Alonso may be in trouble over pit lane incident

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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