Fernando Alonso clashes with FIA over strong Australian GP punishment – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso sat with his helmet off in the cockpit of his Aston Martin AMR24

Fernando Alonso in his Aston Martin

After a dramatic Australian Grand Prix, it is time to round-up the key Formula 1 headlines that emerged from Albert Park.

Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 winning streak went up in smoke, literally, while Fernando Alonso also encountered major frustration as the stewards came down hard on him following a scary George Russell shunt. Let us take a closer look.

Fernando Alonso disagrees with strong Australian GP penalty

Alonso was given a drive-through penalty, converted into 20 seconds added to his race time, plus three FIA Super Licence penalty points after Russell ended up sideways in the middle of the track following a late-race battle.

The stewards found Alonso guilty of “potentially dangerous driving” as telemetry showed he had slowed before Turn 6 on the penultimate lap with Russell in pursuit, though Alonso argued that he defended in a manner that “any racing driver would do” and was disappointed by the severe penalty issued.

Read more – Fernando Alonso issues firm response to FIA stewards after ‘potentially dangerous’ driving claim

Max Verstappen explains ‘stupid’ moment after Aus GP retirement

After bringing his ailing Red Bull back to the pit lane and exiting the cockpit, the TV cameras captured Verstappen mouthing to his mechanic that something was “stupid”.

He would later clarify the meaning of what was a rather light-hearted moment it turned out, Verstappen having been confused to see Red Bull attempting a pit stop on his RB20 which was on fire at the right rear.

Read more – Max Verstappen reveals meaning behind ‘stupid’ moment after Australian GP retirement

Could Carlos Sainz become Max Verstappen’s team-mate again?

In the absence of Verstappen, Sainz went on to dominate the Australian Grand Prix, claiming victory in style as his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc followed him over the line to make it a Ferrari 1-2.

Sainz is the one though without a drive for next year, but has he put himself on Red Bull’s radar with that impressive drive? Sainz and Verstappen were team-mates at Toro Rosso in their rookie year and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admits it is impossible to rule out “any possibility” after the smooth operator shone in Melbourne.

Read more – Red Bull ‘nemesis’ Carlos Sainz catches Christian Horner’s attention for F1 2025 seat

Christian Horner explains Sergio Perez’s struggles

Considering Sergio Perez had played his part in a pair of Red Bull 1-2 finishes to start the season, Verstappen’s retirement in Australia was not necessarily a crushing blow for Red Bull’s victory hopes, but it turned out that it was, Perez almost a minute behind Sainz at the chequered flag.

However, Horner revealed that there were mitigating circumstances for Perez, who had picked up damage when passing Alonso and therefore suffered a loss of downforce.

Read more – Where was Sergio Perez? Christian Horner explains reason behind poor Aus GP performance

Lewis Hamilton upbeat despite ‘worst start ever’ to a season

It was not only Russell in the wars over at Mercedes, as his shunt came after team-mate Lewis Hamilton had retired earlier in the race with an engine failure.

Statistically his worst start to a season ever with eight points from three races, Hamilton acknowledged that statistic as true to how he feels, though the seven-time World Champion is not letting it get him down, as he is “really grateful” and “still enjoying” being a part of the Mercedes team.

That being said, it is “challenging” to deal with the reality that even podiums appear out of reach for the eight-time Constructors’ Champions at this stage.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton’s damning ‘not the case’ verdict amidst ‘worst start ever’ to a season