Alonso fumes at ‘too soft’ race director Masi

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Alonso fumes at ‘too soft’ race director Masi

Formula 1

Alonso fumes at ‘too soft’ race director Masi


Fernando Alonso described race director Michael Masi “too soft” after believing he was impeded in qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The end of Q2 saw drivers coming to a halt in the final sector when trying to find a gap to start their last laps, with Sebastian Vettel one of those to be stationary for a spell. Daniel Ricciardo was the last driver to start a lap and only got away just as Alonso was approaching at the end of his own attempt, with the Spaniard gesticulating angrily after dropping out of the session, believing he was impeded.

“That lap was wild,” Alonso said. “It was in Austria as well — I was P15 because I got the car on the last corner, and here I am out of Q3. So for me, I don’t care really what is the out-lap. Unfortunately, we don’t have anybody policing this. Race director is too soft. If you let us play with the out-laps, it’s always going to be a mess. We need a referee to protect us and at the moment, we don’t have it.

“Then on the traffic itself, McLaren’s fault, the team or driver, whatever. Even if there’s a lot of traffic on the out-lap, you need to move when a fast car is coming. He didn’t move. In Austria, (Sebastian) Vettel got three places so I expect three places minimum or more. We’ll see where I start. I think I’ll start ninth in my opinion.”

Despite three separate investigations, no grid penalties were handed out, with the stewards opting to take no further action over Ricciardo and also clearing Vettel for a separate incident, while handing Esteban Ocon a reprimand. Speaking prior to those decisions, Alonso stated the stewarding could be “random” when it comes to such investigations.

“It’s everybody — we do that as well on the out-lap, sometimes there is no way we can pass, and we are slower than what we want. But our team is very sharp on telling us when a faster car is coming, so I had zero investigations for impeding in the whole year, so you also have to be sharp. The people that are not sharp are investigated. Normally they get the penalty, but this is another thing; it’s very random.

“(It’s) definitely much worse than 2018. There are no rules. Not for the out-lap, there are no minimum times to respect — there are on the first lap, a lot of strange movements off track. I complained the first third of the championship, then I changed attitude and I was doing the same, and now I don’t have any more races to impede anyone, it’s not in my heart to impede.

“Nobody wants to be in the middle of anyone’s fast lap, because then you go to the stewards and get a three-place penalty. I hope it’s what happens today. It’s not too bad because even in Q3, we should fight for P9 or P10. Maybe starting P9 with new tires and free choice, at the end maybe it’s the best…”