Alonso defends decision not to change broken wing

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang, 2013Fernando Alonso defended the decision not to change his damaged front wing which led to his retirement from the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Alonso broke his front wing on the first lap of the race by hitting Sebastian Vettel’s car: “We were very unlucky,” he said. “After making a good start, I touched with Vettel at the second corner. It was a surprise to find him there, almost stopped and I don?t know what speed he was doing.”

He admitted the decision not to change the front wing was taken as he and the team wanted to wait until the track had begun to dry and he could use the pit stop to change to slick tyres as well:

“Despite the fact the car was damaged, it didn?t seem to be too bad and, together with the team, we decided to keep going, because if we?d stopped immediately and then again on lap three or four to fit dry tyres, we would have dropped too far back and definitely lost the chance to finish up the front.”

But the wing failed almost immediately after he passed the pit entrance, sending him skidding into a gravel trap. “It?s easy to criticise this decision, but at the time it seemed like the right one,” said Alonso.

“It was certainly a shame, because here we could have fought with the Red Bulls, but circumstances didn?t help and apart from the wisdom of the decisions we took, bad luck really played its part, when you think how many off-track excursions there were in Australia without any consequence and even here when the cars first went out on track.

“Now we are already focusing on the coming races in China and Bahrain, where we hope to do better than last year, so that we arrive in Europe with as many points as possible.”

Team mate Felipe Massa was held up behind Alonso in the first corners and finished fifth. Team principal Stefano Domenicali said the result left a “bitter taste” after his cars lined up second and third on the grid.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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104 comments on Alonso defends decision not to change broken wing

  1. kimithechamp (@kimithechamp) said on 25th March 2013, 18:01

    If it were another team, any other team, the FIA would have handed a penalty to them. Terribly unsafe to drive around with that much of your car so close to falling off at any moment. Then it happens right in front of the front runners spreading sharp bits everywhere in the breaking zone going into turn 1. What a royal “crap” job from the whole lot. Damn good thing it was a wing and nothing with a little more weight (Massa…)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2013, 20:59

      @kimithechamp Given your username I’d’ve thought you’d remember McLaren doing essentially the same thing with Kimi Raikkonen at the Nurburgring in 2005 and not getting punished.

      If the stewards want a driver to pit because of a potentially dangerous fault on their car, they use the black and orange flag. As was done with Robert Kubica at Monza in 2009 when he had a broken front wing on his BMW.

      In this case, there simply wasn’t time. There was maybe 20 seconds between Alonso passing the pit lane entrance and crashing out of the race.

      • Keith, please explain how you can compare a flat spot with a heavy load bearing wing missing some 93% of it’s integrity?

        Did McLaren take it too far at Nurburgring? Absolutely, but it was a much slower progressing issue that took 20 laps to evolve of which most were not “certain disaster” unlike this.

        • kimithechamp (@kimithechamp) said on 25th March 2013, 21:56

          What Poul said.
          Additionally, my stance would be, why did the FIA not direct the stewards to force Ferrari to pit the car? Obviously the wing was an issue LONG before Alonso passed the pit lane entry. How many laps does the FIA need in order to figure out the wing is CLEARLY a danger? He was already driving nearly on top of it around turn 5 I think (load of the car on the right hand side allowing the wing to slide further under the left tire) sparking like wild… only a few ways to get sparks like that and I’d think with their expertise the FIA, Ferrari, and Alonso would all have a pretty good idea what’s going on.
          Although the differences in the situations are well highlighted by Poul, I’d also point out the Massa indecent happened well after the 05 Kimi one you reference, and I’d think Massa’s has certainly highlighted the importance of the rules for unsafe cars on track.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th March 2013, 6:51

            Its likely they did not get any chance to do that @kimithechamp. They would have waited for Alonso to pit after that first lap, as without doubt millions of watchers expected to see.
            Only he did not pit, and about 20 seconds later it would become an academical question.

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