:

        I hope you don’t work in constructions or anything involving human life with that reasoning.

      3. Elie says:

        You mean to tell me a world class driver like Fernando could not tell there was something wrong with his front wing by how his car was performing despite the wing dragging on the ground on one side and the other side a good foot or so up… Wow if that’s true the. He can’t be the driver everyone thinks he is.

    3. Laurence H says:

      My mum seemed very surprised when it happened…

    4. I will says:

      GREED & GAMBLE!!!

    5. Lee says:

      It was a dumb move by Ferrari in the heat of the moment. I think it was quite clear from TV visuals that the wing was going to collapse at any moment.

      Alonso however would not have been able to see that, and to his credit was able to drive it reasonably competitivelyup till then.

    6. Mark says:

      Agreed, you could see it coming a mile off but if it hadn’t broke and he’d won then it becomes a good risk.

      Hindsight is always great :)

    7. Andrew says:

      +1

      I was shocked that Alonso stayed out, I couldn’t believe it.

      Then my heart almost stopped as I thought Webber had hit his front wing & got a puncture.

      1. Kimi4WDC says:

        Or a bit flew directly into someone’s face.

    8. Doobs says:

      Hindsight’s great isn’t it?

    9. Random 79 says:

      If the wing had broken off before he got back to the pits then *that* would have been bad luck, but staying out once he got back to the pits safely was just stupid – that’s kind of a harsh word but there’s really no other word for it.

    10. Daninator says:

      +1

    11. alessandro says:

      …..because the team manager of Ferrari is Domenicali famous for his skills in planning strstegies. Till Domenicali will stay in Ferrari Alonso can forget the world Championship and Vettel and company disertare Ferrari as a challanger. Sad but true.

      1. James Allen says:

        Domenicali has nothing to do with strategy

      2. Søren Kühle says:

        hey James.
        In the light of this I Thought it would be cool if you Could make a piece on how the teams work on race day. Who is taking the decisions? how is the team structured, and how much strategy can the driver decide?

      3. DonSimón says:

        What nonsense.

      4. Stephen Taylor says:

        He might not be in charge of it but surely he has some influence in that regard? He is the team principal after all.

      5. Paddock F1 says:

        Agreed, Stefano is better known for his team management skills

    12. zx6dude says:

      Is THAT why my mom was shouting at the TV?!?!?!

      Agreed dumb move by Ferrari…

  3. Antti says:

    I like Kimi’s attitude on things like this better:

    “It’s not lucky or unlucky if something goes wrong, it’s clearly that we’ve done something wrong ourselves. If something breaks it’s nothing to do with luck it’s just that somewhere there has been a mistake or the part is not strong enough or something has been designed wrong. I don’t really put too much emphasis on luck.”

    Taking responsibility of your mistakes like that tends to guarantee you don’t repeat them. If you put it down as “bad luck”, you may fail to identify the root of the problem.

    1. Elie says:

      Great perspective – I keep saying this about Fernando / he just won’t admit he makes a mistake

  4. Bad luck? NO!!! another stupid mistake of much overrated Alonso, worst ever world champion (remember Singapore 2008).

    1. Michael Givens says:

      Now now calm down [mod] Overrated not at all, worst ever world champion wow you must be joking right? I can see you dislike him which I agree you have the right to but try not to hate the player but the game. His much much better than most F1 drivers out there bar Hamilton that is. I don’t like him also but i do respect him as a top driver period. Controversy oh yes but not overrated or worst ever world champion.

    2. Colombia Concalvez says:

      +1, but because it is Alonso they say it’s bad luck, i’m really tired of people overhyping Alonso

      1. Doobs says:

        No hype. Double world Champion and close but not quite for the last few years. Accept.

  5. Racyboy says:

    Not bad luck, just a bad call.
    Ferrari should know better. They had plenty of time to react. It seemed obvious on the run to t4 that Alonso has a serious problem.
    Amazed at this amateurish decision.

  6. John Marshall says:

    I call BS. Bad move and bad decision, more like it. Bad move on Alonso’s part to hit Vettel in an avoidable situation, and bad decision on Ferrari’s part not to call him in when it was clear that the wing was not going to last.

    Alonso seems really hasty and impatient in the first two races. He looks like he’s trying too hard right off the start. In Australia, he seemed like he was close to running into Massa in his hurry to get around. Same thing this time with Vettel. Running into the back of Vettel looked completely avoidable. This type of driving is not his usual style, it’s more like Grosjean of last year.

    Blaming it on bad luck is a poor excuse, in my opinion.

    1. Mingojo says:

      Perhaps we should have a look what Vettel was doing. Did he slow down?

      1. roryfireplace says:

        any thoughts that somehow a racing driver would say to himself ”i’ll just slow down here and try and let him tap me and maybe his wing will break!” is beyond ridiculous! it could have just as easily been VET with a sliced tire!

      2. Yak says:

        Of course he slowed down. He was covering the inside on the already tight 2nd corner of the race on a damp track. Evidently he had good reason to cover the inside too, as Alonso gave him a tap trying to put his car in the same place.

        Alonso’s done enough race starts and enough race starts in the wet to know better than to expect everyone to just fall into formation on the racing line and go about in an orderly predictable fashion. For whatever reason he just misjudged the situation and made contact. That said, he seems to prefer to go with blaming Vettel for going too slow through the corner.

  7. Jake says:

    Idiotic and dangerous! Absolutely no regard for the safety of the other drivers. When the inevitable happened and the wing collapsed that Ferrari became an uncontrolled missile. Webber was lucky not to be taken out. Any other driver/team would have nursed that car straight back to the pits. Who do Ferrari think they are that it is their right to gamble with the safety of others for the sake of a few point. The FIA should be asking Ferrari to explain their decision to allow Alonso to continue racing with such obvious damage.

    1. Chas says:

      +1

      I was staggered to see the pitting chance dumped when any damage in that highly stressed area was likely to cause exactly what happened – he was lucky to complete just that one lap.

      I was actually wondering if the stewards should have shown the black flag during the damaged wing lap.

      1. roryfireplace says:

        i have to admit, i hadn’t thought about why the stewards were sleeping on that issue…but you make a great point! when there is something loose on a car, it’s imperitive that they black flag it. in the interest of safety not only for other drivers but for the fans!

      2. Black and white diagonally divided flag would be more appropriate, meaning ‘there is something wrong with your car, you must pit’. Black means ‘youre out of the race’, a bit harsh if a pitstop for a new nose would fix the problem.

      3. Chas says:

        Agreed – I incorrectly believed that this was the value of the black flag -> Immediate pit and release if OK.

      4. Oh no, I’m wrong! Sorry – it is black with an orange circle (accompanied by the driver’s number) which means that you must pit as you have a mechanical problem. The black and white diagonal flag is for unsportsmanlike behaviour – perhaps should have been shown to a certain German this weekend, or another German in the past! I think these flags are underused… which is my excuse for confusing them :-)

    2. Peter Freeman says:

      First sensible point made here today. Whatever else this was, to all other cars around Alonso on track is was dangerous. The only ‘luck’ was that no one besides Alonso himself was effected.

      There should be an FIA safety call in a situation like this: Pit or be black flagged.

  8. Elie says:

    What annoys me about this guy is how hard is to say ” I made a small mistake” – we are all human we make them from time to time. Just say it and move on he would have alot more respect if he did.

    Yes the team stuffed up big time by not bringing him in. It wasn’t just a risk- it was plain dumb. Surprised because Ferraris strategy over the last few seasons has been really good. I think they got greedy and hoped to get him out on slicks and save a stop .

  9. LEM says:

    Because the great Alonso can still drive a car with half a front wing…or so they thought.

    1. Pete says:

      Killer Quote…….:)

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      He did, far better than Massa with a whole one. Trouble is, when that wing detaches and ends up underneath the car, even God would struggle with no steering!

      1. Elie says:

        How did he do better than Felipe.. He ran into someone and crashed out with no points.. That’s fantastic isn’t it.. You have serious Fernando issues mate

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        No I have serious misgivings about Massa.
        I know he crashed out, s*** happens, but with a damaged front wing he was holding second place, Massa I believe was falling backwards with a healthy car…
        My point was made in reference to LEM’s post, it wasn’t made seriously, jeez!

      3. Brad says:

        not just serious …VERY serious judging by all his Fernando posts

      4. Shame says:

        The point he was making is that after the damage he was able to hold off Webber until the wing finally separated while Massa was busy falling through the field.

        Not quite the “Fernando issues” you were speaking of.

      5. azac21 says:

        I think the “serious Fernando issues” are all yours mate.

        At the end of the 1st lap Fernando (with damaged front wing) was 2nd from 3rd on the grid while Massa (with no damage on his car) had dropped to 5th from 2nd on the grid.

        Deal with it!

      6. Rene says:

        his wing was not ‘damaged’ – he BROKE it.

    3. MW23 says:

      The fact that he was able to hold off Webber, re-pass him after he was overtaken is testament to his driving. Yes he made a mistake by touching the back of Vettel, but how he managed to stay in front of the Red Bull with half a front wing, particularly at turns 12 and 13 shows you his driving ability.

  10. dufus says:

    Alonso was fast even without the front wing !
    Scary stuff

    1. KRB says:

      Imagine if it was him out there in just the monocoque??? He’d be unstoppable! :-)

    2. Doobs says:

      Reminds me of Schumeister at Spa (I think it was) back in the day. Miles ahead of everyone in the rain, ran into the back of Coulthard while lapping him, lost a front wheel and still lapped quicker than than the rest on the way back to the pits and retirement… Legend.

  11. It was a bad call. There was really very little luck involved either way!

  12. KenC says:

    Hard to believe that the Ferrari brain trust thought that the race stewards wouldn’t blackflag them for driving around that way. If there’s a stupid driver/team of the day award it would go to Alonso and Ferrari. Seriously, what if Alonso had taken out Webber when he braked and lost the front end? It would have been like Grosjean taking out Alonso and Hamilton last year, and we know how everyone called Grosjean an idiot. Totally an unforced error. Alonso may come to regret those points thrown away.

  13. Val from montreal says:

    Mr James Allen , for once I feel bad for Alonso !

    That picture of him on top looks like a broken man , but hey im sure he still sleeps better than most of us at night … He is a multi – millionaire , famous and most likely has got everything at his disposal compared to us average joes …

    But he wont win the title this year either .. That bad luck he talks about was is own doing and his recent comments suggests to me that another winlesss Wdc campaign will do more damage this year to his confidence than any other season ….

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Except that 3rd Title, that is more important to him that any riches or popularity.

  14. I was surprised they did not give him the meatball

    Seems too early in the season to be taking risks like this, but it is hard to judge this choice without bias after the event

  15. JAMES!

    I have noticed a trend that whenever a driver celebrates a number of a ‘last race’ etc., they have bad luck and crash out.

    Schumacher, Hamilton, Barrichello, Coulthard, and now Alonso.

    There are also another couple of examples that I have forgotten.

    Would you or another reader be able to name them and also make a mini-article about it?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Might help if we actually understood what you mean by last race etc

      1. Presume he is referring to the fact that it was Fernando’s 200th race; I think he means races which are somehow a significant number for the driver.

        I’d wondered about this too, but I think we are being swayed by a few memorable examples. I imagine many other drivers had unremarkable 50th, 100th races, etc.

  16. Craig says:

    It was Alonso’s decision whether or not to pit. The team is just backing him up by saying they told him to stay out. If he’d have stopped twice in the first few laps, he’d at least have been able to get back into the points by the end. Everyone knew the nose was going to come off. At least he could have lightened up on the straights to keep the down force off the wings…

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Did they? After all, he’d already been through a number of high speed corners, along a 190mph straight and crossed the line still in second.
      Would the wing have failed if Webber had passed him earlier, therefore passing dirty air over it and it failing?
      All supposition

    2. Rishi says:

      What interests me is the way the team seemed to take responsibility for the mistake. Although ‘team’ may mean ‘team+Fernando’, it led some to claim that Ferrari had let Alonso down “not for the first time” (in the words of Andrew Benson).

      The puzzle for me is this. It has been almost universally accepted in Formula 1 for most of the last decade that Fernando is the most complete (or the least incomplete) driver in F1. This means he is a tremendous reader of a race (a race weekend even), and plays a prominent leadership role within the team.

      Yet when mistakes happen many people then go “oh it’s the team’s fault! Fernando denied again!” and you can’t have it both ways. You can’t always claim that he is the man calling the shots when the team win, and then always claim that it’s the team’s fault when he doesn’t. I can understand why he and Ferrari made the call they did but ultimately it didn’t work out and ultimately it does go down as a mistake, however big or small. And ultimately, having caused the initial collision and been on the circuit with the damaged wing, Fernando cannot be absolved of his share of responsibility for the mistake. Just as he is rightly attributed his share of responsibility in the team’s successes.

    3. Shame says:

      It was? How do you know that?

      1. Craig says:

        Because of the whole team, he was the one with the steering wheel.

    4. Yak says:

      If the team left it to Alonso to decide, then that in itself was a mistake. They were in a much better position to make the call than the driver who can hardly see anything out of the car let alone his own front wing.

    5. Colombia Concalvez says:

      +1

  17. JB says:

    Bad luck huh? LOL

    He misjudged the track condition and hit Vettel – his fault.
    The team misjudged the pit stop. The team never considered that after the wing came off there is a great chance of it getting stuck underneath the car which make the car unsteerable and unstoppable.
    Glad Vettel won it and maximize his chance against his closest opponents.

  18. dean cassady says:

    Ridiculous!
    Ferrari got away with the equivalent of murder!

    The Red Bull controversy is really, really handy for Ferrari. For Red Bull, did ultimately come away from the race with first and second.

    At Ferrari, we need the person who made the call to stay out, to stand up, and wear the ‘stupid’ hat; so we can all see who it is, before he or she gets rightly fired. No ifs, ands, or buts, there is no way around it, it was definitely only a matter of time the wing on Alonso’s car was going to break and go under the car; they were fortunate to get all of the way around TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THE PIT STOP!
    In fact, the gaping unforgivable defect of this call, in every way surpasses the Vettel decision; that made in the heat of the moment. But since I don’t want to lessen the outrageousness of that call, I’ll let the comparison slide. But make no mistake, it was THE WORST DECISION that I have knowledge of, in Formula One history, and I like to know what other non-shill contributors think about it.

    It’s a pity what happened to Alonso, but it happens. No big deal there, Alonso making a tiny error, and hitting the Red Bull. But not coming in, wasn’t a little error, it was INCOMPETENT.
    There was a long way to go, after the first lap, and plenty of opportunity for ‘anything to happen’ and ‘it usually does’, as the great MW was captured saying, on more than one occasion, I think.

    1. Random 79 says:

      100% behind you goferet, it was the worst decision I have have personally seen as well…but what if it was Alonso that made the call? Can’t see him getting fired anytime soon ;)

  19. holly says:

    It’s pretty simple why they took the risk, because pitting at lap 2 meant to do 2 pitstops in a row (pitting again later to change to slicks). We saw many times before that wings hold in place for laps, this time it didn’t, it was a gamble, sometimes works and sometimes it doesn’t.

  20. Rossco says:

    Bad luck? Ferrari could have killed someone yesterday by allowing him to stay out. The wing came off under the high pressure (end of straight at 300km/h), and it then became a rocket with no steering control. They put their driver and everyone else at risk today. They should be banned for a race.

    1. MelB says:

      Had it been Grosjean I am pretty sure he had received some kind of penalty…

      And for the records, I am not a Grosjean fan.

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      But you are forgetting one detail.
      The previous straight was higher top speed than the one it failed on.

      1. Kimi4WDC says:

        Dude, your logic is legend. Would you like a direction to common sense whereabouts?

      2. Val from montreal says:

        Yup , his logic is legendary …

        For Him , Hakkinen was over-rated …

        Lol

      3. Doobs says:

        Visibility is 20/20 from Hindsight Hill

  21. Pranav Haldea says:

    James

    Given what transpired in the race later on (with the Red Bulls etc.), I think everyone, including the stewards, seem to have forgotten that Alonso deserves a penalty for continuing to drive with a broken body part which was potentially dangerous for other drivers. We know that other drivers have been penalised for this in the past. Why not Alonso? Given that he had a DNF in Malaysia, in my view, a 5 or 10 place grid penalty should be given to him for the next race.

    What do you think?

    Pranav

    1. Craig says:

      I think he should get a penalty. Alonso will say he couldn’t see how bad the front wing was, etc. but there was no way it was going to last 2-3 more laps and the car should have been black flagged on the 2nd lap if there had been no crash.

      The Alonso vs. Vettel battle is quite intriguing. Hopefully Kimi or LH can get in the mix, but it will probably come down to FA and SV again this year. That’s why Ferrari gambled and tried to stay out. Had SV damaged his front wing, he would most likely have tried the same.

      And does anyone believe if SV had crashed that Alonso would not have raced and passed Massa against team orders for an extra 7 points??

  22. Panya says:

    Did anyone see Webber tap the Alonso’s front wing trying to pass him on the left hand side on the straight before the wing came off and went under his car or was it just me?

    1. Tommy says:

      We all saw it! Weber took Alonso out! Weber rumbled by Vettel. Karma!

    2. Dave says:

      Just you, I’m afraid. There was no contact. Webber came very close, but it seems that it was the sudden change in loading when Alonso braked that caused the failure.

      Had he not gone off I suspect that the stewards would have meatballed him anyway, that wing was clearly dangerous.

      The only “luck” was that Alonso didn’t take anybody with him.

    3. Elie says:

      I agree Panya , it was Webber on the outside left of Fernando as Fernando was straightening he ran over Marks front wing end plate..

      1. Elie says:

        *Correction Mark ran over Fernandos left front wing end plate*

    4. Shame says:

      There was no contact, I suspect it was the dirty air coming from behind Webber’s car that finally broke the wing loose.

  23. Timmay says:

    Extremely bad luck?

    Extremely bad driving more like it.

    His worst performance since….. Ever? Must be since ever.

    1. Yak says:

      His effort at Suzuka last year was pretty average too. Maybe go back a few more years to when he plowed into Webber’s crash site.

      A tap on Vettel’s car at a tight race start and then a terrible call from the team is hardly his worst performance.

      1. Timmay says:

        Yes it really was.

      2. Yak says:

        Well, I’m glad you clarified that for me.

  24. AlexD says:

    Alonso should blame himself and only himself. When it is the right call to change tyres earlier than intended, it is his brilliance, today…it is bad luck.

    So no, it is his mistake, actually two within one lap. And this is how you lose the title, vettel will do everything to kill for a point and alonso just lost plenty.

    And already now…Ferrari has a catching up to do, 22 points off and they do not have the fastest car.

    So….

    1. quattro says:

      “Alonso should blame himself and only himself. When it is the right call to change tyres earlier than intended, it is his brilliance, today…it is bad luck.”

      One small (still apparent you would think) difference between making right call to change tyres, and a broken front wing, is that in the first case he has a fair chance of making an assessment since he “feels” the condition of the tyres.
      In the case of broken wing, he is completely blind as he cannot SEE that wing – he can only make a judgement about the behavior /competitivness of the package and it was apparent that he was keeping the pack behind in spite of the damage.

    2. Shame says:

      Why is everyone assuming this was Alonso’s call. His statements do not reflect this.

  25. Vahid says:

    I think by keeping him out they also put other drivers in danger. He could collect Webber easily when the wing broke if they were a little bit closer. Actually I think Webber passing him was the reason why the wing fell off as when he pulled in front of Alonso it changes the air flow suddenly and shook the wing.

    James could you tell us if there is any rule against keeping out cars with damaged parts?

    Thanks for the great website :)

    1. Owen Brooker says:

      My immediate reaction when Alonso didn’t stop was that it would end in an incident. As was said he could have hit Webber, and with the nose raised in the air it could have been very serious. This is not the first time that a broken wing has become trapped under the car causing loss of control. It is not an “accident”, it is totally foreseeable. Surely a driver with a seriously damaged car is obliged to cease racing and return at a safe speed to the pits?

      Last year I admired Alonso for his ability to score points from weak positions. If Grosjean had been driving there would be calls for punishment for once again endangering others.

      I am sorry to say that if the FIA ignore this risk it could well be the cause of a serious injury. After all what it the point of all the crash tests on cars it you are going to permit a drive to race with a car that would clearly fail them?

      James your thoughts would be very welcome. I very much respect your website – It is my first port of call when I get the sandwiches out at lunchtime.

      1. Kimi4WDC says:

        Thank you.

  26. Monktonnik says:

    He should have been penalised for not pitting. It was clearly a dangerous situation and the team should have called him in regardless of potential strategy enhancements.

  27. oz says:

    It was self inflicted his team should have brought him in straight away the whole situation was dangerous and proved to be.

    In my opinion the team should be fined but hey hang on this ferrari……………..

  28. Craig Poole says:

    Yes agree that it was not bad luck, but you can understand what they were trying to do.

    If it works and Fernando gets another 3 laps in, then its call Genius,

    Its a fine line between success and failure, Ferrari gambled on walking the line and they fell off this time.

  29. Warren Groenewald says:

    I have to agree with other comments that it was more a poor decision than bad luck to stay out, although it was pretty bad luck that such a light touch caused such severe damage.

    Sometimes the smartest people in the world can make some pretty dumb decisions, and it should have been clear as day that the wing wouldn’t stand another 3 laps in that condition. With some 50 odd people examining all sorts of data on the car, how can they get such simple decisions wrong?

  30. goferet says:

    For sure it was bad luck Alonso’s wing didn’t hang on for a few more laps but there’s a theme developing between Alonso and the wet in that he isn’t a true out and out rainmeister.

    Yes, we have seen a number of mistakes from Alonso in the wet (most being slides off the track) but in this case he slightly tugged Vettel’s back.

    But hey, there’s a reason why Alonso is called the best all rounder in that he’s really good in very racing condition and not necessarily the best in individual conditions like the rain or qualifying.

    Regards the topic of luck, it seems not many drivers are having any luck on their anniversaries.

    1) Vettel got past by Lewis on his 100th anniversary in Austin 2012

    2) Lewis had a puncture on his 100th anniversary in Germany 2012

    3) Rubens finished 16th on his 300th anniversary at Spa 2011

    4) Schumi finished 7th on his 300th anniversary at Spa 2012.

    The only driver that has been blessed on his anniversary is Jenson who won in Hungary 2011 on his 200th anniversary.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      …and Jackie Stewart lost his team mate, Cevert, to a fatal accident at Watkins Glen in 1973. It was to be his 100th and final Grand Prix

    2. Mingojo says:

      Well I guess you didn’t watch 2012 Malaysia Gp!!! And about being a good qualifier, 17-2 last year against his team mate. If you want to be at the front row you need to have one of the fastest car. I don’t think Fernando has had it since 2007.
      And by the way, points are given on Sunday, not on Saturday. When someone say the fastest driver in F1 is …whoever, always laugh, because they talk about qualy, when you need to be fast is during the races.

    3. Colombia Concalvez says:

      By messing up Hamilton’s strategy

  31. Anton says:

    The person in charge of strategy for Ferrari needs to be fired! Period. Happens way too often to be passed off as “bad luck” any more.

    This is the only weakness in the chain.

  32. Robin says:

    You could make the case that both Vettel and Alonso are really feeling the pressure this year. It is an epic battle, Prost vs. Senna without the compelling personalities, and now, it’s Prost vs. Senna featuring reliability! So every position at every race is critical. If races at the beginning of the season feel like Brazil 2012 or Abu Dhabi 2010, it must be awful even for those guys. So you can see why they do what they do.

    Having said that it certainly does lack the class of Hakkinen/Schumacher (from the former anyway) but this is the real deal.

  33. Matt W says:

    I’m frankly amazed Ferrari were as stupid as they were to carry on with such a safety risk. I predicted the wing would come off when I saw sparks half way around the first lap. Ferrari are incredibly fortunate that they didn’t cause a very serious accident which could have injured their driver and others.

    Oddly I saw a whole raft of dangerous incidents that could have been avoided in that race. Countless unsafe releases, one of which resulted in contact, another nearly saw a wheel come loose in the pitlane (although credit to Button for stopping).

    Not to mention Webber’s quite disgusting shove on Vettel towards the wall which seems to have gone unnoticed in the team orders furore. It seems the F1 media only seem concerned with moves like that if it is Schumacher doing it.

    Complacency on safety is the obsolete worst thing F1 can be doing right now and I only hope the powers that be get this sorted before something terrible happens. Sadly I think this latest team orders controversy will hide the issues that really need addressing.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I don’t know if you’ve ever seen footage from the 1981 Canadian GP but Gilles Villeneuve had an incident early on that forced his nose up into his sight line. In pouring wet conditions he continued racing by “leaning his head over” to see round the obstacle.
      At the time it was considered crazy and maybe it says a lot about how PC F1 has become that a nose hanging off is now considered extremely dangerous, considering how safe cars have become, whereas back then, Villeneuve continued for a number of laps before the thing broke off. He finally finished 3rd.
      Danger? In 1982, we had 2 fatalities and Pironi suffered a career ending shunt.
      With massive run off areas, crash testing of chassis which is state of the art, materials that the space industry calls cutting edge, maybe we all need to take a reality check.

  34. franed says:

    Had it happened to a team down the back end of the grid it would have been a “rookie mistake by a rookie team.” The sort of thing one expects from an inexperienced driver. So as it’s Ferrari, maybe it never happened!
    I though Massa had a very good race.

  35. Peter says:

    James, sorry for off topic. Its a technical question: Would it be possible to put some search function onto this comment site? It would be nice to be able to search for e.g. driver names etc. among the comments and be able to read comments only regarding a certain subject, driver, team etc. Thanks.

    1. Leandro Guimaraes says:

      Try Crtl+F on your web browser.
      It should do the trick…

  36. Nano says:

    An interesting tech point (but will probably be lost in all the comments) but it is that the front wing only broke when Mark had moved in front. The very second he crossed over Alonso’s car line the turbulent air loaded the wing strangely and boom, game over.

    So technically you could say Alonso was unlucky to be passed on the straight if it had have happened in the braking zone his wing may have lasted a few laps more.

  37. F1racer says:

    Alonso hit seb’s behind, damaging his front wing.
    Team made a call to let him race knowing fully the extent of damage.

    Nothing to do with luck but just bad driving error and team judgement call!

  38. TimF says:

    I’m amazed he wasn’t black flagged, it seemed clear that continuing to drive a car in that condition was dangerous. Surely the FIA need to have a word with the teams to make sure they pit immediately in future.

  39. quattro says:

    Ferrari & ALO took the right decision, given the info available at the time – try to make 2-3 more laps, until time for slicks. ALO was managing the damage well and producing competitive times – he was even keeping WEB & company behind him! I guess, with the damaged wing, the F138 became F2012 and as those blessed with memory remember, he did cool things with that dog ;).

    Given what actually happened at lap 2, you can argue in either direction, but let us agree about one thing, the wing let go in the worst possible way. What are the odds of it (1) letting go AND (2) placing itself below the front tyres making the car impossible to control? Small enough I think and the upside was huge – keeping track position after changing to slicks, compared to being dead last in the case of pitting at lap one.

    With 20% of the kind of luck VET the greedy had when he did his silly mistakes in 2012, it would have worked just fine.

    1. Jake says:

      What were the odds of it letting go.
      It was obvious to everybody with eyes that the wing was badly damaged. It was not a case of if it fails but when it would fail. That makes the odds 1 in 1.
      Given that the wing produces more down force the faster the car travels you do not have to be an engineer to guess it will fail on the straight at high speed. Given the car is driving straight the chances of the wing going under the car are actually very high.
      The upside of this gamble was the possibility of a few extra points in a competition. The downside, worst case just kill a few drivers, no problem there are a few drivers still looking for seats in F1. You think the risk was worth it?

      1. quattro says:

        If we assume that the wing got damaged at T2, it is obvious that it managed to make almost a complete lap, including the fast sweeping corners and the very long back straight. So, given that data, your odds of 1 in 1 seem a bit greedy to me!

        You also seem way too greedy on the downside. Kill a few drivers? Have you seen what kind of crashes/impacts these cars can handle? Maybe the Ferrari is equipped with machine guns and rocket launchers these days (only for Alonso though), what do I know…

      2. Truth or lies says:

        People would do well to remember an errant car part almost killed one if its drivers in 2009.

        That wing was always coming off and the decision to continue was STUPID and all involved made a really bad call.

        It’s not bad luck either that Fernando broke his wing rather poor judgement.

  40. Sergio says:

    Alonso deserve more a headline than HAM with his Rossgate? Well Alonso definitely is the star of the show, the offical villain for the anglo lobby, not the HAM Nemesis but English lobby. HAM is not enough to defeat this giant, nor Dennis or whatever. Can you imagine if would be the Spaniard instead of VET? Yes you can, and you know. Is the “Alonso’s luck” now more important than all battles yesterday on the track? I ask for a bit of proportion, a bit of coherence. Red Bull & Mercedes are news, after their meticulous analysis could be interesting to know about “Alonso’s lucky factor”.

    1. Elie says:

      That’s just silly Quattro because Mark Webber ended up sunning over Fernandos front left wing end plate whilst he was desperately trying to keep him behind .

      It was stupid any way you look at it as so many people have suggested I don’t how anyone can see it any other way.

    2. TimF says:

      I get sick and tired of reading about how this has something to do with nationality. Most of the F1 fans I know support a driver for a number of reasons, his nationality usually being very low down the list. Comments like these are all too common these days where any sensible discussion seems to be drowned out by infantile noise.

      1. Sergio says:

        Your are absolutely free to feel sick or whatever you want because you are talking about feelings. The impact of news are measurable; headlines about a driver in a positive or negative way or silences or “noise” are equally measurable; the questions of journalists in a particular way are also mesurable; the silence about similar actions when the same in other driver was a nightmare is a fact, not an opinion or feeling. Let us analyze those things (not important for whom?) and we let you do the same about : “noise, luck, or whatever you want” Maybe you can discover a different world like Webber suddenly did.

  41. Cakes says:

    “extremely bad luck”? I think the words you are looking for are “utter stupidity”

  42. jeffwest says:

    Extremely bad call? It could be argued that coming in would have given him a decent chance at 1 point, where staying out gave him a lesser chance of 25. This early in the season, perhaps the latter was the better call after all? Still, I was screaming “pit” at the time, and I’m not even an Alonso fan.

  43. Oz Gizza says:

    Being an old petrol head,I surf the net
    offten thus I find your site above average
    and I would like to put my two bob worth if
    I may in regard to the above subject.
    There is no such thing as bad luck! One
    makes it own.
    Life thought me if you want a success in
    life you must take risk,however they are
    consequences attached to it.
    In Alonso case thus far,he has been a good
    judge of probabilities, should he continue
    he will do well.

  44. Anne says:

    Luck is a factor in sports, in F1, football or Rugby. Having said that you also have to make your own luck. Both Alonso and Ferrari team personel are not amateures. So they shouldn´t behave like it. It was not only stupid but also dangerous to keep a damaged car on the track.

  45. Snowy says:

    James – a point of correction.

    Alonso was not “competing in his 200th race” as you state. He was participating in his 200th Grand Prix weekend but only his 198th race. On two occasions he did not start a race.

    At Spa 2001 he did not take the restart (after the stop for Burti’s crash) which was classified as the only part of the race that counted and therefore the official start, hence an official DNS.

    At Indianapolis 2005 he was not one of the six runners who did contest the race, hence another official non-start.

    Sorry but that’s what the record books will forever show.

    He will (probably) start his 200th race in Bahrain, the same weekend as Mark Webber will celebrate his 200th start. (He also DNS at Indy 2005 and Minardi withdrew in Spain 2002 – so they are both 198/200 for their career.)

  46. SeanB. says:

    It wasn’t luck that the front wing folded under Alonso. It was only a matter of time before it actually happened. Alonso already lost a decent amount of front downforce and the only thing saving him was that clean air that gave him “something”, some downforce that held the car down.

    When Webber later put the pass on Alonso and pulled in front of him, that was enough to take air off the front of the car, possibly causing the nose to lift. This had the effect of causing Alonso to roll over his own wing. If it wasn’t Webber that caused it, there were plenty of people behind Webber that would’ve pounced.

  47. James D says:

    Don’t know how Alonso can say that was bad luck, he made a mistake hitting Vettel then the team made a mistake not bringing him in when it was clearly the sensible thing to do. Ferrari and Alonso only have themselves to blame.

    Certain other drivers get accused of never being able to recognise they are sometimes in the wrong, but oddly not Alonso even after incidents and comments like this.

  48. dingbat says:

    [mod]Alonso admitted he made a mistake and the team admitted their mistake. The “bad luck” was because their (rather dubious) call to keep him out didn’t pay off and also that such a small touch damaged the wing so badly (remember Vettels start in Brasil last year?). Had the call paid off or the damage been slight we would all be singing a different tune. As most have said, It’s a gamble and as with any form of gambling, it’s all down to luck, good or bad.

  49. Pitmonster says:

    Clearly Ferrari were hoping to delay the pitstop until it was time to change to slicks, but that front wing was dangerous, as we all saw. And with 20 cars behind him that could have been damaged by flying debris when the wing inevitably detached, why was the appropriate warning flag not shown?

    What happened to Alonso in Malaysia was an exact copy of the incident that killed Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994 (the day before Ayrton):

    Extract from Wikipedia :
    “He went off-track on the previous lap, damaging his front wing, but rather than come into the pits he continued since he was competing for the final grid spot. The high speed on the back straight, and therefore high downforce, finally broke the wing off, sending it under the car. His car failed to turn into the Villeneuve Corner”

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_R … #section_6

    Ferrari should be ashamed of themselves, and the sport should never let this happen again.

    1. Shame says:

      Great comment! Luckily for ALO there is ample run-off room in Malaysia, but I doubt the decision to keep him out would have been any different at a less safe track.

      I don’t know what mechanism should be put in place, but clearly the car was damaged and he could have easily taken out another driver when that wing failed.

      Alonso is my favorite driver, but he and Ferrari should have just brought him in and got on with the race.

  50. Richerdd says:

    That’s not “bad luck”, that’s being greedy and stupid, firstly he was a bit aggressive and then instead of pitting they decided that they want maximum points but could have pitted immediately and settled for maybe between 7th – 10th.

  51. F12012 says:

    Very bad decision by Ferrari, couldn’t believe it when he didnt pit

    It’s like them trying to slipstream each other at monza in qualifying, knew that wouldn’t work as soon as I seen it

  52. Paul D says:

    As has been said, isn’t hindsight wonderful.

    It seemed ok until Mark moved in front of him and disrupted the airflow over it, then it gave way.

    Ok we now know he should have stopped, but I’m just trying to defend Ferrari a bit by saying my thoughts at the time were the same!

  53. Dave Aston says:

    I just hope his luck improves in time to support Massa’s title campaign later in the season.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Lol, +1

  54. Grant H says:

    Was it really the teams decision to keep alonso out or did he ignore team orders too, with red bull gate so big in the news one could imagine Ferrari masking this

  55. adam says:

    James you forgot to quote alonso where he indirectly tried to accuse vettel of slowing down purposely! i call it sour grapes!

  56. Marcelo Leal says:

    No Alonso, you did a big mistake and your team did another.
    Simple like that. You are very aggressive at the starts, and sometimes you do a good one, and sometimes not.
    This time you crashed on the back of Vettel’s car. There is no half words on that…
    I think a two-times world champion like you should have the honesty to say so.

  57. Sri says:

    Alonso never admits his mistake like other drivers do (specifically Kimi). Now he is nicely putting the blame on Vettel for his own DNF seeing that anyway Vettel is getting bad publicity. He is a perfect politician and manipulates the situations to his own end. He says Ferrari is more united than RB – of course it is, if you are stated as #1 always, then it does appear more united. I think there are man selfish beasts in F1.

  58. Scott D says:

    Absolutely crazy race management from Ferrari/Alonso. I have been watching F1 long enough to know that a front wing being held by one upright at 200mph is going to fail very quickly.

    The team should be fined for allowing such a dangerous situation to continue into a further lap and it should have resulted in a black flag in any case, particularly while he was trying to race at full speed.

    One of the worst and most irresponsible “gambles” I have ever witnessed.

  59. Robert N says:

    If Alonso had continued on lap two (and possibly further), would the loose front wing not have represented a danger to himself and to other drivers? Hence would race control not have asked the team to pit him?

    What are the exact mechanisms here? Would they black-flag him at some stage?

  60. Sarvar says:

    If ALO admitted that was his fault/mistake he’d ve gained one more fan.

  61. Colm says:

    Anyone know the purpose of the 4 cables in this photo, running where the front wing pillars used to be?
    http://planetf1.com/photo-gallery/8593983/The-Malaysian-GP-In-Pictures#photo=3

    1. Yak says:

      If there was anything potentially suspect going on there, I imagine the other teams would already be on the case. But you’ll often see wires flailing about after front end damage, and in the case they’re mentioned by commentators, they’re supposedly for sensors on the car.

      I suspect the readings at that particular moment weren’t looking very good. Haha.

  62. Kumar Mani says:

    Talk about pressure your team mate exerts on you !

    In my opinion, As Massa is out qualifying Alonso for 4 th race in succession, Alonso is taking some bold risks in resorting to such strategies. If Massa was no where in sight for points or in grid position, Alonso and his race engineers would have taken a more conservative approach and salvage some points here.

    It would be interesting to see how Ferrari and Alonso in particular acts in future races if Massa continues to perform well.

  63. Methusalem says:

    I foretold back in February that Alonso won’t have the same degree of luck as last year. Bad news for Alonso fans, but this will be Alonso-Bad-Luck-Year!

  64. Chris Trebble says:

    More like extremely bad judgement from alonso and ferrari. Four laps with a front wing that badly damaged… Keep dreaming.

  65. CanadaGP says:

    There is some mis-interpretation going on here. Alonso is saying that in spite of what he felt to be a light blow to his car, it was bad luck that the wing completely failed. He was not blaming the contact on bad luck. He was not blaming the decision to keep going until the wing fell off as bad luck.

    You also have to keep in mind that in Latin culture the role of luck is different than in Anglo culture. There are both language and cultural differences.

    I think the driving and pit wall decision making were too aggressive in hindsight.

    1. puffing says:

      Exactly as you say. Thank you so much for the comment. I stopped writing here because most of the comments on Alonso (and other drivers) only reflect irrational impulses for or against.

    2. puffing says:

      It is as you say. I had stopped writing here because most of the comments on the pilots were just caused by irrational phobias and accessions. Thank you very much for your comment.

  66. JohnBt says:

    Simple fact, Alonso was too eager and made a mistake. If only his head is in the frame for damage limitation he would have have put up a good fight or even win. Shucks it’s an iffy.

  67. Jim says:

    From the article, Alonso said: “Unfortunately on the back straight the front wing dropped. At that point we were five seconds before the pit entry and we didn’t make it.”

    Is his memory bad or is mine? I could have sworn the wing came off at T1, several seconds *after* the pit entry.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      You a right. Not sure what Alonso is saying. Wing finally came free at end of straight just before T1.

  68. magic carpet says:

    The definition of “bad luck” is gambling and losing, so Alonso’s statement is correct. I expect to see a lot of bad luck in ’13.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      there is calculated risk taking and then there is reckless gambling.

      what ferrari did was reckless and negligent to Alonso. he is lucky he was not on a streek track, like Canada, on the back straight at 300kmph.

      A wing under the tyres there, no braking and straight into a wall at 300. Sounds horrific to me – think Robert Kubica Canada crash!

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