Alonso fumes as title rival Hamilton gets away with it
McLaren
Alonso fumes as title rival Hamilton gets away with it
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jun 2010   |  10:08 pm GMT  |  596 comments

One of the features of the European Grand Prix was Fernando Alonso’s anger at the actions of Lewis Hamilton when he safety car was deployed and at the length of time it took for the stewards to deal with it.

Alonso has tonight accused the stewards of “manipulating” the race, while Ferrari said it was a “scandal”.

Alonso feels he's not on a level playing field (Photo: Ferrari)


On lap 9, the safety car was deployed to neutralise the field following Mark Webber’s heavy accident. Hamilton passed the safety car, just, after the second safety car line, in contravention of the rules. The timing of the safety car going out was odd as its objective is to pick up the leader and he had already gone through.

Alonso was right behind Hamilton in third place when it happened, but whereas the McLaren was able to drive around to the pits at his own pace, Alonso had to follow the safety car and lost time and ultimately, track positions too. .

Alonso radioed his team immediately to tell them that Hamilton had broken the rules. But it was not until lap 21 that it was announced that Hamilton was under investigation by the stewards and a further four laps until the penalty was judged. It was quite marginal, but the overhead shot is conclusive and the stewards will have been able to see that straight away, once they got around to looking at it.

In all that elapsed time, the field behind third placed Kamui Kobayashi had been left way behind Hamilton and so when he served the drive through penalty, he was able to rejoin ahead of the field and hold his second place. Had he observed the rules he would have finished eighth, in Alonso’s view.

Alonso is angry not just because he lost points – he could have been second or third today- but also because the championship battle is now becoming clearer and Hamilton is one of Alonso’s key title contenders, along with Vettel. And this was an occasion when Hamilton took an advantage of a misdemeanour to open up a larger lead over Alonso, now 29 points.

“It’s a shame, not for us because this is racing, but for all the fans who came here to watch a manipulated race,” Alonso said.

“We were running well, in third after a good start. Then the safety car came out, which wasn’t too good for us, but Hamilton overtook the safety car, something that I had never seen, overtaking the medical car with yellow flags. We were a metre off each other, and he finished second and I finished ninth.

“This race was to finish second. Then with the safety car I would have finished where I finished in ninth, and Hamilton in eighth. But here, when you do the normal thing, which is respecting the rules, you finish ninth, and the one who doesn’t respect them finishes second.”

This is the second race in a row where Alonso has been angry with the race control and stewards and felt that they did not act fairly towards him. He was livid straight after the race in Montreal with the way the traffic was allowed to slow him down at crucial moments, particularly Jarno Trulli on Alonso’s in lap to the pits. He had a lot to say privately about this in Montreal, but didn’t make a big noise about it in his media statements there.

This time he has had a big go publicly and the team is fully backing him up. It’s along the lines of his “I no longer consider this a sport” line at Monza in 2006 when he was very harshly treated by the stewards for blocking Massa in qualifying, when he was a Renault driver. Here Ferrari are on the receiving end.

Tonight the Ferrari website has called the European GP a “scandal” which damages the credibility of the sport,

“A scandal , that’s the opinion of so many fans and experts involved in the sport, who are all in agreement: there is no other way to describe what happened during the European Grand Prix. The way the race and the incidents during it were managed raise doubts that could see Formula 1 lose some credibility again, as it was seen around the world, ” said a post.

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3

Well we wanted more passing in F1. Someone should tell the Mclyin’ kit car boys it doesn’t mean the SC!!!!

4
Damian Johnson

Alonso never complained when he gained substantially from the deployment of the SC in China and Monacco this year. So why do we have to hear so much whining from Ferrari after Valencia? Anti Hamilton nonsense from Alonso???

5
Pete Schnabel

It has been a few days now since the SC incident and i have just heard the words “Black Flag” connected to Hamilton’s maneuvre. I’m surprised that this is actually not exactly what was handed down to Lewis, since a SC is deployed and ahead of the SC is potentially [quote]”where there may be an injury, track workers on the scene in a dangerous position, or huge amounts of debris on the tarmac. People’s lives are likely in danger, yet a driver ignores the rules and drives past the safety car to speed around the track for his own gain.”[/quote]

Why was such a penalty not immediately handed down for such exact reasons?

6

Mauri..He surely got special treatment from the stewards alright, a race win taken away at Spa in 2008.

7

What is totally hilarious, is that Alonso and Ferrari, two entities that, in this decade, have benefited the most from race manipulation and fixing in F1, are now accusing others of the same!

You couldn’t have dreamt this up!

8

Well it has caused some controversy hasn’t it!

Just a few observations from my point of view.

1st if Hamilton had kept his foot down it is my understanding that Alonso would of passed the safety car upon exiting the pitlane, if he chose not to do so he’l have still ended up behind the SC

2nd i dont understand the complaints about the time it took, yes Hamilton managed to pull out a lead but race control always take that amount of time to issue a penalty, hence why in the last 20 mins of the race they issue penalties after the race

I understand the frustrations, but he’s experiencing the same frustrations as everyone else Hamilton/Massa spa 08? Alonso/Piquet Jnr Singapore 08? The list goes on

9

Well the SC is a roll of the dice in F1, it makes the race unpredictable so which is added entertainment. Well Fernando should should recollect what happened in Singapore win Pique deliberately went into the wall so the SC was deployed to help him win. In the last race it went against him so I don’t see any big issue apart from the usual mind games from Mr Alonso.

10

Let’s face facts, instead of listing excuses. Stop defending when it’s impossible to do or assuming everything is acceptable because once, some other driver, also avoided to be punished. If You see a guy passing with red light then You can’t breach any other road rule and avoid punishment if they catch You. Make yourself caught repeatedly doin’it and see what happens to you. It’s from year 2007 that a very young and very talented driver is repeatedly saved from his race mistakes and rules breach. Other drivers get normally punishments, sometimes avoid it, this is phisological. Ours gets mostly reprimands, and he’s even recovered offroad and set back in track. It’s not true it happens because rules are unclear about punisments, F1 rules are just the most flexible ones about it, very effective unless who has to decide is not competent or bad faith. When a peculiar situation is not listed, art 18 allows any other motorsport rule to be applyed. This driver is young and very talented, he has all the time and the ability to develop a unique career without risking to have also a bad fame to carry on. Yes, there’s no proof of manipulation in Valencia and officially, everyone who’s upset but involved, is now taking a formal step back. We couldn’t aspect anything else, but there’s plenty of episodes which confirm this young driver benfits some special threatment by stewards. There’s too much money and to much show behind nowadays F1 and far less sport and fair play. Who is really found of F1 and motorsport, I mean us, can’t behave like a futball team supporter, and who appreciate this young talented driver should defend him and prevent he gets a bad fame instead of pushing just in this direction. I can’t wait Silverston to bury this Valencia awful race.

11

Well said, I think the stasis of this argument (and most in f1) is conjecture (did it happen?) versus definition . Alonso is asking if his car got stolen whilst Hamilton is saying “no” he just borrowed it (with some help of the officials in their inability render judgement) As soon as we get into definition arguments you actually cede the conjecture because whilst you admit the car was taken, you are putting your spin on it. At law, it would not stake up. Car is gone- serve the punishment. By the way, Hamilton did serve the punishment, which proves Alonso’s point. I think Alonso’s latin temperament gets in the way sometimes, but if you look at his central points most times, they do have A LOT of merit. People just see and hear the temper not the substance.

12

James, you have been quoted regarding the Hamilton penalty in saying that ” even though he was given a penalty, it came so..late..that he was able to serve and not lose a position “….and….” It certainly was a long time and in that time Hamilton built a big enough lead to take the penalty, and come out in P2, that does not seem fair “. I wonder did you express that same concern James, towards Nico Rosberg at Singapore in 2008. Rosberg wasn’t hurt by a penalty that he had received, and finished in 2nd place, because of the length of time it took the FIA to implement.

There wasn’t any outcry or uproar regarding Rosberg. In Rosberg’s case would you have ever used the term ” that does not seem fair “…….So why Lewis?

13

The situation with Rosberg was very different because he lost positions – he was leading at the time and after the penalty he dropped to fourth place. It can be argued that he gained more than lost, but definetely he was hurt by the penalty unlike Hamilton who retained the position. Moreover the breach of regulations wasnt deliberate – Rosberg simply ran out of fuel so he hadn’t any other choice than to pit. And Hamilton could have followed safety car as Alonso did, but he chose to breach the regulations.

14

fair call but I would suggest that there is a lot more at stake, like a world championship when the names Hamilton and Alonso get involved. Like most things in life, the rules are really only looked at when a significant player in the market has done something agregious in nature. It serves the media frenzy but at same time it can put sunlight on a dark spot and make thing more transparent, and hopefully better long term.

15

Ferrari’s choice of words could be better-incompetence rather than manipulation should have been used. The issues here is like wall street where smart savvy guys out think the system and their technology (or in this case Hamilton’s brains) is out ahead of the rule of law or more significantly, the application of it. F1 should just cop to it and say they blew the play. By the way- taking time to make a decision and say drivers are being “investigated” opens it up for violations and drivers commiting an offence and leaving the punishment for later and the courtroom. F1 has got worse this year- not better.

16

It seems that Alonso has acknowledged that he let his emotions get the better of him and apologised for his “manipulated” remarks.

He also says he no issue with any driver in particular but would welcome a look at the current saftey car regulations.

Commonsense it seems has prevailed.

17

alonso won his titles when there was the pro michael and ferarri era. At least it was a fair fight. I like both drivers in Hamilton and Alonso. The race control are to blame here due to the time it took to make a decision. It killed the race and Alonso’s chances. Alonso is so smart to pick it up…his engineer did not have a clue what was going on. Hamilton will keep on this if they are not going to react quickly and enforce rules. You cannot fault him for a winning strategy. Now look for Alonso to do likewise to bring it to officials attention. Shame on race control and F1-make it a fair fight in that everyone is at least going by the same set of rules dispensed quickly and appropriately so “PENALTY” actually means “PENALTY”

18

Alonso is now saying that having had time to reflect he realises his comments were over the top, he points out he has no malice to any particular driver and is glad the FIA are going to look again at safety car rules as he still feels what happened isn’t totally just.

Credit to him for this considered and mature clarification. Now he needs to get that mindset in the car as I believe he has a great chance of fighting for the championship.

Now if only some of the F1 ‘fans’ on all sides could display the same dignity now that the heat is out of the situation. If only…

19

I think Alonso is more upset with the team that Hamilton. Sure it’s hard to pass there but it’s not impossible. Alonso problem is the Ferrari. It’s fast in clean air but once behind another car it’s slow. He couldn’t pass the cars he out qualified, and he couldn’t hold off Kobayashi in the last few laps.

20

Can any tell me what exactly happened with the other safety car penalties – Button, etc.? I had assumed it was speeding after pitting and then catching up the SC but I am now getting the impression it was for going to fast before the pitstop, i.e. in the last few metres from when the SC was triggered to the pit lane?

21

All the ‘race fixing’ comments seem to rely on the assumption that Hamilton deliberately passed the safety car after backing up the others.

What I saw on TV was Hamilton back off seemingly because the safety car started to move out across the pitlane exit blend line before it reached the second safety car line.

When the safety car went back inside the line Hamilton accelerated and passed. However, this hesitation was pivotal. If LH hadn’t backed off he would have passed it long before the second line which he was perfectly entitled to do.

This can all be seen about 5m20s into the BBC hightlights here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8766004.stm

I see no malice aforethought in this action. Just bad timing and bad luck (for some more than others).

C’est la vie.

22

Actually, when you look at that again with that perspective, you can see that Hamilton actually steers away from the safety car, which lends credence to the fact that he thought that the safety car was coming across onto him.

This looks more and more like Hamilton correctly racing past the safety car and being impeded by believing it was coming across the track. Of course the safety car is not bound by the racing rules, but I think it does put the final nail in the coffin of the suggestion that the action was aimed at Alonso (and rather explains why Hamilton was confused about what went on).

23

Let’s face it, if Fernando had been in front and Lewis behind, he would have tried to do exactly the same thing – get ahead of the safety car and bottle Lewis up behind it. Gamesmanship has always featured in F1 – Hungary 2007, anyone? How about overtaking somebody as you both enter the start of the pitlane – not illegal but definitely unsporting.

Given how close things were it’s only a fluke that Lewis even got a penalty. Fernando needs to stop acting like a spoilt kid and get over it.

And as for Ferrari’s hot air about it all, they are in no position to make such statements given some of the actions of the team and a certain seven times world champion over the years. The guy and team that failed to support Eddie Irvine’s realistic championship bid in 1999…

The sport’s history is littered with politicing by the teams, in terms of events on and off track and Ferrari has always been one of the bigger offenders.

All in all a sign of just how tight things are, and the desparation of Ferrari and Alonso to do well when unfortunately they don’t quite have the package.

24

One comment that has not been picked up on by many is that from Hamilton himslef. He said that,as he approached, he saw the safety car cross the white line (dividing the pitlane from the track) and he slowed down. When it went back into the pitlane, he accelrated.

Question to all the Hamiltion-bashers here, if he had held station (from the time he initially saw the safety car cross the line) would Aloson et al have been happy then? Unlikely, as the accusation then would be that Hamilton held up the field.

Take a look at the video and it is very clear that Hamilton holds back as the safety car moves across the line.

25

Hadn’t noticed this, the safety-car driver has clearly made an error and shouldn’t of crossed the white-lane before the safety car line into traffic like that. Possibly one of the mitigating circumstances that the stewards took into account.

26
Damian Johnson

FIA now need to stamp down very hard on Ferrari/Alonso for the accusation of race manipulation. One can only imagine how big the fine would be if McLaren ever had said that under Modeley’s tenure at FIA so Ferrari/Alonso should not be allowed to escape a sanction from FIA for bringing F1 into disrepute or does FIA still mean something different?

27

You ´re right.It should be remembered that Hamilton is a frequent transgressor of the rules and has never received a appropriate punishment.

28

Scandal or no, I am glad Alonso is on the receiving end of this.

It lends an air of tension and competition to the season – which can only enhance the fans’ pleasure.

Besides, Hamilton may have overtaken any number of drivers, just as Alonso was overtaken by a scintillating Kobyashi.

29

Who here hasn’t been go-karting? When there is an incident there are yellow or red lights where you either slow to walking pace or stop. Surely F1 could use a similar system? They could have a speed limiter like they do for the pit lane when then yellow lights go on and all the cars maintain their relative positions? Can’t be that hard surely.

30

They just need to bring back no pitting when the SC is out, it was taken out of the regs because the teams were scared they would run out of fuel but we don’t have to worry about that anymore, this is the fair way to do it.

However the FIA might not want fair, they may want the SC to spice up the show.

31

I have never understood how it can be safe for cars to be at racing speed when there is an accident on the track, regardless of where the safety car is.

32

Agreed. They can have a button on the steering wheel which can limit the speed to safety car requirements and FIA can use the system in the same way they use for pit lanes in handing out penalties for speeding.

33

there is alot of hypocricy around. if ferrari tests by using the filming days, a rule clarification is sought by whitmarsh and a couple of days latter, hamilton breaks the rules to secure a 2nd place.

Ferrari might have had prefrential treatments in the past but mclaren team are no saints

34

I have a few comments on the GP:

-the handling of the situation by FIA, specially Mr. Whiting, was disastrous. It reminds me of a similar, although much less serious situation,in the 1998 British GP,when failure of race commissioners in handling a penalty to M. Schumacher in proper time led to a huge outcry by McLaren and the British press or to the 1975 British GP when the red flg was shown exactly in time to favor Fittipaldi and McLaren.

-there should be a modification of safety car rules.The pits should remain closed until all cars are aligned behind the safety car in the previous racing order, for at least one lap.

35

“The pits should remain closed until all cars are aligned behind the safety car in the previous racing order, for at least one lap.”

Then when the pitlane opened and everyone stopped there would be ‘stacking’ which would be even more unfair on the second driver in each team. He wuld have to queue while his team mate got serviced.

36

…although a rule which stopped pitting during the entire safety car period would probably work ok. Perhaps no pitting until at least one lap after the safety car has gone back in?

There are running out of fuel issues to stop that anymore.

37

Yes,something along these lines.The present chaos Should be avoided.Now that no refueling is allowed ,there is no need for pitting in such a hurried and unordinate way. FIA should copy the best aspects of the rules about safety cars and pit stops of US racing,where, if not perfect, they work much better.

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