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. matt said on 18th March 2009, 22:41

    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.

  2. Eduardo Colombi said on 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. Sherman Tank said on 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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