Alonso penalised for ignoring blue flags


Fernando Alonso has been reprimanded and had two penalty points added to his Super Licence for ignoring blue flags at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso was told to report to the stewards following the race as he interfered with the battle for first in the latter stages between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The Spaniard was also battling Felipe Massa for 10th at the time, but it has been deemed that Alonso could have moved away from the main scrap sooner than he did.

"Alonso was shown a solid blue indicator light on his dash and waved blue flags between Turn 14 and Turn 15 on Lap 51," the stewards said.

"He also had received a flashing blue light informing him that race leader Lewis Hamilton was closing on him for over a lap before. Alonso let Hamilton pass during lap 52 at Turn 11.

"The drivers have been told in drivers' briefings that the provisions of the International Sporting Code, that they 'must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity' means that they should do this for lapping cars regardless of their current battle. Stewards concluded that Alonso did not do this.

"Alonso noted in the hearing that there was an opportunity allow Hamilton to pass on the front straight, but not thereafter until Turn 11. The Stewards accepted that there are limited safe places to let a car past between Turns 2 and 9 which contributed to the length of time it took to allow Hamilton past.

"In applying the penalty, the Stewards compared this incident to other similar incidents and considered that while a breach, this was less severe than others and that when he did move over he gave plenty of room, and subsequently to Verstappen."

Alonso, though, felt that he did not affect the result of the race.

"Hamilton was leading and the Red Bull was second," said Alonso. "I don't know it I waited two or three corners more or less, but they finished in that order so there was no big implication in the race's final outcome.

"Whatever they decide we will accept it and we'll try better next time."

It is Alonso's first reprimand of the season and also his first penalty points of the campaign.