FIA issue strong Fernando Alonso penalty after ‘potentially dangerous’ driving in George Russell crash

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso was penalised for 'potentially dangerous driving' in the Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has been given a hefty time penalty and points on his licence for “potentially dangerous driving” in the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso and George Russell were summoned before the stewards in Melbourne after a last-lap crash involving the Mercedes driver as he battled with the Aston Martin over sixth place.

Fernando Alonso and George Russell summoned

Russell had been lining up Alonso for a last-lap attempt at an overtake down the back straight, when the Mercedes driver was caught out by rapidly closing in on the back of the Aston Martin negotiating Turn 6.

The moment resulted in Russell losing control and crashing heavily, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car to end the race. Russell was unharmed, but the stewards were suspicious of the circumstances of the crash and summoned the two drivers before them to review the incident.

Hours after the race, in which Alonso finished sixth with Russell outside the points after his crash, the stewards reached their verdict – Alonso was hit with a 20-second time penalty and given three penalty points on his F1 super licence due to what the stewards referred to as “potentially dangerous” driving.

The stewards detailed that the telemetry showed Alonso had lifted more than 100 metres earlier than on any other lap during the 58-lap race, braked slightly and down-shifted at a point he didn’t usually brake.

Alonso’s explanation was that he intended to slow earlier for the corner to get a better exit, which he got slightly wrong – this resulted in a “considerably and unusual closing speed between the cars.”

The penalty drops Alonso to eighth place, promoting Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda up a place each.

Explaining his perspective on the battle with Russell, Alonso told Sky F1 that he had been focusing on what was ahead of him on track, and not behind.

“I was focusing in front of me and not behind. I had some issues for the last 15 laps or something on the battery and deployment,” Alonso said.

“So, yeah, definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race, but I cannot focus on the cars behind. He’s okay. I saw the car and I was very worried.”

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