Alonso criticises FIA rule changes

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.

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88 comments on Alonso criticises FIA rule changes

  1. moloko said on 19th March 2009, 0:26

    Lewis Hamilton: “I have no opinion on this.”
    What a comment for a Champion is this?! Lewis, show some honour!

  2. Jay Menon said on 19th March 2009, 0:41

    You know, if Lewis Hamilton is going to be the benchmark for future of F1 racing, that would be rather upsetting. Lewis and his squeky clean politically correct mommy’s boy persona may earn him points from the adoring public, but to a real racing fan, he’s just annoying. His driving skills aren’t on the table here folks, thats a different story.

    What happened to the good old straight talking in your face characters in F1? I put character down as a big part of being an iconic F1 driver. In recent years, the likes of Irvine, Montoya, Villenueve and Coulthard are the few driver who have exuded the persona of classic drivers, like James Hunt and of course, Ayrton Senna. I believe their characters were driven by the passion the had for the sport.

    I love Alonso because of this, he has so much passion for the sport and he doesn’t put up with nonesense. He says it like it is. Nico is pretty much in the same mold, going by the interviews I’ve seen of him.

    Lewis has got a bigger media/PR crew than David Beckham, so you’d have expeted him to have no comment.

    • S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 9:49

      Rubbish, whenever he opens his mouth i.e. saying something forthright like Kimi didn’t have the balls to break late in Spa, he is virtually hung drawn and quartered. He knows what he thinks, his fans know, his team, family and friends know, he doesn’t have to perform to satisfy you only to get shot down in flames.

      In fact, an experiment ought to be done where something bold is said, and one set of people are told it was Hamilton and another set of people are told it was AND (any other driver) and it would be interesting to see the vast contrast in the reactions of the two groups.

      Keep on Lewis, keep your cards to your chest and concentrate on winning as much as you can this year with your crap car and your army of haters.

    • Derek said on 19th March 2009, 15:51

      Montoya was the recent best for controversial comment, very un McLaren, he had to go!!

    • Jay Menon said on 20th March 2009, 0:48

      Which is why I loved the guy! Montoya was real racer, all out. He had character, and he didn’t give a damn if you were Michael Schumacher or Alain Prost, he drove his wheels off every race, and he said what he felt was right.

      I miss him!

  3. manatcna said on 19th March 2009, 0:48

    “I think this kind of decisions can only confuse the fans.”

    I think you will find, Fred, that the majority of real fans are more furious than confused.

    Bernie/FOM/FIA, and that other idiot have come up with some crap ideas in the past but this really is the limit.

    If this season turns out the way I expect it to, then F1 will have at least one less fan for 2010.

  4. theRoswellite said on 19th March 2009, 0:49

    Keith? All this stuff so close to the start of the season, you must be working late. (with the extensive F1F staff!)

    Kudos to Alonso, when a double WC talks…people listen…not to include our own two headed monster of course.

    This latest points change is just a dipstick of a decision, and even if it works out alright this year, some year it won’t. And, the “won’t” will be massively insulting to everyone who follows the championships. I think F1 is being led into a real shadow-land on this one. And our guides?

    Once again…the Unbest and Unbrightest.

  5. todd said on 19th March 2009, 2:10

    Yeah, lewis is a puppet. he’s too scared of backlash to say anything, does what the team tells him.

    at least when kimi says he has no comment – or no opinion, he really does not give a s–t.

    I respect alonso more now than i ever have before, only a couple of years ago i really disliked him, but i now rate him pretty high.

    Button’s comments are on the money, medals / awards for first are pointless, better off just awarding more points for a win, at least that way there’s just 1 system to follow for the non fanatical fans.

    sure for everyone involved or addicted it’s all no big deal, but for the average punter wanting to watch here and there it’s a mindf–k.

    also, is the constructor title decided on wins or points?

  6. Patrick said on 19th March 2009, 2:22

    I’ve had troubles with Alonso in the past, but he’s dead on again with these statements, as are most of the other drivers.

  7. Good for FA to be outspoken, but what do you guys expect Lewis to say about it??? Really? Did he not already suffer enough from FIA’s stewards’ decisions last season? The way I see he almost lost the WDC because of it. Now the rule makes stewards’ decisions much more powerful…

    • Eduardo Colombi said on 19th March 2009, 3:55

      So what De? You just shut up afraid that they will punish you again? that should be the reason to speak up don’t you think? That’s not a WC speech…

    • Jay Menon said on 19th March 2009, 4:25

      Yeah, Eduardo has a point.

      Like I said, drivers speaking their minds have been on the down lately. I miss the classics like Senna punching Irvine in the face.

      Lewis doesn’t want his stock to drop I guess. Then again, it doesn’t really matter. Come November, if he’s Champion, all of this goes to ****. Maybe Lewis just wants his driving to the talking. Which is a good approach, but rather boring. Best be like Kimi, who doesn’t give a toss, he’d rather be having a good few drinks too many somewhere after a snow mobile rally…now thats just class.

      Its funny how we’re all waiting to scrutinize Lewis for what he says or doesn’t say, or what he does or he doesn’t do. I guess it comes with being tagged the next “David Beckham” eh?

  8. Ethnic_Tension said on 19th March 2009, 5:30

    The drivers and teams should simply not acknoledge the new championship, and award their own on the old points system. I have nothing against awarding some kind of trophy to the driver with the most wins however basing the championship on it is just stupid.

  9. IDR said on 19th March 2009, 6:30

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

    I was thinking about the strong cost reduction asked by FIA and FOM…

    I would like to know if Max Mosley and Bernie have placed initiatives to reduce the actual cost of their structures (FIA and FOM) by ten times as they are asking the teams to do so.

  10. rob from inverness said on 19th March 2009, 7:15

    Turning to the issues instead of these tiresome schoolboy fan posts down to which every subject seems to degenerate, I think this continual tinkering with the rules will alienate the non specialist public. Imagine Martin Brundle having to explain this little lot (diffusers, two tier budgets, scoring rules – on top of the huge changes between 2008 and this year.) That said, I am in France and yesterday’s l’Equipe gave me food for thought. It set out a list of how counting wins would have affected past history. Interestingly, there would have been no changes since 1989 until 2008 Massa/Hamilton (and then what about Spa…?) But application of the new system gives Moss his WDC in 1958. Clark gets another WDC – so three, I think. Mansell gets two and Piquet drops to one. Interestingly, Prost gets two more but looses two – to Mansell in 86 and Senna in 89. Senna gets one more for 89.Mario Andretti gets a second WDC in 1977 at the expense of Lauda who also looses one to Prost in 84 to drop to a One Champ Wonder. By and large, it looks as though counting wins benefits the correct figures from GP history. Worth bearing in mind also that the present unsatisfactory system was created to stop the Schumaker Ascendency when they cut the gap between winner and second from 4 to 2 points in the early years of the new century.

  11. rob from inverness said on 19th March 2009, 7:37

    Reading my last post, I should make it clear that Mansell would go up to three WDC, getting two more…..

  12. todd said on 19th March 2009, 8:16

    @rob from inverness

    great post, i’m with you

  13. DGR-F1 said on 19th March 2009, 8:17

    I hope we can get a few more driver and team princple reactions to the FIA decisions before the start of the racing, especially Luca and the Red Bull group.
    If all the teams are opposed to the new rules, will we be seeing walkouts, strikes and the like, or are they more likely to try to talk Max round to a better judgement?
    Wouldn’t it be interesting if by the end of the season, the FIA are announcing one Championship leader, but the teams and the fans are celebrating somebody else?

    • Talk Max around to a better judgement hahahaha, best laugh I’ve had all day ! You speak as if such a thing was possible.

      Good one you Nando, and heres hoping that FOTA and GPDA are right behind you on this one.

      And to those who think Lewis shouldn’t speak out for fear of punishment – well that’s just what bullies want. Far better to stand up to them, IMO.

  14. Well done Alonso – this is what the majority of fans need is someone in the game to call foul – but its a ploy by gruesome twosome to freak fota – they cannot stand opposition(common sense?) – and have to tinker and tweak – anyway Hamilton couldnt say anything as it is quite obvious it was his winning last year that they didnt like.

    • Jay Menon said on 19th March 2009, 9:46

      Why would Max and Bernie not like Hamilton winning last year?

      The sport is enjoying record audiences and sponsor are (well used to) flock to him. He is the new face of the sport, the profile of it is at its highest in recent years. I mean correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t 40% more Britons tune in on Sunday afternoon?

      So why do people keep saying that the ruling bodies didn’t like Lewis winning?

    • S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 9:56

      Jay Menon, maybe the fact that Bernie keeps banging on ad nauseum about how it is wrong to drive for 5th to win a title (er, which is what Lewis did to win his title), which indicates to most people that he was pretty miffed that Lewis won. Add to that the fact that the FIA stewards did all in their power to thwart him last year, and the conclusion can only be that his popularity and ability to attract more fans doesn’t count for much when the Chuckle Bros just don’t want you to win!

    • Clare msj said on 19th March 2009, 10:08

      Call me naive but I dont think that it was Hamilton taking the title that was the problem, it was that he didnt have to go for the win to get it. He might have only had to get fifth place, but I wouldnt have thought that before that race he was aiming for exactly that spot – it just so happened that is what he ended up with – and only just incidentally.

      Hamilton not aiming for the win though is no different to anyone else in a race aiming for third because they know a certain team is just to fast for them that weekend – it happens all year, its only because it was the last race that it became noticable.

      If Hamilton had won the title with one less win than Massa but had taken victory in Brazil to get himself to that point, I dont think there would be half as much problem with it – if that makes sense – it did in my head :S I also think if it had been any two other drivers in that same scenario – Mr Ecclestone would have had the same problem with it – I dont beleive it is aimed at Hamilton personally, just the situation of not having to go for the win if you dont need to in the last race.

    • Jay Menon said on 20th March 2009, 0:54

      I think Clare’s point is a lot more reasonable. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want Lewis to win. I didn’t want him to win, but I’m a fan, thats different, but the “Chuckle Bros”? No way.

      Thats like your boss not wanting you to work harder push the company’s progress. Doesn’t make sense. I accept that both of them have a soft spot for Ferrari, which is unfair but true. Ferrari brings in a lot of revenue to the sport I would imagine, since they are the most famous racing team in the world. Its like the Barclay’s Premiership. The top clubs i.e. Man Utd, Chelsea etc, always get desicions their way.

  15. PJA said on 19th March 2009, 9:28

    Good on Alonso for speaking out.
    What Hamilton said is typical McLaren speak, especially since all the penalties the FIA have handed out to them in last few years, they think that if they say something controversial they will probably get punished. I bet if Hamilton had spoken out in the same way Alonso did we would have people saying he is only saying that because he didn’t have the most wins last year.

    I don’t know what would be worse, if the FIA actually thought that these changes and the timing of the announcement were in the best interest of Formula 1, or the other theory that it is all just politics and they are trying to assert their power and drive a wedge in FOTA.

    One scenario is that they are incompetent idiots who couldn’t run a bath and the other that they are power hungry, vindictive and don’t care for Formula 1 at all.

  16. S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 9:28

    I agree with Alonso in this instance as anyone who is sane would. But he is a typical selfish, hypocritical driver who thought F1 wasn’t a sport after his blatantly unfair penalty, yet lined up with a lot of jealous, spiteful drivers to say Lewis’ blatantly unfair penalty in Spa 2008 was fair. He can’t have it both ways. And Lewis is probably fed up with commenting then having his opinions ripped to shreds and misinterpreted by the media, blogs, forums and commentators, so he’s learning to keep schtumm!

    • IDR said on 19th March 2009, 9:54

      But he is a typical selfish, hypocritical driver …

      I don’t know if Lewis Hamilton is fed up with having his opinions ripped to shreds and misinterpreted by everybody…

      But thanks god, Fernando Alonso is not, despite he should be.

    • S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 10:02

      IDR, Alonso’s never had the stick, the insane media reporting of his every breath, the racism, the FIA discrimination over and over again, that Lewis has had. He knows he can speak out and be “respected” whereas Hamilton knows he can’t. If you can’t see that, I’m perplexed.

    • Clare msj said on 19th March 2009, 10:13

      Alonso certainly wasnt repected in the media last year when he spoke out against Mclaren. And I would have though that in Spain, Alonso would have a similar level of coverage to what Hamilton has here – although as I dont understand much Spanish I couldnt comment completely accurately on that.

      I’m glad Alonso has stood up and said what he thinks on this, if everyone just keeps quiet then it gives the impression nobody cares – there are over 400posts on the new points system on the other thread so people obviously care – Alonso is only doing the same as we are

    • S Huges,

      First of all sorry for my strong limitations with English.

      In fact, I was not criticizing Hamilton’s attitude. I understand, in this specific topic in this specific moment, is better for Hamilton to be quiet.

      What let me perplexed so much, is the level of strong criticizing (to put it mildly) you use for F Alonso when he has suffered just exactly what you have wonderfuly described for L Hamilton.

      Anyway, I don’t want to talk again the never ending story of F Alonso/L Hamilton… despite I’m here doing it.

  17. Clare msj said on 19th March 2009, 9:38

    I dont believe for a second that Hamilton ‘has no opinion on this’ – and plenty of others have come out and said they dont really agree with it either, some in stronger ways than others (I have seen comments from Alonso, Rosberg, Sutil, Trulli, Button and Heidfeld now, and I am sure more will emerge as the days go on) – so why doesnt Hamilton have his say. Either way he will have an opinion on this – I dont know anyone that doesnt – so he almost sounds a little silly saying that he doesnt. I dont beleive he will get extra penalties for speaking out (I dont beleive he recieved anything particularly unjust last year, including Spa, but thats a different topic altogether) mainly because a large number of drivers are also speaking out. If he were the only one I could understand maybe.

    I have said already on here that I’m glad Alonso has been really quite vocal about it, as have some of the others, Rosberg’s is still my favorite – there isnt even any being diplomatic in there, its just an out and out this is ‘nonsense’.

    I hope we see more F1 drivers backing Alonso.

    – couldnt agree with you more – We as fans dont appear to have much say, but if all the teams and drivers can unite then itll show how unsupported this idea was and how few people were consulted in the decision making.

    I personally think that the decision was done to prove who has the control – not in any benefit to the fans, or for the racing – there wouldnt be so much backlash otherwise.

  18. S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 10:39

    Anyway, at the launch of the MP4-24, Lewis was asked if he agreed with the medals proposal (which is really this wins system), and he said: “Not really, no.” He added: “It should be the team who is most consistent.”

    So we know his views anyway.

    • hitchcockm00 said on 19th March 2009, 11:28

      So why didn’t he just answer the question this time?

    • S Hughes said on 19th March 2009, 13:12

      hitchcockm00, he probably knew the question was coming and thought a no comment would be better for the reasons I’ve stated above.

  19. Schumacher has spoken:

    “I doubt the same goes for the new rules given out on such a late moment prior to the season – something which to me is really, well, astonishing, as in all the years, when the majority wanted to have a rule change for a good reason, they always said that would not be possible in a short term or so late before a season.

    “I cannot imagine those changes to help F1,” he continues, “especially regarding the new system to find the champion. I cannot see how it makes sense to eventually have a world champion who has less points than the driver coming in second, even if I also think it is a good move to try to strengthen the winner’s position.”

  20. Dannyj75 said on 19th March 2009, 13:19

    To petition against this rule change click below:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/cancel-the-fia-approved-wdc-selection-criteria-for-f1-world-championship-2009

    We must protest against this.

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