Fernando Alonso responds after Australia stewards summons with George Russell

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso on the grid in Australia.

Fernando Alonso is P8 in the Drivers' Championship after Japan.

Fernando Alonso has insisted his focus was “in front of me and not behind”, when asked about the incident involving George Russell that prompted a stewards investigation.

Russell had a significant crash after suffering a snap of oversteer at Turn 6 after closing up to the back of Alonso, getting caught in dirty air and sliding into the barrier, frantically calling for a red flag afterwards after his Mercedes was propelled back onto the middle of the circuit.

Fernando Alonso responds after stewards summon him in Melbourne

The Australian Grand Prix finished under Virtual Safety Car conditions with Alonso crossing the line sixth, as Russell crashed out on the penultimate lap.

While the Mercedes driver took responsibility for the nature of his crash, the FIA stewards have been investigating whether or not Alonso deliberately slowed before Turn 6 to create turbulent air that might hinder Russell’s ability to get close and overtake him.

The Aston Martin driver put that down to battery issues on his Mercedes power unit, with Russell’s team also having access to that data.

“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 to Sky F1.

“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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Speaking further in a separate interview after the race, the two-time World Champion added: “I knew that if he was faster, he will pass because with four DRS zones, it’s very possible.

“But yeah, we had some battery issues as well I was complaining [about] and asking the team [about] because the car did change for the last 15 laps.

“So I was concerned about keeping the position but I was happy with seventh as well, so it was a good race.”

As for what the battery issue was, Alonso explained: “It was derating more, it was a little bit inconsistent so let’s see.”

Russell’s retirement came after an engine failure for team-mate Lewis Hamilton earlier in the race, that left Mercedes leaving a race weekend without scoring a point for the first time since the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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