Eddie Jordan points the finger at George Russell after Fernando Alonso issued severe FIA penalty

Jamie Woodhouse
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso makes his way through the Bahrain F1 testing paddock

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

While ex-Formula 1 team boss Eddie Jordan says Fernando Alonso’s defence against George Russell in Melbourne was “semi-suspicious to the eye”, he feels it was on Russell to avoid the crash which he suffered.

Mercedes driver Russell had been harrying Aston Martin’s Alonso for P6 late in the Australian Grand Prix, but Russell would lose control of his W15 heading into Turn 6, hitting the wall and coming to a stop in the middle of the track, meaning the race finished under Virtual Safety Car conditions. Russell thankfully walked away from the wreckage unhurt.

‘Up to the driver behind’ to avoid slowing Fernando Alonso

The stewards firmly pinned the blame on Alonso, deeming his driving to be “potentially dangerous” as they issued a drive-through penalty, converted to 20 seconds, plus three points for his FIA Super Licence. Alonso’s telemetry data showed that he had lifted earlier for the corner than on any previous lap, as well as braking slightly and downshifting at an unusual point.

The incident was discussed by 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard and Jordan during the Formula For Success podcast, Coulthard claiming Alonso has “got a bit of form” for these grey area antics, as he potentially experienced back in 2003 at the Nurburgring, with Russell “caught out” by his sudden closing speed on Alonso.

However, Jordan argues that it is up to Russell to “look out” for that hazard ahead and keep his car on the road.

“I saw it immediately, it was semi-suspicious to the eye,” said Jordan of Alonso.

“But remember this, that it is Alonso’s position to defend. And we saw what he did with [Sergio] Perez in Brazil. He let Perez past him so that he could get quicker down the straight. He is a very, very clever driver.

“There’s not many out there on that grid who could actually take on Fernando Alonso in mind games, because I think he is above everybody else.

“So what happened, only he knows. But it did look to me as if the car slowed. If that’s the case, then it’s up to the driver behind to be able to look out for that.

“The driver behind is always the person that has to use the initiative, because he has to balance everything in his mind that gives him the safest option. That was a big accident. That could have been horrific.

“But George will learn from that. I think he – and most of the grid – will be very aware when they come up about fighting with Alonso.”

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That post-race penalty for Alonso saw him drop two places from P6 to P8 in the final Australian Grand Prix classification, this drawing a strong reaction out of Jordan.

Referencing post-race penalties as a “pet hate” of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Jordan made it clear that he feels the race result should be final, with any penalties issued afterwards applied to the next race.

“However, now I’m going to add something to that, David,” Jordan continued, “and that is I really get so upset when I watch a race, and I think Alonso has finished fifth [sic] or whatever it is, and then he’s demoted three places [sic].

“I remember Bernie, it was one of his pet hates. He’d say to the timekeepers and the stewards, ‘Never give me a set of results 30 minutes or an hour after the race with a different set of positions, because it’s not fair on the television, it’s not fair on anyone and it confuses the crap out of everybody’.

“And I think in my opinion, if they felt something was wrong, they should have said, ‘You’ve got a two-place grid position penalty at the next race’. But don’t take the race position from him. Why the hell should they do that? It’s nonsense.

“For heaven’s sake, Formula 1, will you get a grip. The race results is the race results. And if there are penalties, they come in the future.”

Russell’s shunt meant that neither Mercedes driver made the chequered flag with Hamilton having retired earlier in the race with an engine failure. That leaves Mercedes P4 in the Constructors’ Championship and now 71 points behind leaders Red Bull.

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