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. 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…..

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

    @rob from inverness

    great post, i’m with you

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.”

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

    To petition against this rule change click below:

    We must protest against this.

  11. Mbuyi said on 19th March 2009, 13:53

    Eish i just wish bernie& Max could have a heart attack and go gentle into the night(fat chance off that happening),People come on we all know lewis thinks this is a crappy idea its just that if he say’s anything bout it it ll’e suck to be him in the coming season.

  12. Martin Bell said on 19th March 2009, 13:54

    Unfortunately, “I have no opinion on this”, translates as “I have been told to have no opinion on this” I’m really tired of the current crop of drivers always thinking of the sponsors before they open their mouths. Mclaren are the worst offenders.

    • Lynn said on 19th March 2009, 15:54

      If, he says he has no opinion on this, why does it translates into I have been told to have no opinion on this? It’s up to him if he wants to say anything.

  13. tifosi4eva said on 19th March 2009, 17:03

    Well I definately agree with Fernando! He is absolutely right, there is really no need to change the rules so often, especially to something so stupid.

    Whilst I agree that the principal is correct, the person with the most wins should win the championship, I think the FIA are going about it in the wrong fashion. Making it purely on wins is too similar to Bernies medal idea which was a load of rubbish and then having the most points as a second idea (in the event of a tie) just makes it all a little shabby.

    What they should have done was have a bigger points difference between first and second, perhaps 4 or 5 points, then a 2 or 3 points difference between 2nd and 3rd, making winning more rewarding but not the absolute thing.

  14. Hallard said on 19th March 2009, 17:07

    Much applause for Alonso saying these things. He has his fair share of temper tantrums, but he is absolutely right on this one. Why do we need to change the points system at all? Last year the championship was decided in the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the season. For me, that is exactly the kind of racing I want to see.

  15. Ben Grimes said on 19th March 2009, 17:15

    I think the FIA should keep the finishing points the same, but maybe award the winner an extra point if he completes the most number of laps as the leader, and give him an extra point if he sets the fastest race lap.

    That way if the winner dominates the race, he gets more reward for it. And it would give drivers more incentive to overtake before a pit stop and to continue pushing even though they are very far in the lead.

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