Fernando Alonso says he is confident his points place will be restored at Austin after a post-race time penalty and if the FIA does not rule in his and Alpine’s favour, a worrying precedent could be set in the future.
The Alpine rider acknowledged the ‘roller coaster’ he had last time out by working his way up through the field twice with a huge crash before later being stripped of seventh place.
He crossed the line as usual, but a protest filed by Haas after the race claimed his car was being driven in an unsafe condition, with damage to Alonso’s Alpine, including a loose mirror that flew off later in the race.
He was not given the black and orange flag to signal that he had to pit for driving an unsafe car, a move the stewards later criticized when they gave him a 30-second time penalty after the race .
That dropped Alonso completely out of the points, and the team has since put up a point — believing Haas protested the result 24 minutes into the deadline.
The two-time world champion praised the FIA for being “transparent” in making decisions with drivers and teams this season and is “very confident” his penalty will be lifted.
When asked about his feelings about Haas’ protest, he said, “Let’s wait until we have the result today.
“Of course I was very disappointed. Sunday was a roller coaster of emotions for me. Started at the bottom, then we were like P6, we had the accident, last again and then P7 to the finish and then again in the evening without points – so it was up and down all day.
“And now let’s wait and see. I think I’m very optimistic that we will keep seventh place. The FIA has been very transparent for us this year.
“I think the new leadership also with Mohammed [ben Sulayem, FIA president] do things a bit differently than in the past.
“So I have full confidence in what they are going to decide. I think there are a few things that are very clear that have been done wrong on their part.
“So, like I said, I’m very confident that Austin will be P7 again. If I don’t end up P7, I’m sure they’ll explain why and we’ll see it clearly. You know, I’m very, very relaxed about that.”
The FIA is scheduled to rule on the case Thursday night in Mexico and either maintain Alonso’s punishment or reverse course if the Haas protest is found to have been filed too late.
But even with the timing element, there’s more reason for the Alpine rider to keep his placement, and not doing so could open a metaphorical can of worms in future appeals.
“We did that basically because it was late,” Alonso explained. “And there were a couple of things where the FIA didn’t show me the black and orange flag so they felt the car was safe to go on.
“The car went to parc fermé, passed all inspections, green light at parc fermé, and then the protests came too late.
“Between everything, in my opinion, there is no doubt that this was not the right decision. And if this is the right decision, it will pose a huge problem for Formula 1 going forward.
“I think 50, 60, 70 percent of cars are going to have to retire the car if they have an aerodynamic device that’s not attached properly because it becomes unsafe, the car.
“It will also open if 20 minutes late is ok to protest, is a month late? Is an hour late? Is 10 years too late? when is it too late As I said, this is a very important day for our sport.
“I don’t care about the seventh, you know? I’m not fighting for the world championship. but if this continues, I don’t think we want to open this box.”
Read more: Why Fernando Alonso’s disproportionate penalty shows the FIA needs to change course
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