Fernando Alonso says he was unfairly penalized in the Miami Grand Prix due to “incompetence from the stewards” and that one of Formula 1’s race directors isn’t professional enough.
The Spaniard was penalized for leaving the track and gaining an advantage late in the race in Miami, when he was running in the points but had a time penalty already set to be applied. However, Alonso says the decision was made prematurely and when Alpine submitted evidence after the race, it came too late because the stewards had already stopped working.
“We believe that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards — they were not very professional, I think, in Miami,” Alonso said. “I missed one corner and then I gave back the time on the lap. But obviously you miss one corner there is the sector time just after that corner, so they saw the pink color (fastest mini-sector time), and they took the decision without asking for any proof.
“We arrived after the race with all the proof and the time back that we gave and they were just packing up. They were not even in the room.
“We showed them all the data, they said ‘give us five minutes’ and then they found themselves with their hands tied, probably because they issued already the penalty and they didn’t know how to get back from that document.
“Honestly, I mean… it’s already the past but it is something that should not happen in Formula 1, with professionalism and standards Formula 1 has right now.”
Alonso’s comments were particularly pointed at former DTM race director Neils Wittich, who was in the role in Abu Dhabi, and he believes more experience is needed for race direction.
“We saw a couple of things already that prove we still need to improve a lot,” he said. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director or trying to monitor a race, and I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment. I know there is a new race director here (for this weekend’s Spanish GP). I think (Eduardo) Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and other categories at the top level, and I think that will already improve things.
“But, even the accident we had in Miami, Carlos (Sainz) and Esteban (Ocon), I think we pushed to have some barriers there and tires or Tecpro and, you know… no one did anything. When you don’t have that knowledge of racing it’s difficult to talk.”