Alonso retracts Valencia criticism

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia, 2010

Having pilloried the European Grand Prix stewards in the 48 hours following the race, Ferrari have begun to tone down their criticism of Sunday’s event.

Fernando Alonso was first to take a step back from his earlier criticism of the race as “manipulated”, saying “we should talk about it together in a calm way, to ensure that things like this do not happen again.”

Alonso said:

We were particularly unlucky in terms of the timing of when the safety car appeared on track. It would have only needed a few seconds more or less to totally change our race. It does not achieve much going over the events that followed on. Obviously, in the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race.

At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation, it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing.

Sure, I understand that the stewards have a difficult job to do and they have to take decisions that are not easy. What I meant was that those drivers who, like us, respected the regulations, unfortunately, in this situation, suffered much more than those who broke them, even though they were given a penalty.

And I am not referring to any of the drivers in particular: it?s a general matter and I think we should talk about it together in a calm way, to ensure that things like this do not happen again. I was pleased to hear that the FIA has reacted promptly, calling an extraordinary meeting of the Sporting Working Group and I am confident, certain even, that all the points up for discussion will be cleared up in a comprehensive fashion.
Fernando Alonso

Team mate Felipe Massa, who lost even more places than Alonso during the safety car period, added:

What happened needs to be looked into because it is not normal than someone commits a serious infraction like overtaking the safety car, when there is a dangerous situation on track and is not really penalised in practical terms.

We must talk about this together and do something to ensure a situation like this does not happen again. The team has told me that, next week there will be a meeting of the Sporting Working Group: that?s good and it?s an obvious indication that the FIA is paying close attention to the matter.
Felipe Massa

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131 comments on Alonso retracts Valencia criticism

  1. Brad said on 30th June 2010, 0:07

    If it was’t for Kobayashi holding up the field the penalty given to Hamilton would be sufficient. Hamilton would have been in about 10th position.

    Is Ferrari going to say Sauber was in on the conspiracy?

    I think Ferrari is panicking and under a bit of pressure from the Tifosi to beat Red Bull and Mclaren.

  2. TommyC said on 30th June 2010, 0:27

    glad to hear it. very mature of them (moreso fernando, massa didn’t really say much)

    “At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation, it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing.”

    More or less what vettel should have said after turkey…

    • Exactly. At least Alonso had the cojones to do the mea culpa when he’d calmed down a little. Vettel left it up to Webber to do it for him.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th June 2010, 15:01

      Exactly, that’s why Alonso earns respect, while Vettel is still a little kid.

      All of us have failures (except Hare) but our achievements come by owning up to them and go on to improve.

  3. Mach1 said on 30th June 2010, 1:21

    Briatore is stating hamilton should have been black flagged for breaking the rules apparently…..thats right briatore…take the moral highground!!!!! God forbid you would ever break the rules or dare i say cheat…..

    • Jhonnie Siggie said on 30th June 2010, 2:29

      Haha… Where did you find this?

      • bosyber said on 30th June 2010, 7:58

        Wasn’t that in some italian newspaper? Shows you how Ferrari thinks they should mouth off like that to get heard, apparently big mouths work in Italian sports press (after a bad week at World Cup too, tempers were rising?).

    • Oliver said on 30th June 2010, 9:33

      Isn’t Briatore, Alonso’s manager from another planet? :-)

  4. Daniel K said on 30th June 2010, 1:38

    Shame I don’t have “great TV” in Brazil.

    I am 100% Ferrari, I really like Alonso and the way he drives, but as for a race being “manipulated”, he didn’t complain about Singapore ’08, did he?, and he didn’t let go of his victory in the name of “fair race”, as far as I know. Both Felipe and Ferrari were the biggest losers then!! Say what about that, Alonso?

    • The Limit said on 30th June 2010, 3:38

      You know, that is a very good point. A year ago when the Singapore scandal became public knowledge, and Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds were fed to the wolves, Fernando Alonso was as quiet as a mouse.
      I fully understand the argument that some people made back then that there was no proof of Alonso’s participation in the scandal concerning Piquet Jnr crashing his racing car in order to dictate the result of the grands prix. However, it was he who benefitted the most from the actions of others.
      One cannot read Alonso’s recent comments, inwhich he almost preaches to us about the morality of a driver who races ‘by the rules’, without remembering the events of 2008. If this is the way Fernando really feels about Formula One, which he once described as ‘not being a sport anymore’ back in 2006, why did he not comment on the events of Singapore? Why did he not surrender that hollow victory in the name of good sportsmanship, which would have cleared him once and for all of any suggestion of wrongdoing?
      Double standards! We have seen this before in F1 over the years with other drivers, but to say that Fernando’s and indeed Ferrari’s comments are abit rich is a massive understatement.
      I also think it is a sign of weakness from both parties. I firmly believe that if Ferrari and their Spanish superstar driver concentrate more on what ‘they’ are doing right, and finetune their efforts, then they will push McLaren and Red Bull all the way to Abu Dhabi. They were unlucky in Valencia, they were mugged for sure, but crying about it in public only weakens their cause and emboldens their rivals.
      Following the events of Hungary 2007, when Alonso and McLaren hit rock bottom as a partnership, the Spaniard turned out some of his better performances of that campaign. So much so that he nearly won the title, and tied Hamilton for second in the championship.
      The only way is forward, but sometimes I feel these drivers need to look themselves in the mirror and be more realistic. Don’t do what England’s football players did, talk a good fight and then fold. Show your worth on the racetrack, not in the tv interviews before and afterwards.

      • maestrointhesky said on 30th June 2010, 13:00

        Well said! (I have to pad this comment out because the site won’t accept my first 2 words only!)

  5. Enigma (@enigma) said on 30th June 2010, 1:54

    Even though I don’t like Alonso very much, I completely understand his anger after the race. You have to feel sorry for him, he’s had an awful season.

    In Melbourne he spun on lap 1 – without the spin, he’d probably win the race or finish 2nd.

    In Malaysia he had an awful qualifying and a gearbox problem in the race + engine failure.

    In Shanghai he had a nice opportunity to win, but jumped the start and received a penalty, hence finished 4th.

    In Monaco he would probably fight for the win, but made that error in FP3 and had to star on the back of the grid.

    He didn’t make it to Q3 in Turkey.

    In Canada his race pace was similiar to Hamilton’s, but he finished 3rd because of traffic.

    Now in Valencia he was again very fast, and would probably challenge for the win once he’d get on the harder compound, but had a lot of bad luck, whilst Hamilton had another good race.

    Many people tend to think how much of bad luck Vettel had, losing two wins, but Alonso’s was even worse. Had there been no crashes and spins and retirements or anything from any driver, with finishing orders in races only depending on pure speed, Alonso would probably be leading the championship with a big advantage.

    • DaveW said on 30th June 2010, 2:48

      The summary is appreciated. And let’s look a slight bit more closely:

      Melbourne-driver error
      Malaysia–team error, driver error, mechanical
      Shanghai–driver error
      Monaco–driver error
      Canada–poor performance (lapped-traffic fails)
      Valencia–dumb luck, poor performance (kobayashi fail)

      What do we see here? We see a guy who flung a POS Renault around the track like a genius—but, now in a Ferrari, is looking kind of shaky. And he is thus losing his cool.

      Based on this catalogue, you have to say that the points table accurately reflects the teams’ and their drivers’ ability to deliver on race day.

      • Perhaps Alonso expected this year to be a cakewalk, and when it didn’t turn out that way has lost the head a little?

        He needs to do a Webber, keep calm & get himself back on track when things don’t go his way. Afterall, there are still, what, 9 races to go? A lot can happen in that time.

        • bosyber said on 30th June 2010, 8:02

          I think both Alonso and Ferrari expected that somewhat after testing. They needed it to be a good season after having both had a bad 2009 (and 2008 being ultimately disappointing).

    • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 30th June 2010, 18:24

      I don’t agree with Dave’s analysis of him being a flaky driver, he’s made some uncharacteristc mistakes amongst some Mark Webber levels of bad luck. But hes also but in some quite remarkable recovery drives with Malaysia one of the best drives of his career.

      Yet despite all his problems we should remember he’s still with in striking distance of the lead of the WDC. 27 points is only 11ish in old money.

  6. judo chop said on 30th June 2010, 2:02

    Can anyone explain how Alonso would’ve finished significantly higher than 8th if Hamilton had stayed behind the safety car? If Hamilton had been DQ’d, would that have prevented Alonso from being passed by Kobayashi?

    • bosyber said on 30th June 2010, 8:03

      Probably, because he would not have lost focus.

      Or maybe he would have passed Hamilton when that nose was changed, and Kobayashi would not have passed Hamilton? But still, not higher than 6th, I think.

      • RaulZ said on 30th June 2010, 17:19

        The matter is that Hamilton would be just in front of him: 7th. Its not personal, they’re fighting for the championship.

        Alonso said that just before the race and He would have said that with someone else because, that’s true, he complains.

  7. Jhonnie Siggie said on 30th June 2010, 2:25

    I just want to say to all those who were extremely angry after the race that I told you so. I likened their behavior at the time to a herd of cattle simply obeying their master. Various individuals in the aftermath of the race simply wanted to regurgitate Fernando’s and Ferrari’s talking points.

    Do we feel smart now that we were so miffed for Fernando now that the man himself has said oops I was too heated in the moment and I maybe just overreacted at tad?

    What will experts tell you about crisis situations such as the BP oil spill? They say that the first reports are almost always incorrect but you don’t know exactly where. That is why we went from 1K to 5K to 20K to 60K barrels of oil. During the Turkey incident involving Hamilton and Button, it took more that 1 week for the situation to become fully clear.

    Let us not be like cattle guys. Don’t be so mad in your little cubicles for Lewis and Fernando while they have gotten over these things and are out partying with the elites.

  8. chazzers said on 30th June 2010, 3:10

    Ferrari’s PR deptartment obviously has Mondays off. Good to know.

  9. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 30th June 2010, 5:18

    Oh dear…whine and moan, it’s okay, you can just retract what you said once the mud has stuck.

    But I’ll give Alonso the benefit of the doubt, that this was sincere.

  10. W-K said on 30th June 2010, 6:50

    I see Alonso got it right about “It would have only needed a few seconds more or less to totally change our race.”
    If the SC call had come a few seconds earlier he could have dived down the pit lane and had a 5 sec penalty. And not seen what Hamilton did.

  11. Too bad Spanky is no longer in charge at the FIA; you know he would have administered some corporeal punishment to Freddie’s back side,regardless of his retractions. After all, he IS slandering the sport!

  12. Mike said on 30th June 2010, 7:54

    No one will deny that the stewards created a giant cock up. And as the driver who was most negatively affected, Alonso has every right to be angry. In fact! don’t we want the drivers to show emotion? Don’t we want drivers to tell it how they see it? and to say things in the heat of the moment? that’s one of the things F1 should be!
    Drivers are meant to be 110% emotionally involved.

    But Luca, should not have joined in, For him to accuse the FIA of cheating is not good at all. A driver is meant to get upset when things don’t go his way, but a team boss is meant to have some restraint, And back the FIA up even if it was hard done by, for the good of the sport.

    Now we have Alonso and Massa apologising, but for me, this only makes it worse. This is Luca making them apologies to make himself look better, when in reality, He must formally apologies for his comments.

    • W-K said on 30th June 2010, 9:14

      Isn’t your criticism of the stewards a bit OTT, at the time of the Hamilton/SC incident, the only people in the F1 world looking at it were the people who saw it in front of their eyes.
      The rest of the F1 world, all the officials, press TV cxamers’s etc were concerned about Mark Webber. Except possibly the other drivers and their race engineers who were warning their drivers to expect SC deployment.

      • Mike said on 30th June 2010, 9:33

        Even if it is understandable, it was a cock up. I don’t think you can argue against that.

        It took 16 (or close to) laps to come to a decision, which meant that Hamilton served his penalty 19(?) laps after the incident. My computer games have functions to allow me to easily go back watch replays, so I don’t see why the stewards shouldn’t have access to this relatively basic technology.

        The main point of my comment was a criticism
        of Luca di Montezemolo.

        • Jhonnie Siggie said on 30th June 2010, 10:40

          You can only say the stewards screwed up if they took an extraordinarily long time to decide. How about you go look at stats from previous races before you reach such premature conclusions? Would you whine so much if Mr Kobayashi wasn’t so slow and created a gap?

          The only thing people will agree with is that the safety car rule needs looking at. Ham got the penalty prescribed in the rule book but it did not have the effect of more than offsetting any potential advantage. Most of this though was due to good fortune (short pit lane and slow Kobayashi). Your post is all about blame blame blame the fia with little recognition of the actual facts. Do you want the fia to start handing out arbitrary punishments or follow the rules?

        • Obbo said on 30th June 2010, 11:22

          Mike, I agree with your ‘main point’ about Luca and that it was natural for Alonso to be annoyed that his race was disrupted. But not the rest. The stewards delay has more than adequately been explained and I don’t think your computer game analogy holds up. Even I as a programming nerd can still distinguish between code generated scenarios and the complexities of real life! Now if you want to complain about the whole system of dealing with safety car and other infringements I’m with you! And yes we do like to see drivers 110% involved but you can’t seriously be saying that it is a good thing to be so unstable as to lose ones head to the detriment of the ability to perform at even 90% of ones capabilty? Final question. Suppose Fernando made it past the SC then jumped Lewis in the pits. Would Fernando have agreed that those left behind the SC had a right to complain? Or would he have said “I am not concerned with their position, these are the rules”?

        • W-K said on 30th June 2010, 13:19

          The questions you haven’t asked are;
          When were the stewards asked to investigate the Hamilton/SC incident,
          Was all the evidence available, i.e. I understand they had to wait for the helicopter video.
          Where they involved with other matters.

          Only when you find those details can you decide if the Stewards were slow in reaching a decision, but not before.

    • “In fact! don’t we want the drivers to show emotion? Don’t we want drivers to tell it how they see it? and to say things in the heat of the moment? that’s one of the things F1 should be!
      Drivers are meant to be 110% emotionally involved.”

      Couldn’t agree more, I’d much rather support a driver who is passionate about his racing but has flaws than a driver who aspires to have no personality in front of the media so he can try keep a skweeky clean image for his sponsors.

  13. I can understand his frustration, the way it worked out wasn’t right, and he lost out because of it.

    Lewis got away with it, because he broke the rules – and the penalty was applied far to late to have any real significance. Having said that, I don’t think he broke them intentionally – and had he not broken them, he too would’ve been unfairly punted back into the pack with Alonso and co.

    Though, Fernando is the last person I thought I’d hear beating the ‘manipulated race’ drum. When was the last truly manipulated race again?

    The whole deployment was a mess, and I don’t think anyone was trying to gain too much of an unfair advantage, it just worked out really badly – and almost really badly for Lewis as well, who along with Alonso, certainly didn’t deserve to be back so far in the pack.

  14. Oliver said on 30th June 2010, 9:41

    If Alonso new where the safety car line was, why didn’t he attempt to race the safety car to the line much earlier.
    I think Alonso was also done in by the regulation that suggests all cars stay within a certain distance from the car ahead.

  15. kowalsky said on 30th June 2010, 10:00

    It’s such a brainless way to act, what alonso did after the race. First he wasn’t right, on the manipulation claim, second he gave the fia a good reason to give him a penalty for puttting the sport into disrepute.
    And don’t forget that todt and alonso are not the best of friends. I don’t think he will be penalized, but i am pretty sure he’ll get a warning, just because the fia don’t want to throw more wood into the fire.

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