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.