Alonso may be in trouble over pit lane incident

His jubilant post-race celebrations didn’t show it, but a cloud hangs over Fernando Alonso’s victory this afternoon.

Alonso won the European Grand Prix by 8.1s from Felipe Massa. But the McLaren driver may face a protest over his final pit stop on lap 56.

After the stop Alonso was waved out into the path of Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault, which had to take avoiding action as the two squeezed past the Honda pit.

As the incident occurred late in the race there may not have been time to display the usual prior warning about an investigation (i.e. “An incident involving cars numbers 1 and 5 is under investigation”.

If there is a penalty then as Alonso gained an advantage though the incident (by maintaining track position over Fisichella, even though the pair weren’t racing for position) then it is likely the race director will choose to impost a time penalty. For example, Ralf Schumacher was given a 25 second penalty for dangerous driving after the San Marino Grand Prix which dropped him from eighth to ninth.

Any time penalty is likely to only drop Alonso to second place, as third placed Mark Webber was 1’05.674 behind.

Alternatively, but less likely, Alonso may be demoted on the grid for the following race as Takuma Sato was at Indianapolis for overtaking Jenson Button under yellow flags.

But if he does lose his win after making such a great pass on Massa in the dying stages, Alonso will surely put it in the same bracket as his penalty in Monza last year, and the banning of Renault’s mass dampers that same season, and conclude that the FIA has it in for him.

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11 comments on Alonso may be in trouble over pit lane incident

  1. Cooperman said on 22nd July 2007, 16:59

    I would be disappointed that the sport would be prepared to penalise someone who did such a fantastic last stint. It would be a pity that on one of the ‘real racing’ occasions we’ve had, the victor would have to give his 1st place back to the guy he overtook in the dying moments of an exciting race.

    If anyone’s at fault it’s the team, not the driver, for letting the car go. Having said that, though, is this not another occasion where the rules need tightening in a Schumacher-winning-in-the-pitlane (Silverstone ’98) kind of a way? If there’s a situation to push in order to gain an advantage, who isn’t going to push the limits of the wording in the rules??

  2. Fisi was a lap down anyways,so how does it matter?I don’t see any point in anyone protesting.They only came alongside each other.

  3. I’d very very suprised if the FIA stooped to punishing Fred for that. It wasn’t the cleverest move, and the team should probably be fined for it, but to punish the driver would be wrong. Especially since Massa seems to have gotten away with his disgracful blocking tactics.

  4. Ali AydoÄŸan said on 22nd July 2007, 19:15

    Having seen last years Monza case and mass damper decision(Dampers were named as movable aero devices after Ferrari failed to use them as efficiently as Renult and called FIA to investigate the device), punishment of Alonso in favour of Massa and Ferrari would not be a surprise…And if it comes true, nobody remembers this race as a Massa victory.

    Race should start on track and finish there. I want to watch drivers and teams fighting on track under fair conditions, not team principles trying to blame and penalise other teams.

  5. I’d be surprised if Alonso wasn’t punished in some way. The Honda team manger told ITV that he would be putting in a protest, as he believed that Alonso’s driving put his mechanics in danger. Since Alonso was only driving so close to the mechanics because the team released him at the wrong time, then the penalty for dangerous pit lane behaviour will surely be applied.

    The pit lane penalty is a drive-through or 25 seconds added to the time, along with a fine for the team, so I fully expect to see Alonso drop to second, for McLaren to receive a $5000 fine – and for Alonso to feel cheated. It’s strange that the team’s behaviour gets a driver punished, but I suppose fines alone wouldn’t alter teams’ behaviour towards this sort of thing.

    It’s the Massa/Alonso incident that should not be penalised – but that’s another matter entirely.

  6. seems like no penalty has been applied.

    i think it’s wrong to bring up the TMD saga in this case. last year the fia clearly did have it in for alonso, no question. this year i’m sure he’d see it as just one of those things.

  7. Number 38 said on 23rd July 2007, 7:08

    Penalties should be BANNED, right after they burn all the BLUE flags!

  8. I would also be surprised if nothing at all happened, at the time I thought it looked a pretty close call.

    It’s not exactly Alonso’s fault – he just went when he was told to go, but I’m sure the FIA would argue that the lollipop is only an indicator and the driver should make sure that it is safe for him to move.

    Common sense though would say that the constructor points should be docked and not the driver’s, but the FIA and common sense don’t mix very well most of the time!

  9. Ban pit stops. :D

  10. Not only should he be penalised for that he should also be penalised for bringing the sport into disrepute, over his treatment of Massa. I am surprised he didnt get a slap from him.

  11. Rob said on 24th July 2007, 3:23

    This is why M.S. had a mirror on his “lollipop”

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