Alonso criticises FIA rule changes

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso thinks the FIA should keep the rules stable
Fernando Alonso thinks the FIA should keep the rules stable

Fernando Alonso has criticised the FIA for making too many changes to the F1 rules. In a statement in Spanish on his official site he said:

I don’t understand the need to change the rules of the sport constantly. I think this kind of decisions can only confuse the fans.

Given the strength of public reaction against the plan to decide the F1 title on race wins, Alonso can expect a lot of people to agree with him.

Alonso extended his attack to the measures planned for next year – presumably a reference to the equally unpopular budget caps announcement:

Formula 1 has existed for over 50 years thanks to the teams, the sponsors, the drivers and, above all, the fans from all over the world, and none of them have been able to express their views in front of the FIA.

I worry, not so much about the decisions that affect the season that’s about to start, but, above all, those that affect the future of the competition in the coming years. I hope somehow these measures can be reconsidered in the short-term.

His Renault team boss Flavio Briatore echoed similar sentiments earlier.

It’s rare for an F1 driver to be so outspoken in criticism of the sports’ governing body, but it’s not the first time Alonso has made such a remark. In 2006 he famously said “F1 is no longer a sport” after being handed a patently unjust penalty during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Will any more F1 drivers back up Alonso’s comments? James Allen reported the reactions of a few others in Spain:

Nico Rosberg: ??What nonsense is this???

Jenson Button: ??I understand the logic behind it and it?s interesting. It?s an incentive to try to win but it also looks risky to me. After 9 races you could get a driver who?s already won the title and can take the rest of the season off, while the driver in second is only 18 points behind!??

Lewis Hamilton: ??I have no opinion on this.??

(I very much doubt he has no opinion, particularly as one could interpret the new rule as a criticism of how Hamilton won the title by finishing fifth in the final race last year. I suspect this is either the McLaren/Hamilton PR machine in action, or he’s got more important things on his mind, like why his car’s not fast enough.)

I’m pretty ambivalent about the points/wins thing, but the timing of the decision, so close to the start of the year, is poor. And it’s hard to avoid the impression the decision was made to more out of spite towards FOTA than based on merit. The proposed budget cap looks horrifically complicated – potentially creating a two-tier Formula 1 system. I hope we see more F1 drivers backing Alonso.

88 comments on “Alonso criticises FIA rule changes”

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I want to see more outspoken support from the drivers and teams. FOTA needs to forget signing a new Concorde agreement and just take the sport back. FIA is meddling way too much, even in the off season.

  2. Lewis Hamilton: “I have no opinion on this.”

    Bufff….always so “neutral”….

    1. Whewbacca the Cookie
      19th March 2009, 6:41

      Yep, he’s so full of it… I wonder if he’d have been this silent if the McLs proved to be faster in the tests.

    2. Perhaps he says nothing because his lack of personality disables him from having an opinion on the matter…

  3. hitchcockm00
    18th March 2009, 21:21

    I lol’d at Hamilton’s “comment”.

    I’ve never really liked Alonso but I’ve got more respect for him for being so outspoken. Good on him.

    1. I agree. I am also increasingly liking Luca Montezemolo. He seems to be heading FOTA in the right direction.

  4. Possibly the only driver with proper personal opinions over there.

    Point rules can’t change just before 1st race and after all tests. But I think that’s not the big question.

    It’s the new cap budget rule and the fight among this sports cappos. Possibly we will see a different show in the future. More profitable for bernie who didn’t show any concerns when the grid was 20 cars and costs too high.

    1. Didn’t you read Rosberg’s comment above? There’s at least one more.

  5. also it’s completely ridiculous to enforce drivers to have a time to spend with fans and press. Sad times.

    1. I object.

      The drivers are paid so well to drive in this sport, thanks (sadly) to sponsorship, which in theory gains from consumers. Those consumers are the “fans”, their money pays indirectly for the driver’s salaries in my (humble/simple) opinion.

      How do these consumers find out about Formula One? My guess is the “Press”. Increasing media access to drivers is a no-brainer for promoting F1 – therefore more potential sponsorship revenue, therefore higher driver salaries. That should keep Massa happy.

      While I personally wouldn’t go autograph hunting (one dude is the same as another in my book), for those fans who cherish this kind of thing, it can only make them more dedicated to the sport, which is a good thing surely.

  6. Well spoken from Fast Fred ! I wish more people would speak up, loud and clear.
    Bernie and the FIA try to bully people, but it is all bluffing and b.s. If all teams ( including Ferrari ) and drivers stay united, they can create a good future for the sport.
    My proposal : right now, say NO to the points system change, so close to the opening race. “we will not accept it, period”

    1. I agree…they should do this,as last time in Indiánapolis…

  7. James Brickles
    18th March 2009, 21:26

    Of all the F1 drivers to critise the new F1 rules. I knew Alonso would be one of them :P

    And I don’t blame him, I would do the same.

  8. Good for Alonso.
    Hamilton’s “I have no opinion . . .” is also eloquent. It’s McLaren PR-speak for “What a load of crap.”

  9. Good to see someone with influence speaking out. Hopefully more of them will do the same.

  10. The proposed budget cap looks horrifically complicated – potentially creating a two-tier Formula 1 system.

    I think Max Mosley intention is to divide FOTA, so much danger for him and Bernie in the near future if FOTA remains united.

    I sincelery hope FOTA taking some actions against that kind of actitude from MM.

    1. Exactly, surely the budget cap is a ploy to drive a wedge between the privateers and the manufacturers

    2. +1

      As much as I am against the budget cap rule; I can’t help but grudgingly applaud Max and Bernie for their piece of genius.

      These 2 have shown who’s the boss and laid the seeds of FOTA being disbanded.

  11. You cant blame Hamilton for refuseing to commment….. he remembers the race stewards trying to hand the championship to Ferrari last year at every oppertunity

    1. Exactly, but Hamilton is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t so why should he bother?

  12. To “lol” at Hamilton’s comment is very short sighted. I agree that F1 drivers should be more outspoken, but for Hamilton to do that would be ridiculous as he would be the focus for ludicrous comment coming from the “press” as they would try their upmost to belittle his world championship achievement.

    If you do not believe that every driver has their comments either made up or modified by either agents or the press, then you are living in a dream world.

    1. hitchcockm00
      19th March 2009, 10:19

      The reason I laughed was the wording more than anything. Isn’t “no comment” the standard response? “I have no opinion on this” is a lie. Everyone has an opinion on it.

    2. hitchcockm00
      19th March 2009, 10:26

      Oh and before you accuse me of hating every word that comes out of Hamilton’s mouth or something like that I’m actually pretty neutral about him and his skills.
      I loved him in 07 but began to dislike him more and more as last year went on. He comes across as a puppet and his driving sometimes leave a lot to be desired (his over-aggression at Monza was what tipped the scales for me).
      Having said all that I was rooting for him all the way in Brazil.

  13. Better Lewis says nothing, he can’t win either way. If Lewis had responded in the same way as Alonso, all hell would have broken out. Nothing said, no headlines, I hope he keeps it up.

  14. Good on Alonso for speaking out – should of known he wouldnt keep quiet! And sticking up for us fans too – I have seen a similar Sutil comment thats about the same as that somewhere too.

    Rosberg’s ‘nonsense’ is still the best though!

    Unfortunately though I have little faith that even the drivers speaking out about it will make any difference.

  15. I think I like Nico’s comment best.

    What nonsence is this, indeed!

  16. I respect Alonso a hell of alot more than I used to. Unfortunately, he’s come across as whiney in the past (regardless of the actual circumstances) but this is how I want a F1 driver to act.

    Rosberg’s comment was just funny though It shows the ridiculousness of it all.

    I’m beginning to realise the extent of stupid budget caps, and how the points system was probably just a smokescreen for it. Doesn;t make me any more happy about the scoring though.

  17. Eduardo Colombi
    18th March 2009, 22:44

    Lewis is just a puppet-made-hero by the british press since he was a kid, he won’t take opinions that contraries the guys that put him there. He was supposed to be the new Mansell, but he does not have the carisma or the driving skills that the old Nigel had, or the mustache… Someday he could have the skills, but never the carisma. He’s a good driver and deserved last year’s tittle although i was cheering for Felipe.

    Alonso, in the other way, can say what he wants because he got the guts that you gain with experience.

  18. I’ve not liked Mr Alonso since 2007 but i’m warming to him when he makes comments like this. Good on you fernando!

  19. Not usually one to agree with Alonso but here here. Nice to hear an F1 driver speaking their mind for once, not just churning out the same old PR crap.

    But can understand why Hamilton/McLaren won’t comment on this.

  20. Sherman Tank
    18th March 2009, 23:34

    Well done to Alonso but i fear this will do little to inspire any sort or revolt in the pits.

    Hamilton had to say that as the FIA would try to create another rule to enable them to punish him with a penalty of some sort.

    I have always loved F1 but these needless and mindless changes are taking all the excitment out of the coming season.

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