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

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso gets into his car.

Fernando Alonso was penalised by the stewards after the chequered flag in Australia.

Fernando Alonso believes his defence against George Russell was “what any racing driver would do” in the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix.

The Aston Martin driver was given a post-race drive-through penalty (converted to a 20-second time addition) for “potentially dangerous driving” after telemetry found him to have slowed before Turn 6 on the penultimate lap, with Russell in his wake.

Fernando Alonso responds to FIA stewards’ verdict in Australia

While no contact was made between the cars, the stewards’ verdict explained that Russell told them of his belief that “Alonso’s manoeuvre was erratic, took him by surprise and caused him to close distance unusually fast, and with the resulting lower downforce at the apex of the corner, he lost control and crashed at the exit of the corner.”

The stewards agreed, awarding him three penalty points on his Super Licence and a 20-second penalty that dropped him from sixth to eighth in the classification

“In the closing laps, George caught me quickly. I knew that he was coming, then he was in DRS range for five or six laps, so I was just doing qualifying laps to stay ahead,” Alonso said after the race.

“I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn 6 to defend against him. That’s what any racing driver would do, and I didn’t feel it was dangerous.

“It’s disappointing to get a penalty from the stewards for what was hard but fair racing.

“Still, I’m glad that George is okay. It was not nice to see his car in the middle of the track.

“This wasn’t the best weekend for us in terms of pace, but our race was well executed: good strategy, incredible pit-stops, great reliability.

“I think we probably scored more points today than our pace merited – but we’ll take that.”

Expanding further on the topic on social media, Alonso wrote on X: “Double points for the team and a better race pace than the rest of the weekend allowed us to cross the finish line in 6th and 7th place.

“A bit surprised by a penalty at the end of the race regarding how we should approach the corners or how we should drive the race cars. At no point do we want to do anything wrong at these speeds.

“I believe that without gravel on that corner, on any other corner in the world we will never be even investigated. In F1, with over 20 years of experience, with epic duels like Imola 2005/2006/Brazil 2023, changing racing lines, sacrificing entry speed to have good exits from corners is part of the art of motorsport.

“We never drive at 100% every race lap and every corner, we save fuel, tires, brakes, so being responsible for not making every lap the same is a bit surprising. We have to accept it and think about Japan, to have more pace and fight for positions further up the field. Thank you, team!”

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Team principal Mike Krack added: “Fernando’s race benefited from the Virtual Safety Car – it was surprising to see him drop to P8 with the post-race penalty, but we have to accept the decision.

“This will not distract from a positive day. The calls from the pit wall were spot on and operationally the whole team has been excellent.”

As for Russell himself, he accepted responsibility for the crash and did not want to accuse Alonso of brake-testing him before seeing the stewards, but admitted being “totally caught out” by Alonso’s move in front of him.

“Such a shame to end the race like that,” he wrote on his X account.

“Totally caught out by the car ahead whilst entering the corner, I lost the car and some points for the team. Ultimately, we were not fast enough this weekend and we’ll come back stronger.”

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