Fernando Alonso: Alpine driver questions Formula 1 direction after US GP penalty

Fernando Alonso
Alpine driver Fernando Alonso, right, fought back from a 180mph crash to finish seventh at the United States GP in Austin, Texas

Fernando Alonso says a penalty he received in the United States Grand Prix raises questions about the direction of the sport under governing body the FIA.

A protest by Alonso’s Alpine team against the decision to demote him out of the points after he finished seventh in a damaged car will be heard on Thursday.

Alonso wrote on Instagram: “It is an important day for the sport as this decision will dictate if we are going in the right direction.”

Alonso said his post was in response to messages of support since the penalty.

He thanked those who had contacted him on social media, adding: “It’s one of those rare times in sport that I feel we are all on the same page and share the same opinion towards rules and regulations.”

Alonso said after the race that he considered his drive one of the best of his career, after he crashed at 180mph, his car did a wheelie, hit a wall, he pitted for a new front wing, resumed at the back and climbed to seventh despite damaged aerodynamic parts.

The two-time champion has questioned the decision-making of officials on a number of occasions this year, and his frustrations about the inconsistency of policing of action on track are shared by the majority of his fellow drivers.

At the Spanish Grand Prix, he accused the FIA ​​of “incompetence” and lacking knowledge of racing.

Criticism of the FIA’s running of F1 has been a theme this year, and the US Grand Prix was the race after the governing body angered drivers by allow a recovery vehicle on track in conditions of poor visibility during heavy rain.

Alpine’s appeal will be heard at 18:00 Mexico City time (12:00 BST) on 27 October before this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

The team have questioned the US GP stewards’ decision to allow a protest by the Haas team despite it being posted after the permitted time limit had expired.

The stewards said in their decision to hand Alonso a 30-second penalty on Sunday that the Spaniard’s car was in an unsafe condition because he drove it for some time with a damaged wing mirror, and then without one when it fell off.

Haas pointed out their cars have previously been given the black-and-orange warning flag – demanding a car is pitted for repairs – on three occasions in similar situations this season.

At no point during the race were Alpine asked by officials to pit the car and remove the mirror, despite calls from Haas to race control.

The stewards’ ruling suggests that any car missing a rear-view mirror after an incident will be forced to retire in future.

There are also questions about the consistency of decision-making, after stewards rejected a similar protest by Haas against Sergio Perez’s Red Bull.

Perez drove some laps with a damaged front wing, part of which then fell off the car while he was running.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue