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.

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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147 comments on No penalty for Alonso over Vergne incident

  1. evered7 (@evered7) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:55

    So Alonso never gets punished is what is the view of most here? Anybody forget Valencia, GB 2010?

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:59

      There’s a reason he’s known as Teflonso. I don’t buy it myself, but equally I can’t pretend I don’t have my own biases :-)

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:17

      Suzuka 2012

      • Eric (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:55

        @tifoso1989
        LOL

        Suzuka 2012 was solely Alonso’s fault.

        I do realize you as well as Alonso expect everyone to just move out of the way.
        Just like today.

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th November 2013, 16:09

          @baron-2
          You clearly missed the point, i don’t know why some people become nervous when it is about Alonso/Ferrari, i was referring to Vettel impeding in qualifying during Suzuka 2012 and not Raikkonen’s accident on the first lap
          I do realize you as well my friend !!!!!!!!!!

    • Hyoko said on 3rd November 2013, 22:48

      How about Monaco this year, Perez forced him out of the track, and unbelievably Alonso had to give back the position. I was happy that later on Kimi had what it takes to close the door on Perez in another of his kamikaze moves.

  2. Slr (@slr) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:56

    Going by the rule book he should have been penalised, however considering that the stewards have turned a blind eye all weekend to drivers exceeding the track limits it would have been a bit unfair on Alonso to receive a penalty. I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but I feel that regarding the matter of drivers exceeding the track limits, the stewards should either penalise everyone who infringes the rule, or no one at all.

    • Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:19

      +1

      Finally a good comment. So many drivers went off-track this GP weekend in different corners, so giving ALO a penalty for going off-track would have been a biased decision. How about Massa going off-track in his last run from Q1, how about Vettel in his last run from Q3 etc etc ? I’m glad they did not give any penalty to ALO. That was 1 of the nice moments of the race. Also, Vergne had no fault. ALO was the 1 who pushed the things. There were some moments where some other drivers/teams could have been penalised, but the stewards let them “escape”. I really don’t see any favouritism towards Ferrari. Plus, I think the stewards let ALO “escape” because the position for which he fought wasn’t that “rewarding” either. If that fight would have been for one of the podium places, I don’t he would have escaped any penalty at all.

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:24

      What is strange is that they specifically told the drivers this weekend that they would enforce the track limit rules very strictly, and then nothing happened apart from a few penalties in GP2 and GP3.

    • Dion (@infinitygc) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:27

      I think you’ve worded it best, so far!

  3. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 3rd November 2013, 17:58

    “You need to leave the space, you always need to leave the space [for Alonso]!”

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

      and for Vettel

      • Eric (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:51

        @tifoso1989

        When Alonso complained about it the FIA quickly clarified the rules and punished anyone who broke those rules. Now Alonso breaks them as well and the stewards do nothing and people have the nerve to blame Vergne… Classic double standards.

      • V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 3rd November 2013, 20:31

        @tifoso1989

        I remember Vettel got penalized post race for passing Button and lost his podium place in one of the GP’s 2012 and this affected the championship. Also Alonso had to give place to Sergio in Monaco this season because he cut the chicane. Why suddenly they decided to stop enforcing the rules? This race is not affecting the championship. But if it was affecting the championship it was going to be pretty unfair. If Vettel was the one doing the pass off track, were you going to defend him, telling us all that he did nothing wrong? I don’t think so. Lets not judge the stewards decision by how they effect our favorite driver, lets judge them according the rules and the previous history of enforcing those rules.

  4. Barney said on 3rd November 2013, 18:22

    Grosjean escapes penalty in Hungary also floor penalty. But Raikkonen gets floor penalty!!!!! Why??? The stewards fail more and more with each race!!!! I’m surprised Vergne wasn’t penalised, although he did not deserved it under these circumstances!!!!!! That aside, there are too many penalties, too many rules over how to defend yourself etc. They killed racing anyway.

    PS: As big Ferrari fan as I am, Alonso deserved a penalty this race. Also it was funny seeing how the pit crew made a mistake INTENTIONALLY to slow down Massa! Disappointed.

    • Dave (@raceprouk) said on 3rd November 2013, 23:46

      The floor failure was the same on both cars. Had Lotus redesigned the part to prevent a second failure, they may well have escaped penalty.

  5. Patrick (@paeschli) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:26

    FIA = Ferrari International Assistance …

    The penality for Grosjean in Hungary seems completely unfair now …

  6. Eric (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 18:46

    If this had been about Vettel, he would have been crucified.

    And he would have gotten a penalty.

    This is,.. Unbelievable.

    • Slr (@slr) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:13

      Vettel has gotten away with overtaking by exceeding the track limits himself before, he got away with it in Australia in 2011.

      • @slr which was before the supposed clamping down. I don’t necessarily agree that Alonso should have gotten a penalty, but that incident is pretty irrelevant. What would be more relevant is Germany 2012…

        • Slr (@slr) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:57

          @vettel1 Well it hard to say when the clamping down began, in the same race Button was penalised for overtaking off the circuit; Alonso was given penalty for the same reason during the British Grand Prix a year earlier; in Singapore in 2009 Webber passed Alonso off the circuit and had to give the place back.

          Certainly the FIA have been more vocal about this issue recently, but penalising drivers for overtaking via exceeding the track limits is nothing new.

          • @slr
            Button cut the chicane to overtake in that race, as did Alonso in Silverstone. Overtaking by going beyond the while line on exit wasn’t punished as much as it is today.

      • Eric (@) said on 4th November 2013, 1:31

        @slr

        In a corner where everybody and their Grandmother go off track every single lap.

        If you look at Germany 2012, Vettel was also pushed to the outside by Button but still got a penalty. Or Grosjean on Massa in Hungary, same idea. Now though, it’s suddenly Vergne’s fault although Vergne had absolutely no way of seeing Alonso and it’s Alonso’s responsibility to make sure nothing happens as he exits the pits.

        • Slr (@slr) said on 4th November 2013, 16:45

          If you look at Germany 2012, Vettel was also pushed to the outside by Button but still got a penalty.

          Vettel wasn’t pushed off, he chose to go off; at no point did Button run Vettel wide.

          Yes stewarding is inconsistent, however the only real way to achieve it is by have permanent stewards. Different stewards will view different kinds of incidents differently. It’s possible that had the Abu Dhabi stewards would have not given a penalty to Grosjean had they been stewarding the Hungarian GP.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th November 2013, 16:32

      @baron-2
      Just for the history
      Vettel escaped penalties in :
      Suzuka 2011 : pushing a driver off the track leaving button with 2 wheels on the track
      Suzuka 2012 : impeding a driver
      I know that all the drivers do make mistakes and it is up to the stewards to made the right decisions but if they didn’t do then it’s not the drivers fault and it’s not a reason to play the victim for your favorite driver

  7. TheBass (@) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:23

    Welcome to F1, where the penalties are a joke and the rules don’t matter.

  8. Palle (@palle) said on 3rd November 2013, 19:24

    So next race, if a driver is faster than the one in front, he just have to build up a situation, where he “is forced to go of track” because he doesn’t lift when he should’ve done it and then cut the corner and overtake – like Sutil did today and got away with it.

  9. PeterG said on 3rd November 2013, 19:28

    Vergne-
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/111117

    “It was a racing incident and if he had not gone on the outside [of the track] like he did, we would have had a big crash,” Vergne told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was high-speed, and what he did was right. Actually, I am really happy he did that otherwise we would have had an accident, so yes, definitely [the stewards made the right decision].”

  10. Sure, Vergne didn’t leave enough room and Alonso was forced to go off the track. It was a daring and impressive overtaking by Alonso as usual. However, should another driver have done the same (say a Grosjean or Hulkenberg), I’m pretty sure he would have being penalized straight away!

  11. Paul A (@paul-a) said on 3rd November 2013, 20:04

    “Telemetry confirms that [Alonso]… had the advantage throughout the sequence… and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”

    Leaving the track to avoid an “incident” which otherwise would become an “accident” is what top drivers have the reactions and skills to do. It is part of racing. (Despite Coulthard and others reporting that Whiting was going to be firm, it’s obvious — thank goodness — that the stewards decided differently, else half the qualifying times would have been thrown out.)

    And before anyone raises “safety”, F1 is racing, not sitting at a computer playing games. Safety has improved enormously since I started watching F1 (multiple deaths every year) and I see no reason at all for the occasional close proximity “incident” to not be accepted as part of normal racing. This year’s F1 has been boring enough without penalizing drivers who have an innate sense of “b*lls to the wall” and the skill to pull it off.

    • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 3rd November 2013, 20:14

      And I trust that Alonso is OK after his hospital visit (reported by BBC) — apparently the “telemetry” said he pulled 28G into his spine.

    • Alonso sees slower car coming around the bend, and keeps the foot down so he is on collision course with other car. He then moves outside of the track limits and overtakes the other car, and the stewards say ‘no advantage was gained’. To me, there is a definite advantage to overtaking someone.

      And then there’s Charlie Whiting saying that going wide on the outside of a bend doesn’t give any advantage … funny that everyone still did it in qualifying – the drivers must be pretty dumb to keep doing it when there’s ‘no advantage’ …

      I wonder how long they expect us to keep believing them …

  12. maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) said on 3rd November 2013, 20:10

    I think I’ll go with whatever the stewards have decided, and what Vergne said. Good decision. I find it amazing that there are so many people here are bashing the stewards while they have all the information to make a decision, and we, well, we don’t really have any information. The stewards will have access to telemetry data, hear the driver’s statements (without any PR filter), look at various camera angels, etc. Why is it so hard for people to accept the stewards’ decision then? What do we have? A couple of replays and an interview with an upset Alonso.

    • Eric (@) said on 4th November 2013, 1:37

      @maarten-f1

      we don’t really have any information.

      Except for the, I don’t know, TV footage that clearly showed Alonso to be well off track with all four wheels to get past Vergne.

      He exited the pits and was behind Vergne. Then he goes off track and manages to get in front of Vergne. He would have never gotten in front if he had stayed on track. Simple.

  13. Paul2013 said on 3rd November 2013, 20:16

    The only problem here it is that @keithcollantine really hates Alonso. Apart from that there is no other possible decision from the FIA and Alonso had no other choice.

  14. Jorge Lardone (@jorge-lardone) said on 3rd November 2013, 22:24

    “Follow the money, always follow the money”. Alonso “is” Santander, who puts lots of money into formula 1. He wil never be penalised, the stewards always will find some explanation for that.

    • Hyoko said on 3rd November 2013, 22:59

      Unfortunately for your theory he has been penalised and/or forced to give back the position as often as the next guy. And while it is true that a few somewhat similar incidents have been penalised (Grosjean on Massa notably) many others (a few of them in today’s race) haven’t been. Yes, there are inconsistencies, it is nothing new. But you need tunnel vision to say they favor a particular driver or team. Maybe there was a time when FIA could be Ferrari’s Int etc, but that was quite a few years ago.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 4th November 2013, 16:39

      Absolutely brilliant by your logic mr @jorge-lardone of “Follow the money, always follow the money”
      Vettel is Red Bull and Red Bull puts lots of money into formula 1 that’s why he is a 4 times WDC (they have TC and an illegal car but because of the money no one can say a word)
      Hamilton & Roseberg are Mercedes and Mercedes puts lots of money into formula 1 that’s why they are 2nd in the WCC
      Please if you have more theories don’t hesitate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. snowman.john (@snowman-john) said on 3rd November 2013, 23:53

    Madness and dangerous. So we have a new rule that says “if you have a fast car then you are allowed to take a shortcut”? The correct option was for Alonso to lift off the throttle.

  16. Michael Brown (@) said on 4th November 2013, 0:33

    I know Alonso had to avoid Vergne due to how the pit exit is, but he overtook Vergne by going off the track. Even worse in my opinion is Sutil cutting the chicane to stay ahead of Perez. He didn’t gain a place, but he possibly failed to lose one

  17. Face21 (@face21) said on 4th November 2013, 0:46

    I believe this is an inconsistent decision with what we have seen so far this season, plus it hasn’t been properly argued by the stewards. I don’t think the argument is about Vergne leaving enough space or Alonso coming out of the pits and having to lift to let Vergne through as many people say. The point is that Alonso did leave the track and he did gain an advantage (which was to be in front of Vergne after leaving the track while fighting for position). The fact that Alonso was quicker and on fresher rubber it totally irrelevant, as when an incident of this sort happens, the car trying to overtake is usually faster and is the one leaving the track most of the times, so it could always be used and this rule would never be enforced.

    The only argument that Alonso could hold not to be punished is that he was in front of Vergne all the time, and thus he did not gain a real advantage, but then again, we have seen examples this year where a driver leaves the track fighting for position and gets a penalty even though he was in front all the time, i.e. the Hulkenberg/Perez incident in Singapore:
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/09/22/hulkenberg-disagrees-with-stewards-over-perez-move/

    For those people arguing that Alonso could have done nothing else as lifting wouldn’t have avoided a collision with Vergne, my point is still clear: he could have given the position back on the next corner as it is usually done on this sort of situation. And this is what he should have done in my opinion. The chicane after the tunnel in Monaco is a clear example. There is no way that two cars can go parallel through there, so when there is a tight move, the driver on the outside usually jumps the chicane and then gives the position back so that he gains no advantage and therefore no penalty. Given the speed Alonso had on the soft tire at the end of the race he would have probably ended up fifth even if he had given the position back to Vergne. However, he didn’t, and so he deserved a penalty in my opinion.

    Having said that, I must point out that I don’t like this rule at all. It penalizes aggressive drives and risky moves, which is what really spices up the races. It also takes a lot of human interpretation which isn’t always consistent as we have seen today. A simpler solution (although more expensive in terms of money) would be to replace the track limits with a surface that would slow cars down, so that people would not get a real advantage by running over the track limits. Let the drivers fight! We want more racing and less judging!!!

  18. Jono (@me262) said on 4th November 2013, 1:49

    blah blah blah vettel won the race, championship long decided. Even if he received a penalty, Alonso has nothing to fight for…this is a big who cares along with the rest of F1 races remaining

  19. The dimensions this comments stream has taken on is quite remarkable…everything from conspiracy theories to insulting the operator of this site…so, here’s my take:

    1. re: conspiracy theories and teflonso – besides the nice ring that the nickname has, and the big politics and big money that do have an undue and undesirable influence on the sport, this incidence is hardly evidence of either. only thinking that vergne should have been punished is a bigger reach (which btw is the only thing that alonso deserves criticism for).

    2. As for the steward’s decision(s) – the ‘inconsistencies’ are often a function of the situational awareness and context-sensitive application of the rules that we indeed expect from them. So, lets cut them some slack when we have a different interpretation of the events or the rules. If you think this was a clear cut rule infringement, I disagree (sort of)…

    3. The pit lane exit as the special circumstance that vindicates Alonso – Initially, I also thought that Alonso could have lifted to avoid the incidence (after all he does join the track behind Vergne), and so he clearly gained an advantage by going off track which wasn’t inevitable had he ‘decided’ not to go for the pass. So, punish Alonso. BUT, I wonder if the ‘slowing down’ should really be considered an option, and the passing move really a decision on the part of Alonso. If you consider that, in this case, you have two cars flying at a high speed turn being catapulted at each other from what are effectively two different racing lines, it would have taken incredible prescience and reaction-speed for Alonso to have done better than he did and avoid not only a crash but the incidence altogether. Hence, one might consider the peculiar pit-lane exit as the decisive factor in causing the incidence (not a ‘decision’ of Alonso’s to try to pass, and certainly not a ‘decision’ of Vergne’s not to leave room) and Alonso leaving the track as a good option to avoid a big, big crash. Still, ideally, he should have relinquished his position, but given this reading of events I can understand a reluctance to punish him after the race.

    4. @keith – I just discovered this site after the japan gp. Mainstream media articles (whether british, german, or spanish) are often compromised by either a national bias or the need to fish for headlines. Your articles exhibit a keen understanding of racing and express your affection for the sport rather than any particular driver. Well done!

  20. So on Alonso’s list of options as he exitted the pits, braking was obviously not an option….according to the race stewards that is. Straight lining a corner and gaining an advantage is also okay.

    Perez and Maldonado have just found an answer to their steward woes.

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