Fernando Alonso slams F1 and FIA for ’embarrassing’ FP1 red flag situation

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso drives past fans. Montreal June 2023.

Fernando Alonso drives past cheering fans in the grandstand out of the hairpin. Montreal June 2023.

Fernando Alonso has hit out at Formula 1 for “shooting ourselves in our feet” over the red flag that curtailed the majority of FP1 in Canada on Friday.

An issue with the CCTV monitoring system in place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve meant that those in Race Control were not watching live pictures from the track in the early minutes of FP1 on Friday, leaving a potential safety issue as all parts of the track need closely monitoring at all times.

But as the FIA and Formula 1 scrambled to resolve the issue, this meant the session was red flagged for much longer than anticipated, with Pierre Gasly’s stricken Alpine, for which the red flag had initially been brought out, having long been cleared off the circuit.

Time ticked on and with only a few minutes of running having taken place, the decision was taken to extend FP2 by 30 minutes to try and make up for some of the shortfall.

Even though most of the drivers were able to put together solid enough run plans over the course of a 90-minute session later on Friday, Alonso felt sympathy for the thousands of fans who had to wait for several hours longer than anticipated to see Formula 1 cars rounding the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in anger.

The two-time World Champion felt the situation was not a good look for the sport as a whole.

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“No, not at all, and it was a shame,” Alonso said when asked if he had managed to make up for lost time in FP2 on Friday.

“I think it was not ideal for the teams, but mostly it was for the fans, you know, that they came very early to the circuit and we were not able to run in FP1.

“So, yeah, from time to time it seems that we are shooting [ourselves] in our feet, you know, as a sport. So these things are a little bit embarrassing.”

Alonso and Aston Martin had been hoping for as much time as possible to run sizeable upgrades on their car at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday, but he was left lamenting the time lost to the red flag in first practice.

“Well, we didn’t have time,” he said when asked if he was able to get a good feel for his upgraded car, “because FP1 unfortunately the cameras or whatever of the circuit didn’t work and we didn’t have a plan B as all these times in this sport.”