No penalty for Alonso over Vergne incident

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2013The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards have taken no action over the incident between Fernando Alonso and Jean-Eric Vergne during the race.

Alonso was investigated for “allegedly leaving the track and gaining an advantage” at turn three when he overtook the Toro Rosso driver.

The stewards ruled that “While car three [Alonso] did leave the track at turn three to four the stewards believe that he had no choice, as car eighteen [Vergne] closed on him.”

“Car eighteen was at the end of his stint with worn tyres and was fully committed to the turn as car three exited the pits. Telemetry confirms that car three was significantly faster, on option tyres, and had the advantage throughout the sequence. The drivers’ explanations were completely clear.

“Therefore the stewards determine that neither car could avoid the incident, and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”

Alonso blamed Vergne for the incident, saying the Toro Rosso driver left him insufficient space.

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147 comments on No penalty for Alonso over Vergne incident

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  1. Nick (@npf1) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:00

    Fair enough. The pit exit might look impressive and be unique; it surely isn’t the best place to rejoin the track.

    • Loup Garou (@loup-garou) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:53

      Agreed. Out of necessity the driver emerging from the pits has to move slightly to the right to re-join but if someone was coming through on the main track, the instinct is to move left to avoid contact. That latter movement may well take the driver off the limit and that’s what happened to Alonso.

    • Perfect businessman scenario.
      1. Delay Massa front tire pit by 1 second, personal mistake.
      2. Alonso get out side by side and does banzai
      3. Penalty? Lobby to be postponed after the race.
      4. Change mode to Teflonso, Vergne had nothing to loose anyway.
      5. Settle down.

    • Hans Dutchie said on 4th November 2013, 15:43

      No just ruling….Vergne is at race speed..Alonso exit pitlane…..was shown blue light…..any other driver would had drive through penalty..

  2. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:01

    Seems fair.

  3. Mr win or lose said on 3rd November 2013, 17:02

    Good decision, the less penalties the better.

  4. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:02

    Good decision, if anyone, Vergne should have gotten a penalty for his complete lack of spacial awareness and dangerous driving.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:04

      @kingshark That’s completely unfair. Vergne was on the racing line and was not required to get off it to let Alonso past.

      • palmerstoneroad (@palmerstoneroad) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:24

        Suggesting a new title for the post: “Unfairness of telemetry”

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:46

        @keithcollantine
        He new a faster car was going alongside him, Alonso has nowhere to go he was limited by the white line of the exit of the pit lane even if he exists the pit lane he will be committed to the racing line before Vergne, so JEV has 2 options : not committing the racing line or forcing Alonso of the track which what he did.

        That’s completely unfair. Vergne was on the racing line and was not required to get off it to let Alonso past.

        You are talking with 100% technical point of view but there are also other variables that should be taken into account, i know that there is no rules that tells that you should watch your mirrors when you’ve got the racing line …… but this is F1 even if you’re not aware of drivers positions when you are leaving the pit the team should know there is race tracker team radio….. and Vergne was aware of Fernando’s situation that’s why he should have gotten a penalty, BTW i hope in the future he will show the same level of bravery and committing to the racing line like he did with Fernando when the driver in question will be Sebastian Vettel

        • Metallion (@metallion) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:29

          It’s the driver joining the track who has responsibility to join safely, there’s no way you can put the blame on Vergne for this incident.

          • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:38

            @metallion

            It’s the driver joining the track who has responsibility to join safely

            The problem here the pit lane exit doesn’t guarantee that 100%, like i said Alonso has nowhere to go he has 2 options if he wanted to avoid Vergn :
            1 disappear 2 big crash
            BTW Vergne himself praised Alonso’s reaction to avoid a big crash and recognized that he didn’t saw him on his mirrors

          • TMF (@tmf42) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:13

            @tifoso1989 – there was a 3rd option – lift the throttle. the problem is still that ALO didn’t give the place back, even after going off and that’s just inconsistent with what we saw this year.

          • dennis (@dennis) said on 3rd November 2013, 21:51

            @tmf42

            I was slowly beginning to think I was the only one who thought he could have just braked, or lifted instead of forcing himself into this situation.

            Utterly ridicolous decision.

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 4th November 2013, 18:06

          @Tifoso1989
          As much as I love to see Fernando blowing off the doors with fantastic overtakes, one must not assume that a disadvantaged car should EVER simply move over when fighting for position. Indeed, the onus it on the following driver to get passed in a way that complies with the rules and safety guidelines. Though it pains me to say it, ALO got away with one in this case.

      • I completely agree. Alonso kept his foot down though he was clearly behind when he joined the track. To claim he had nowhere to go is nonsense and only valid if Alonso somehow has different rights from the rest. He could easily have backed off a bit and obviously would have done so had there been a wall instead a run-off area as one of the commentators suggested.

    • Hyoko said on 3rd November 2013, 17:13

      It blindlingly obvious that JEV went out of the racing line to force Alonso out. I can’t say if that’s legal or not. But don’t say JEV was an innocent bystander.

      • scratt (@scratt) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:16

        I agree with you Hyoko, and think that Keith´s interpretation of the “defensive move” in the regulations is very narrow.

        It would be interesting to analyse the line that Vergne took in the preceding couple of laps to see how wide he was going then. The stewards mentioned he was on worn tyres and “committed” to the line, which kind of protects him from the counter claim that he didn’t give Alonso room. But I am curious to see if he really needed to go that wide. I suspect not.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:28

        I don’t see how you could say that unless you think the racing line for that corner involves going nowhere near the exit kerb. It does, of course, and this being F1 they use most of it, which is why it’s covered in rubber. Watch the replay and you’ll see Vergne’s line is no different to Massa’s behind him.

        Besides which, the stewards considerations make it clear they don’t consider Vergne was at fault. Alonso was the one under investigation for “allegedly gaining an advantage” – there was no mention of whether Vergne forced Alonso off the track. And the stewards noted Vergne was “fully committed to the turn” – not that he’d come off the line to keep Alonso behind.

        • @keithcollantine its doesn’t really matter what the racing line is , the rule says if a car is alongside, drivers have to leave a car’s width period. IMO JEV should have got penalty for not leaving enough space, which is quite clear.

          • No. The driver joining the track has the obligation to join safely. Alonso should have slowed to allow verne to pass then join safely behind him. Instead he fought the position by leaving the track. In my mind he should have been punished.

          • zenman1 (@zenman1) said on 3rd November 2013, 22:00

            Bearing in mind lee1’s comment/reply I think that in all honesty it 50/50, but the bit that people will remember is Alonso raging that it was Vergne’s fault, yet Vergne himself actually complemented Alonso on avoiding a crash, and that he had not seen him!!!

          • @lee1 you got the rule right, but it doesn’t apply here. It applies if JEV is in front , but here they are not, check the on-board footage they are side-by-side before alonso runs off track. As soon as they are side by side “leaving space” rule applies.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd November 2013, 23:06

            @f1007

            the rule says if a car is alongside, drivers have to leave a car’s width period

            Only in a specific circumstance which was not fulfilled by what happened here.

          • scratt (@scratt) said on 5th November 2013, 9:38

            It was fulfilled if you consider that Vergne ran wide in that corner, which would then be considered a defensive move.

            A defensive move does not need to be a lunge.

        • @keithcollantine well just read JEV did not see alonso, so that settles it, its racing incident. no body deserves penalty.

          • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 4th November 2013, 18:13

            @alonso_fan
            I will argue that.
            By getting a pass on a slower car ahead and a pass on the rules, ALO got an advantage by not having to slow to remain on the racing surface and by not being held up. ALO did not have to wait for a good passing section of DRS zone, he was able to start closing his gap that much quicker.

            ALO DID leave the track to complete an overtake, JEV had NO reason to let him by and had a right to fight for his position with 1 move, and ALO DID get an advantage by not having to deal with a slower car ahead, but yet, NO penalty…

            I root for ALO, but in the face of these facts, I can see why people are angry

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:26

      … maybe the main problem being that racing line and pit exit meet in the middle of a high speed corner as some said? Neither could do anything about that without a fair chance of crash at that speed.
      And there can be a long debate between “4 wheels out and gaining an advantage” and “forced a driver outside the track”.

  5. randomfan said on 3rd November 2013, 17:04

    I was already bit worried that FIA might have a clear and consistent rule policy. But yeah, No.

  6. yuya (@john-locke) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:07

    Seems fair. well done.

  7. Sam (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:08

    “Car eighteen was at the end of his stint with worn tyres and was fully committed to the turn as car three exited the pits. Telemetry confirms that car three was significantly faster, on option tyres, and had the advantage throughout the sequence. The drivers’ explanations were completely clear.”

    Grosjean was without doubt also faster than Massa…

    • Sam (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:10

      And when approaching a chicane just go straight if you’re about to ‘overtake’ a slower car… especially when he is on older tyres.

    • Merv (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:38

      @ardenflo I was reading the comments to see if anybody had made the point. Grosjean was much faster than Massa and stayed a lot closer to the track than Alonso did today. Complete lack of consistency in decision making.

  8. TMF (@tmf42) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:09

    Very weak by stewards. Might be because it’s ALO or Ferrari they investigated, but comparing this decision to some they made earlier this year they fell back in their old habit of being wildly inconsistent. Especially by arguing that the car was anyway quicker – so was GRO in Hungary, HULK, HAM in Singapore, RIC in Japan and so on.
    Sure it’s partly down to the unfortunate layout where drivers commit to the T3 exit blindly and the guy coming from the pits joins them on the racing line, but if they want to enforce track limits then they also have to do it.

  9. Sensible decision, it was a spectacular move, but there’s no consistency at all. I mean, the argument “he pushed me off track, I had no choice” is not good enough, Grosjean was penalized for his excellent pass on Massa in Hungary.
    So, yeah, I don’t know what to think. While watching the race I was sure Alonso was going to get a penalty, based on past experiences this year.

    • Hyoko said on 3rd November 2013, 17:16

      I agree with you, but whatever they did they would have been inconsistent. And RoGro’s penalty was a disgrace.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:51

      It’s never easy to judge this sort of situation, but at least this time they fully explained their decision.

      True, the stewards do need to be more consistent, but we can’t forget that they have access to reams of telemetry and video footage the fans never see.

    • vosegus said on 3rd November 2013, 19:15

      easy steward decision: it was ferrari…

  10. Dion (@infinitygc) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:12

    I’m sorry to disagree with a lot of people, but the stewards have been utterly terrible this weekend.
    Sutil clearly gained an advantage offtrack (basically flooring it in the run-off area), Alonso passed someone offtrack (Similar to Grosjean, who took avoiding action during his overtaking maneuver which caused him to go offtrack), Gutierrez made multiple moves during defending (which he also got away with in India) and we saw numerous people offending the “Don’t go wide at the final turn”-rule, while they were specifically told to follow it.

    As you may see, most of the issues this weekend were track-limit related, and no one got a penalty for disobeying the rules. You can set up rules, but if you do,you have to follow through and actually enforce them.

    • Imre (@f1mre) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:26

      And you forgot HĂĽlkenberg’s joke penalty.

      • Dion (@infinitygc) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:34

        I can kinda agree with that one since it’s an unsafe release, but I don’t agree with penalising the driver for it, since it (usually) isn’t his fault, but the teams’ (as it was in this case).

      • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:39

        @f1mre totally disagree with you on that. A crash in the pits can have deadly consequences. Unsafe release. Really a pity for him though!

        • Sam (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:58

          Team should get fined if it is an unsafe release with no further consequences. If it involves a crash or damage to cars, also driver.

          • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:03

            Makes sense, but also note that penalising the driver also affects the Constructors’ Championship as it reduces the chances of points.

        • Yes (@come-on-kubica) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:12

          At the start of the year there were a few incidents like that, and all the stewards did was fine the team. I remember Paul di Resta had a worse incident at Malaysia i think and he got no punishment. It’s the inconsistency which is the worst thing.

        • Imre (@f1mre) said on 18th November 2013, 8:43

          @spoutnik @infinitygc We haven’t seen replays but Vettel was released very similarly yesterday. A Marussia was the other car. Front wing and rear wheel were side-by-side.

          For me it’s never a penalty. Especially in such wide pits like these.

          • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 18th November 2013, 12:20

            @f1mre I saw it, and I just replayed it before answering. No penalty there IMO, they were close at most. The Marussia didn’t even bother to brake. The most dangerous situation is when cars have crossing trajectories, when their box are close each other.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:38

      @infinitygc
      I agree completely.
      “That’ll do, guys. Lets go to the pub”.
      They rave on about how they will punish drivers for not respecting track limits, and not only do they let half the grid get away with not doing so in qualifying, but they don’t care in the race either.
      The solution? Turn the run-offs into a mix of Grass, gravel, Teflon and barbed wire.
      Since the drivers can’t respect the track limits, and the stewards can’t decide on anything, it seems like the only solution is to make a track that punishes the drivers when they leave the track. Just like in the good old days when leaving the track meant loosing time, positions and even ending up with a DNF.

  11. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:15

    I can’t believe this! The same reasoning could be applied for almost every situation we had in the recent years with overtaking off the track limits. When i think about the first case – Vettel overtaking Button – absolutely the same. He didn’t had space and he was Faster. Massa and Grosjean – the same. What happened here FIA? This is not about fair or not, this is about are you consistent in your decisions or not.

  12. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:17

    No way, FIA not punishing Ferrari? That must be the first time…
    Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Hamilton, all of them got penaltys or had to give the position back, but Alonso can do whatever he wants. He was not pushed off, he sould have lifted. He saw Vergne, it’s clear on the onboard camera. Vergne was on the racing line and had no obligation to let Alonso go by or to leave space as Keith pointed out.

    • Palle (@palle) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:15

      +1
      Why can a driver get away with overtaking of track just because he was faster? What a lame argument is that? You can only overtake if You can find a way past within the track limits, if not You should lift or give the position back. The fact that Alonso could have overtaken Vergne a little later is not an argument. And why did Sutil get away with the corner cutting in the Sutil- Maldonado incident? We need un-drivable off-track areas, the sooner the better. That will end all these discussions – the only thing left will be to decide if a driver was pushed of track or it was his own bad judgement leading him to run out of track.

      • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:37

        Yes – seems a fair decision to me, and Vergne accepts it – but the stewards’ explanation isn’t ideal, and maybe sets a precedent. A bit like last year, when one of the reasons given for Grosjean’s race ban was that he took out the championship leader? It almost sounds like you can overtake someone off the track with impunity, as long as you’re going faster than him or on softer tyres!

        • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 3rd November 2013, 20:46

          LOL, you’re comparing GRO last year at Spa with this ?!?! Get real, man ! You take for granted a rookie who goes sideways on a circuit with gravel/grass off-track, and when there’re 3-4 cars side by side ?!?! No, you don’t. You shouldn’t. Everybody knows what happened. Then, things could have went really really ugly. Did you see GRO front wheel going centimeters away from ALO’s helmet ? Don’t want to think what could have happened if that wheel would have hit ALO’s helmet. These 2 cases are not comparable almost at all.

  13. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:18

    I’m not surprised that they never go against him…

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:14

      @omarr-pepper

      I’m not surprised that they never go against him…

      BTW last year Alonso never went to the stewards, he was the cleanest driver of 2012 no penalties, no reprimands no anything and this year he got a reprimand for lifting Webber after the race in Singapoor, maybe i have a short memory but can you tell us when did Alonso has a go at the stewards in the last couple of years ???
      even if he know how to play mind games & psychological war, on the track he knows exactly how to race hard and fair, that’s why he is considered as one of the best racers of his generation, to be honest i was expecting a penalty after the race but after Fernando’s statement i knew that he will not get it maybe because his opinion is important in this kind of racing situations
      BTW of all the sadness of today’s GP (at least for me) i have enjoyed Vettel’s celebration with donuts not because it was spectacular but because he was making a point, let’s say challenging the FIA !!!
      and i hope that all the drivers in the future will have the same attitude, i just like drivers with strong personalities & Vettel this year has showed that (even if i don’t like his success at the moment for obvious reasons)

  14. Andre (@lheela) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:23

    Teflonso strikes again.

  15. Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:28

    I’m a bit tired of the stewards now. They had been okay this season with punishing off the track moments – people complained about RoGro getting punished at Hungary but I thought they were bang on; if you need to go off the track to pass then it isn’t much of an overtake anyway but since India the stewards/Whiting have just acted without any logic. They ignored people exceeding the track limits throughout India, then before qualifying they said they would look at anyone who went wide at the last corner – why the last corner and no others is beyond me- and yet they did absolutely nothing about it so were yet again inconsistent, and finally, they ignored Alonso exceeding the track limits and Sutil doing the same. There’s just no logic or consistency. It was also pretty frustrating how they waited until after the race to make the decision; say they had found Alonso guilty then it would have been really unfair to punish him with a time penalty when they could have immediately told him to just give the position back.

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