Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia, 2010

Alonso fumes after Hamilton penalty, Ferrari calls result “a scandal”

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso called the result of the European “unreal and unfair” after falling from third place behind the safety car to ninth at the chequered flag (before being promoted to eighth).

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton got a drive-through penalty for overtaking the safety car yet still finished second.

Alonso said:

I think it was unreal this result and unfair as well.

We respected the rules, we don’t overtake under the yellows and we finish ninth. That is something to think about.

It completely destroyed the race. Hopefully we can move forward because after the victory of Vettel and podium for McLaren ninth place is very little points for us.

We need to apologise to the 60 to 70 thousand people who came to see this kind of race.

They gave a penalty already to Hamilton but it was too late – 30 laps to investigate one overtake.
Fernando Alonso

The stewards were also considering whether to penalise nine drivers for their speed behind the safety car, a decision which has not yet been taken.

The delay in giving a penalty to Hamilton, combined with the gap opening up behind him because of the slow Kobayashi, meant he didn’t lose a place when he took his drive-through.

But he lost a lot of time to Sebastian Vettel and was unable to challenge him for the lead at the end of the race.

Hamilton denied he overtook the safety car deliberately, saying:

I saw the safety car was pretty much alongside me, I thought I passed it so I continued.
Lewis Hamilton

However it does appear from replays that he might have backed off at first, unsure whether to overtake the safety car or not.

Alonso may suspect Hamilton backed off deliberately to prevent him from getting past the safety car as well – but if he’d had the awareness to do that, surely he’d have also made sure he stayed ahead of the safety car himself?

This controversy could have been avoided had the stewards made their decision more quickly. This is not the first time we’ve seen them take a long time to make an important call like this one.

Update: Ferrari described the race as a “scandal” in a statement:

A scandal, that’s the opinion of so many fans and employees who are all in agreement: there is no other way to describe what happened during the European Grand Prix. The way the race and the incidents during it were managed raise doubts that could see Formula 1 lose some credibility again, as it was seen around the world.

Update 2: Ferrari continue their criticism, issuing this quote from Piero Ferrari:

I am incredulous and bitter, not just for Ferrari, but for the sport as a whole, as this is not the sort of thing one expects from professionals. For a long time now, I have also followed races in championships in the United States, where the appearance of the Safety Car is a frequent occurrence, but I have never seen anything similar to what happened today at the Valencia circuit. If it raises some doubts over the actions that led to a false race, to me that would seem more than reasonable.

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352 comments on “Alonso fumes after Hamilton penalty, Ferrari calls result “a scandal””

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  1. This Grand Prix has really served to illustrate some of the flaws with the safety car system. To have a saftey mechanism effect a race so profoundly and arbitrarily is ludicrous. Perhaps it is time to review the safety car system, particularly now with refueling banned, I see no reason not to ban pitting while the safety car is out, after all the safety car is meant to keep marshalls safe until racing is able to be resumed, not to cause fundamental shifts in the race order.

    1. Jhonnie Siggie
      27th June 2010, 20:44

      Well said. Rather than dwell on the past and use loaded comments such as “manipulate races” they should look at how to improve the SC system.

  2. All of the non-anti Ferrari/Italy/justice comments come down ot this:
    Hamilton’s ability to reel off fastest laps in the time he had to serve his penalty, Kobayashi’s pinning down Button, Alonso inability to get past Sutil, Buemi, or anyone elase, should have been specifically negated by a penalty. Or, the rule book should have been thrown out that very moment.

    I suppose people are envisioning a Stewards room where they are staring at the GPS and saying, well, we should give a drive-through, per the book, per our discretion. But lets make sure he comes out where he would have been had he not passed the SC plus some measure of punitive effect, and somehow in a couple minutes of studying video, lap times, the Gita, the teachings of the Buddha and the parables of Christ, come up with a just and equitable penalty.

    You can quickly roll up a massive catalogue of time, drive-through, and stop/go penalties that were did not cancel some possible advantage. I recall Webber winning Nurburgring despite a drive-through for unsafe release, because he was so dominant that day. Where were the whigged and robed sages declaring that such a dangerous move really ought to get a greater demerit?

    The fact that Kobayashi dusted both him and Buemi at the end, should shame and muzzle Alonso. Kobayashi was on fresh tires. But the Japanese tyro drives a car that is mid-field at best, and the Ferrari had the highest trap speeds of qualifying. He is a great driver, but he showed a lack of game, a lack of focus, and lack of ability on the track today that was inexcusable.

    1. Jhonnie Siggie
      28th June 2010, 3:39

      Haha very nice post!

  3. I can understand Alonso’s frustration, but not his reaction. These sorts of wrinkles and on-the-edge incidents happen regularly; most drivers end up benefiting and losing out in equal measure over time. In the heat of the moment it is understandable to react with outrage, but to harp on about it lap after lap on his team radio reinforces my sense of him as a brilliant and passionate natural driver let down by immaturity, a growing persecution complex, and an obsession with Hamilton. That the wiser heads at Ferrari, far from calming him down, fueled the conspiracy theories reflected very poorly on them.

    A couple of posters have suggested that comments are in general biases anti Alonso and pro Hamilton and pro UK. It seems to be the majority of comments are indeed more or less defending Hamilton, but that this pretty much reflects the facts of the matter. If you want to see some real bias, on the other hand, you should check out what the Spanish F1 boards are saying about this…

    1. Schweinstiger
      27th June 2010, 22:38

      You’re wrong, sir. Spanish F1 boards have the same credibility as UK ones when Alonso or Hamilton is the related topic, that is none

  4. And Hamilton bullied Kobayashi into overtaking Alonso at the end. How evil can you get?
    Rubens has been the best of the “old timers” among these new vital young guys. Michael is suffering, Kimi already gone, Fernando cannot understand why the young guys are so much faster. Thankfully the penalty points allowed him to overtake Buemi. No other way.
    Now if Ferrari had screamed at Massa to follow Jenson and others into the pits when the SC had first deployed they might be looking at more points. But they had their eyes on their team leader.

    1. You do seem to enjoy dreaming up scenarios!

      Jenson was behind Massa, so any screaming would not have helped Massa to follow him into the pits.

  5. Fearlessferddy
    27th June 2010, 21:20

    It just reminds me why I no longer bother posting comments but some of those I’ve just read beg belief… I wonder what’s more upsetting to some: The fact that Ham got a drive through penalty for an infringement and then due to his good fortune (Kobayashi) and skills managed to still retain his position,or that he raced incredibly well today and to the disappointment of many excelled. I wonder if after taking the penalty he had ended up right at the back of the grid Ferrari and Alonso would have reacted differently. As for the man himself Fernando Alonso, there was nothing as disgraceful as hearing him cry over the radio for Ham’s head. The radio transmission confirming Ham was 2nd after the drive through penalty was just priceless.Great champions are graceful in defeat.FA a sportsman he is not. His obsession with LH will be his demise.

  6. Fernando has a lot of gall to blame the stewards for his own lackluster performance. After all he had to defend himself in front of his own fans. It couldn’t have been his fault, could it?

    You can tell when Ferrari are whining needlessly when Piero Ferrari feels the need to chime in; Luca will not be far behind with a comment.

  7. It was a pretty stupid mistake by Hamilton and it did take entirely too long for the stewards to make their decision but the fact of the matter is, Hamilton was punished. He lost 15+/- seconds with a drive through penalty, costing him a chance to fight Vettel for the race win. It was not his fault that Kobayashi was so slow and held up the rest of the pack enough so that Hamilton could get in and out in second.

    He broke a rule and paid for it, end of story.

    The only scandal is Ferrari and Alonso crying like a bunch of girls b/c luck went against them in the safety car shuffle and Hamilton’s punishment wasn’t enough in their eyes, even though it cost him a chance for the race win.

    Alonso and Ferrari need to grow up and grow a pair. You win some and you lose some.

  8. There is no doubt that the Ferrari rhetoric was over the top (“fake race” – whaat?) and I have a theory. I don’t think the Stewards saw anything wrong with Hamiltons actions at the time and it probably wasn’t until it was obvious that nil points were coming their way that they pointed out the incident to the Stewards – that’s why it took a long time, not because they took so long to decide but Ferrari took that long to complain. Hamilton served his penalty and it could have ended his race there and then, but he was lucky. You have to be lucky sometimes. It was so marginal anyway.

    Another issue that occurred to me was that the Pace Car was on the pit exit lane, not the actual racing part of the track (although I am quite sure in certain circumstances it does count as part of the track) and in that split second of indecision may have swayed Hamiltons judgement. Whatever, it was awful close and to suggest some kind of conspiracy is plainly ludicrous. If you had been watching F1 for over 50 years as I have, you will know that Ferrari are the biggest cheats and rule benders of all..so, what comes around etc. It’s all part and parcel of F1. Great race – well done Kob and Rubens..

  9. Talk about spitting the dummy. Hamilton’s reaction after the race – when told Alonso was angry at him – said it all: he all but asked if the interviewer was joking. Hamilton made a small misjudgement, he was fortunate enough not to be too harshly penalised for it… End of story, there’s no need for conspiracy theories. Pathetic from Alonso, pathetic from Ferrari.

  10. Alonso Follower
    27th June 2010, 21:40

    My only objection to Ferrari is that they are focusing just on the aspect of altering the result of the race, which is true. But the safety issue is much much worse.

    Airline pilots know this very well: safety procedures exist for a reason, and there are no shortcuts or clever workarounds. They know that a good portion of plane incidents are explained because some omission in applying them.

    F1 is a risky sport. Outside of Moto GP, climbing mountains or other sports considered “extreme” I cannot think of any other sport where the safety of the ones that take part on it is so compromised. Now picture this: a driver skips a rule related to a safety procedure and someone is harmed. How would then sound the comments that Hamilton made to the press?

    What is more aggravating is that this has not been committed by a rookie or an amateur driver, has been done on purpose by an otherwise skilled and competent driver. Who is too focused on winning at all costs, including the sport itself.

    Oh, and by the way, Alonso is not saying that he has a natural right to win or something like that. He’s just saying that the result is unfair. Which is.

    1. Yeah well, except that the safety car was waiving back markers through to form the group… so much for safety ay?

      1. 17 points in two races
        28th June 2010, 0:04

        Please, can anyone tell me if Charlie Whiting is the real father of LH?

        14 laps to decide it´s a lot of time.
        He was faster when Alonso break the rules at the start in another race.

        Charlie must be fired, right now!!!

    2. Ha i wondered why this opinion seemed so biased……..until i looked at your name.

  11. Here:


    It is clear that Hamilton did not hesitate at all. He slowed down on purpose so Alonso couldn’t get past the SC. Had he continued on the same pace, all three cars would have easily been able to get past the SC.

    I dont’ call that a small misjugment. I call that cheating.

    1. LOL

      It goes to slow mo 1 second into the overhead shot, you cant seriously think thats of any use??

    2. Quite right. No surprise that Hamilton cheats and gets away with it. The FIA in their current guise are a disgrace.

    3. If it was cheating he would have tried to get ahead of the safety car before the line to avoid a penalty, thats a no brainer. the fact that he went past the safety car after the the safety car line shows he didnt quite know what he was doing!

    4. It is clear that Hamilton did not hesitate at all. He slowed down on purpose

      How do you know he was not hesitating?

      And if he had the presence of mind to slow down on purpose to hold up Alonso, surely he would also have been able to make sure he was ahead of the safety car before the second safety car line?

      1. The guy is a WC. We’re not talking about Chandok or De Grassi. Sorry but I don’t buy the “he was hesitating” theory. That would not be the first time LH deliberately ruins another driver’s race. Ask Jarno Trulli.

        As much as like LH’s spectacular driving style, I just can’t stand it when he pulls off that kind of cheap move.

      2. What is interesting is that in the post-race press conference Hamilton himself denied he hesitated, when he was asked directly. (But who knows whether drivers are exactly answering the questions they are asked.)

        It certainly looked like he hesitated, for whatever reason.

    5. “I dont’ call that a small misjugment. I call that cheating.”

      If he was that clever in such a moment requiring a split second decision, I call it brilliant race craft:)

    6. This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes “Never blame on malice that which can adequately be described by incompetence”. And while I don’t think in this case it’s incompetence, it has illustrated flaws in the safety car rules. And instead of wild accusations, it should be taken as a motivation to make some changes to the safety car rules for the betterment of Formula 1. There have been many many fantastic suggestions in this thread on how to improve the Safety Car rules without compromising safety, hopefully the FIA and FOTA will be discussing some of them.

      1. Couldn’t agree more.

  12. Les be honest, Alonso wouldn’t be quite as bothered if it was anyone else except Hamilton :D

    And Ferrari talking about a race being a scandel is a laugh :D

  13. all this really does is highlights ferraris ignorance and immaturity, that they could moan over such a minor incident which was really just a bit of bad luck. Any other team who is not so bitter would have said, hey these things happen. what makes it worse is they make an attack on F1 on a whoele as a cry to make them seem more credible. Also trying to exaggerate this incedent giving the idea that many fans where in agreement with them.
    I think ferrari have choked over there run of bad performances and need something to take the pressure off themand are so babyish start crying over the fact lewis did better than them. All alonso was worried about was how hamilton was doing. all in all childish behaviour from ferrari over a situation which theyhave blown way out of proportion!

  14. Typical pro-McLaren bias from the FIA. And guess who’s stewarding – it’s Frentzen, a guy with close links to Mercedes and thus McLaren. The FIA at the moment are a farce, and Ferrari and Alonso are completely correct to describe the situation as scandalous.

    If it were me, I’d go a lot further and suggest that most of the FIA are on McLaren’s payroll.

    1. Coming from a ferrari fan..hahaha what is the world coming to. the fact that they seem bias to one team at one time but then to another team at another time shows they are completely neutral. if they where mclaren biased he wouldnt have had a penalty.

    2. Rohan, you have to be joking. You realize that Jean Todt is the president of the FIA. Your statement is so utterly ridiculous that I have to assume that you are being sarcastic.

    3. Typical pro-McLaren bias from the FIA.

      A short memory there. This ‘pro-McLaren bias’ wasn’t much in evidence when Hamilton was stripped of his win at Spa two years ago.

      1. Smart move and undeservedly punished. Bias? Incompetence? Fixing? Take a pick!

    4. Are you serious with

      Typical pro-McLaren bias from the FIA

      The same team that lost the Spa 2008 race by a penalty for something not previously cleared by any rules.
      And getting a 100 million fine for being in possesion of Ferrari data and probably looking into it with very curious ruling by the FIA, while Renault gets off the hook without any penalty only months later?

  15. Ferrari are laying it on a bit thick but ultimately I think you have to feel a little sorry for them. They were spectacularly unlucky – theirs were the only drivers to get stuck behind the safety car before pitting.

    Not just Alonso but Massa as well who was double-hit because he had to queue up in the pits. Massa was only 1.8 seconds ahead of Kubica but that was the difference between Massa getting the message too late to pit and Kubica just making it in time.

    Without the combined circumstances of Kobayashi staying out and holding up the chasing pack, Valencia having the shortest pit lane on the calendar, and the stewards taking too long to penalise Hamilton, Hamilton would never have been able to take his penalty without losing a place.

    Change just one of those three aspects and Hamilton would have ened up much further down the field.

    It shows up shortcomings in the rules and the stewarding process. I can understand the frustration of Ferrari fans but I think trying to ascribe any of this to some pro-Hamilton/McLaren motive at the FIA is an overreaction – especially when one recalls some of the swingeing penalties doled out to that team in recent years.

    What offends me about Alonso’s reaction, however, is that he only cares for the integrity of the sport when it suits him. He was right to criticise the joke of a penalty he got at Monza in 2006 and clearly the system failed today. But where was his concern for the reputation of F1 after the Singapore 2008 scandal came to light?

    1. very well said! congratz

    2. MacademiaNut
      27th June 2010, 23:13

      Well said.

      If it was not for Alonso’s insistence that Ferrari should talk to Charlie, this incident would not have been noticed by the stewards.

      Anyways, all these incidents give an opportunity for FIA to identify the weak spots in the rules/race control; and importantly learn from these. However, the FIA would never do.

      This incident clearly calls for changes to how a safety car is deployed. Shouldn’t the safety car pick up the leader of the race?

    3. There are certainly shortcomings in the rules about bringing in Safety Cars. They seem to fixate on rules about this line and that line, forgetting the purpose of safety. It appears cars are allowed to accelerate (as Hamilton said he did) even when it is known that the Safety Car is about to enter the track and presumably there are yellow flags out. Whatever happened to keeping the cars in the same order at a controlled speed until the track is clear for racing?

      And why does it take so long to check out an infringement? Did they really have to wait for a complaint before noticing?

    4. David Watkins
      27th June 2010, 23:17

      Par for the course in Spain Keith. Same in every sport. They’re always the victims.

      Alonso just reflects this

  16. Those are the rules. Maybe Ferrari now knows how Adrian Sutil felt back in Monaco in 2008.

  17. I think they took a while to make a decision for two reasons. One there was a lot going on due to the crash.

    Secondly Hamilton and the Safety Car crossed the line at almost the same time because Hamilton hesitated for a split second. I wonder if they deliberated for a while to decide if he really deserved a penalty. Liken it to an accidental handball. It was such a marginal error.

    It did cost Hamilton the opportunity to challenge for the win.

  18. Someone please remind Alonso of Singapore 2008.

    1. Alonso didn´t crash, was piquet, alonso simply won a fantastic race starting 15
      hamilton never remember. he is a great liar

  19. Hamilton is a liar inthe video we can see how fisrt Han slows his speed to avoid Alonso pass the safety car. Then Hamilton accelerate and pass the safety. Hamilton would be give a black flag.

  20. If anyone got off lightly, it surely wasn’t Hamilton, but Vettel. Considering the quarter of a second between himself and the safety car, and the time he spend in the pitlane Hamilton got off 50 times as worse. (12/0.250 = roughly 50) I’m actually very surprised everyone is pointing the finger at him. It was Alonso who raised this minor infraction. History (2007) should explain this attitude, as does his uneasy feeling throughout the whole race, as team radio broadcasts can testify.

    Besides, has Alonso forgotten his 2008 Singapore win? When questioned if he still counted that as a win, he said yes because one still had to make an effort to finish the race. So if he counted that as a win, how can something SO LESS SEVERE be dubbed as a farce and scandal? The answer is Ferrari do so, in order to divert the media from uncovering their own weaknesses. To put it more poetically, it’s the same of old story of the horse (donkey) blaming his tail for what he did wrong. Just pathetic.

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