Fernando Alonso now accused of going ‘too far’ in George Russell crash incident

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Claiming there were “some issues” with his AMR24 in the build-up to the George Russell incident, Robert Doornbos says Fernando Alonso’s failure to give an “Oscar-worthy act” led to the FIA getting involved.

Alonso and Russell were involved in a late-race incident at the Australian Grand Prix when the Briton, chasing down the Spanish for sixth place, lost control of his Mercedes and crashed heavily.

‘Pushing and pulling is part of it, but this went too far’

Although there was no contact between the two, the stewards investigated the incident and gave Alonso a 20-second penalty for driving in a “potentially dangerous” manner.

That was based on data confirming the Aston Martin driver had braked 100 metres earlier than he had done any lap previously, contravening Article 33.4 of the FIA Sporting Regulations that states that “at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”

Alonso, speaking to Sky Sports prior to visiting the stewards, initially spoke of a problem with his car.

“I had some issues for the last 15 laps or something on the battery and deployment,” he said. “So, yeah, definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race, but I cannot focus on the cars behind.”

But during the stewards’ hearing, he reportedly explained that “he intended to approach Turn 6 differently, lifting earlier, and with less speed into the corner” in order to get a better exit. He, however, “got it slightly wrong and had to take extra steps to get back up to speed.”

Doornbos agrees with the stewards that Alonso was responsible for Russell’s crash.

“He brakes three hundred metres earlier,” he exaggerated during Ziggo Sport’s Race Café. “Then he brakes again. That’s why Russell suddenly caught up so fast.

“You try to get a good exit, that’s possible. But if you cause a crash, questions will arise, and then the FIA asks: can we look at the data? Data never lies.”

If Alonso wanted to sell it to the stewards, the former driver says he should’ve done an “Oscar-worthy act” over the radio complaining about his car’s battery.

“If you then give an Oscar-worthy act to your team, and shout that you have problems with the accelerator, but he didn’t have that,” Doornbos continued. “The FIA also saw that.

“The FIA simply says: can we see the data? It simply goes forty kilometers per hour slower, so the closing rate is enormous. Then he also switches back.

“Pushing and pulling is part of it, but this went too far.”

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Doornbos suggests more behind Russell’s ‘red flag’ call

With Russell’s W15 coming to a halt on its side in the middle of the track, harrowing audio of the Briton frantically calling for a red flag has since emerged.

“Red flag! Red flag! Red flag!” he screamed over the radio. “I’m in the middle of the track! Red flag! Red flag! Red! Red! Red! Red! Red!

“I’m in the middle! Red! F*cking hell!”

But while Doornbos believes that’s what Race Control should have shown, not the Virtual Safety Car, he ponders if there was more than fear behind Russell’s radio call.

“Out of fear for his own life, but also, ‘I have now written off the car, so it would suit me quite well if a red flag was raised now’,” he said.

“Then the race result goes back one lap, and he still takes a few points.”

“They are too slow with this. I thought a Virtual Safety Car was insufficient here,” he added.

Read next: Australian Grand Prix driver ratings: Superb Sainz and rusty Russell the headline acts