Alonso’s race ruined after Kubica pass

2010 British Grand Prix

After a frustrating race in Valencia Fernando Alonso had more bad luck in the British Grand Prix.

But this time he was at least partly the architect of his own demise.

He was handed a drive-through penalty after the stewards judged he’d passed Robert Kubica by going off the track – and Alonso failed to give the position back.

Alonso passed Kubica at Club, pulling alongside the Renault driver on the outside. Kubica gave him little room, forcing the Ferrari driver onto the run-off.

Alonso rejoined the track in front of Kubica and didn’t cede the position back. This was surprising, as we’ve seen on several occasions the stewards order drivers to hand positions back having taken them by going off the track.

At Singapore last year Alonso was given a place back by Mark Webber after a similar incident on the first lap.

Instead Ferrari and Renault debated the matter with the stewards. Predictably, Alonso was eventually told to give the place back to Kubica.

But within moment of decision been taken, Kubica was out of the race. Now the stewards told Alonso he would have to serve a driver-through penalty.

This was harsh, but completely in line with past decisions – and entirely avoidable had Alonso had the sense to give the position back to Kubica in the first place.

It got worse for Ferrari as the safety car was summoned onto the track moments later, meaning Alonso would have to serve his penalty after the field had bunched up, costing him even more dearly.

Ferrari’s press officer Luca Colajanni referred to the team’s frustration after Valencia when interviews about the penalty on the BBC:

Today we had another example that maybe people need to think about it. We had to give back a position and no-one was around to collect it.

But there are referees in every sport and you have to respect their position, wrong or right.
Luca Colajanni

Their less vehement reaction to this setback compared to their fury after Valencia is perhaps a tacit admission that their driver could have avoided this penalty.

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187 comments on Alonso’s race ruined after Kubica pass

  1. 17 points in two races said on 12th July 2010, 9:05

    How old is Charlie Whiting? He needed 9 laps to decide the penalty!!
    He wait 2 laps for SC after incident involving Sutil and Pedro de la Rosa?

    He is the fan number 1 of LH!!!!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2010, 9:39

      Someone else who doesn’t remember Spa 2008.

      If it should have been obvious to Whiting that quickly, you can say exactly the same of Alonso.

      And Alonso doesn’t have 23 other cars to worry about.

      • fran said on 12th July 2010, 11:33

        2008 is the only moment FIA attacked LH. And not only Spa. In the season they punished several times extremely hard many incidents involving Hamilton. After first season extremely soft for Hamilton came another one harsh.

        That’s reason because i think FIA doesn’t judge only race incidents and also judges paddock incidents, like Alonso’s staments after Valencia.

        For me the problem was the moment FIA chose to deploy SC. It was intentional. Just one lap after announcemt of DT, and 4 laps later of De la Rosa lose the rear wing.

  2. Chalky (@chalky) said on 12th July 2010, 9:48

    I apologise for not reading all the posts here, as it was a long weekend.

    To me, this is quite clear that such an incident, picked up on the TV was not actioned quicker by the race stewards. The stewards should not need more than 1 lap to work out if he left the track to pass another car. It is very simple rule.

    Do the stewards need someone to prompt them into action (i.e: Renault)? Are the not pro-active enough to have someone watching the TV screens and initiate a simple instruction?

    Maybe you could argue that Alonso, should just hand the place back. Well I don’t think he should as he should not be 2nd guessing such actions. Yet again a late steward decision from race control has penalised Alonso.
    It was unfortunate, but the FIA should look to see if they can react quicker to these incidents.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2010, 10:09

      Maybe you could argue that Alonso, should just hand the place back. Well I don’t think he should as he should not be 2nd guessing such actions.

      Perhaps, but I think the value of being aware when you’ve transgressed is clear. By leaving it to the stewards when he was clearly in the wrong, Alonso ended up suffering far worse than if he’d let Kubica past.

      • Chalky (@chalky) said on 12th July 2010, 10:50

        By leaving it to the stewards when he was clearly in the wrong, Alonso ended up suffering far worse than if he’d let Kubica past.

        Only because of the safety car incident and Kubica retiring.

        The problem here is that if the stewards deem the best corrective action for such an incident is for the driver to hand the position back, the decision must come quicker. Otherwise the penalty applied becomes greater the longer they deliberate.

        I know F1 should not be compared to football, but you are taught when playing football to “play to the whistle”. In other words, in a competitive game, you carry on until the referee decides there has been an infringement. The same should apply in F1. If the FIA need more people to watch the TV screens for such incidents then I’m sure a they can bring in a better system to apply penalty’s. With today’s technology, there’s probably an iPhone app for it. :)

  3. SiY said on 12th July 2010, 11:14

    I’m no great fan of Alonso or Ferrari, but it wasn’t even a penalty. ALO was ahead in the braking zone and level coming out of the left-hander – he had the line for the right-hander, and so had legitimately won the corner, but got pushed over the grass by KUB. If Fernando had held his line, or diverted less and run fully over the right-hand kerb, there would have been contact.

    I’m also a little surprised there was no investigation of Vettel’s very heavy move on Sutil at the end. Not saying it should have been penalised, but at least looked at.

    Speaking of penalties, I thought the punishment for pit-lane speeding was a drive-through? DLR only received a fine – http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/gbr-document-53.pdf

  4. kbdavies said on 12th July 2010, 11:30

    “I know F1 should not be compared to football” – Then dont compare it. The stewards job is to enforce transgressions of the rulebook. It is the teams and drivers jobs to know what the rulebook says.

    It is common sense for the teams to err on the side of caution if they are not sure – though this does not guarantee anything. McLaren erred on the side of caution and gave Kimi the position back; but it was deemed Lewis had not done enough and still had an advantage.

    • Chalky (@chalky) said on 12th July 2010, 11:54

      “I know F1 should not be compared to football” – Then dont compare it. The stewards job is to enforce transgressions of the rulebook. It is the teams and drivers jobs to know what the rulebook says.

      F1 teams and drivers do know the rules, it doesn’t stop them pushing the rules to the limit. Hence you carry on until the steward says otherwise. So the analogy of “playing to the whistle” is true, especially in such a fast paced sport.

      Maybe I should have said “Many F1 viewers do not like F1 being compared to football”. Both are a sport that require quick decisions by the referee in charge.

    • maestrointhesky said on 12th July 2010, 12:43

      We all know that football rules are in a state of disrepute due to the very fact that the haven’t embraced technology. This is the last sport I would compare with!

  5. Horacio said on 12th July 2010, 12:23

    Somehow I was expecting a story about “Massa’s race ruined after Alonso move”. Alonso went wide in corner 4, Massa tried the overtake, and Alonso’s wing destroyed Massa’s back tyre. That was a ridiculous move. Massa’s race was over.
    It seems to me that now Ferrari have two drivers who need urgent psicological work.

  6. So long as Faster drivers can’t pass slower drivers…this aero package makes for boring racing

  7. PJA said on 12th July 2010, 18:23

    As soon as Alonso got past Kubica I thought that he would have to give the place back considering decisions in similar cases in recent years, so I was surprised when Alonso didn’t let Kubica through straight away rather than continuing as if it had been a clean overtake.

    The penalty was harsh because of the timing of the safety car, but what else could the stewards have done.

    I thought Ferrari’s calmer reaction was because of the criticism they received from some quarters after what they said after Valencia.

  8. I will put it briefly:

    Alonso did not ‘simply’ cut the corner.

    Kubica pushed him out of the track.

    Alonso was ahead.

    The incident became investigated very late (pay attention: I do not speak of the penalty, but the investigation).

    Which is the part you do not understand?

    • DaveW said on 12th July 2010, 22:44

      It’s clear but not accurate—you are leaving out one point: It is perfectly legal to push a guy passing on the outside into the grass. This is of course the corollary to the Hamilton-Spa Rule. Whatever Kubica did or didnt do is moot.

      Further, the complaints about the lateness are not appealing. If the investigation and penalty were later still, after the field strung out again, then Alonso’s disadvantage would have been less relative to some earlier point.
      The bottom line is that if you flout the rule and gamble on the timing and weight of the penalty, you should be prepared to take the loss. At the end of the day, Alonso’s specific calculation at the time of the pass was that a probablity-discounted cost of a penalty later was better than the sure cost letting Kubica back through now. He did the math wrong. The complaint that the authorities should have saved him from his daft gamble lest he injure himself even more is a little bit too bold.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th July 2010, 9:10

      Again, as we saw at Spa in ’08 it doesn’t matter if the driver was pushed off the track.

      I don’t like the rule, but the rule is clear.

      • Alonso would not have got past Kubica at Monaco where there are walls instead of run off so he would have backed down.

        At Silverstone he chose to use his get out of gaol free card and then tried to gain an advantage from it.

        You have to be very blinkered to think that this didn’t deserve the penalty it received!

      • I am an ignorant. Which is this funny spa-rule? A written one? And what exactly does it say?

        Maybe you are right and France 08 is a better precedent, but sadly I do not remember the footage and do not find any to compare.

        Otherwise I have checked the incident in Spa 08, and I do not think that they are the same (ok, similar). In the chicane at Spa Hamilton is not ahead of Kimi and Kimi cannot see Hamilton, so he is not pushing him off the track. This could provide a different basis for a judgement.

        On the other hand, I wonder what did people think/say of those penalties for Hamilton. I guess many people, like me, thought they were unfair (at least in Spa; it seems that the penalty in France was based on additional tv-evidence bla bla bla nobody could see).

  9. Right decision by the Steward. Ferrari should have gave the place back to Kubica within 2-3 laps instead of arguing with Charlie as we all know the rules.

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th July 2010, 11:48

    Just realised there’s an even clearer precedent for Alonso’s penalty than Spa ’08 which also involves Hamilton – France ’08.

    Hamilton went off the track to pass Vettel, didn’t give the place back, and got a drive-through penalty:

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2008/06/22/video-hamilton-under-pressure-after-error/

    • To counter that, there’s Hungary 2006 – Schuie vs De La Rosa and Schuie vs Heidfeld..

      However that was during the Ferrari-Schuie days so of course it was fine ;) How short some memories are…

      • PJA said on 13th July 2010, 17:40

        Wasn’t Hungary 2006 cutting a corner to defend a position? While I think this is just as bad this still seems to be allowed as I recall it happening a few times at the Canadian GP this year at the final chicane without any punishment.

        Also didn’t Alonso get ordered to let someone through after going off track to overtake at the 2005 Japanese GP?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th July 2010, 19:49

          Wasn’t Hungary 2006 cutting a corner to defend a position?

          Exactly, so not quite the same thing.

          But complete bunk, of course: cutting a corner and gaining an advantage by not losing a position should be thought of as the same as cutting a corner to take a position. But, for whatever reason, it isn’t, and Schumacher got away with much the same at Montreal this year.

          • I was just adding Hungary to the mix for debate and remind the Ferrari conspiracy theorists that there is little reason to think there is a bias against them.

            My view is that Schuie should have been penalised the first time and never in a position where he could end Heidfeld’s race (which he was also unpunished for).

            Going back to the early 90s didn’t Prost get penalised for cutting the new ostcurve chicane at Hockenheim (maybe ’93?) I have a feeling a Ligier got a penalty too (Brundle?)

    • The overriding precedent, though, is the one that has been set this year, which holds that the first time someone commits an offence that – although blatantly against the rules – hasn’t been committed this year, he will get a reprimand and everyone else will be told that subsequent offences will be met with a penalty. Same should have applied to Alonso. :P

  11. maestrointhesky said on 13th July 2010, 12:48

    No one’s really mentioned but why was ALO having to scrap with KUB? He had a dog of a start that’s why! It’s quite funny to hear Maranello complaining about ‘the dirty side of the track being faster’ when KUB passed him starting directly behind him. ALO was obviously trying to take back what he thought was rightfully his!

  12. Simon said on 14th July 2010, 19:49

    Haven’t seen this mentioned so far, from Charlie Whiting:

    >> http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/85258

    “We told Ferrari three times that in my opinion they should give the position back to Kubica.

    And we told them that immediately, right after the overtaking manoeuvre. On the radio, I suggested to them that if they exchange position again, there would be no need for the stewards to intervene.”

    If that’s what happened then it shows that (a) Ferrari / Alonso got everything they deserved in that race and (b) the role the stewards play isn’t always portrayed fairly.

  13. It’s the kind of silly incident that just doesn’t happen in racing series with common sense.

    1) On a real race track, Alonso would have gotten beached in the gravel trap on the inside of club, or at least severaly slowed and destabilised by grass.

    2) In decent series, such as Grand-Am, drivers spontaneously give the position back or the decision is made in less than a lap. Example: Foggarty pushing Taylor off the track at Daytona in DP. Within 30s he served a drive through.

    A self inflicted blow by race control, ferrari and the track. If there is no ‘off track’ any more, why would anyone bother staying on it?

  14. Fixy said on 18th July 2010, 14:30

    Alonso said that if instead of the grass there had been a concrete wall, he would have crashed and the stewards would have given a penalty to Kubica. Fernando had to give immediately back the position, but the stewards didn’t have to hand hima drive-through. 20 seconds are too much. They could have added 5 seconds to his race time like to the 9 drivers in Valencia.

  15. You can read here about the conversations between Charlie and Ferrari (well, according to the Italian press):

    http://www.sportmediaset.mediaset.it/formula1/articoli/articolo37281.shtml

    I insist on a point made long ago: the incident got investigated too late…

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