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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Wolff likens Alonso Saudi GP penalty to Abu Dhabi 2021 fiasco – Motorsport Week

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has compared Fernando Alonso’s penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to the handling of the 2021 title race in Abu Dhabi.

The entire Mercedes team was left desperate at the end of 2021 by a final-lap shootout between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, which saw the Briton controversially miss out on a record-breaking eighth. Formula One Drivers Championship title.

As a result, an investigation was launched and FIA race director Michael Massey was subsequently sacked, with the FIA ​​implementing a new structure the following year with two race directors sharing duties.

However, complaints of inconsistent decision-making prevailed, prompting the subsequent appointment of Neils Wittich as sole director of each F1 grand prix through 2023.

But grid rules introduced to strictly monitor drivers’ positions on the grid caused further confusion at the start of the latest season, with Fernando Alonso stripped of his third-place finish in Saudi Arabia before recovering.

Although Alonso appeared to be out of position at the start to correctly execute his 5-second time penalty and take part in the podium ceremony, the Aston Martin driver was left behind when the stewards ruled that the rear jack had touched the Spaniard’s car. Another 10-second penalty. stop.

Wolff used Mercedes’ heartbreak in Abu Dhabi as supporting evidence for the sport’s governing body after Aston Martin managed to overturn a second penalty handed to Alonso to keep third. Making the right decisions needs to be prioritized over making hasty decisions.

“First of all, the penalties are very severe, because from a pure driving performance point of view, Fernando and Aston Martin deserved to be on the podium,” Wolff said in an interview. channel 4.

“We’ll have to look at the rules and see if there’s anything we can adjust because it won’t affect his game.

“I’d rather have the FIA ​​make the right decision than make an obviously wrong decision too quickly.

“In 2021 we have been victims of a situation where it all comes down to entertaining quick decisions that deprive the championship of the greatest driver.

“So in that regard, I guess I’d rather not go to the podium and then get the right result.”

Along with Wolff, Mercedes driver George Russell criticized the controversial situation following the race in Jeddah.

The British driver took the third-place trophy but had to hand it back after Alonso regained third on the night.

Russell has since demanded that “common sense” be applied to the new rules on the correct grid line-up, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen also hinting at the need to study the rule.

All three entrants were present at the post-FIA press conference after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix agreed that the visibility of current racing formulas made it difficult to line up inside painted guides.

Alonso’s penalty was his second in two games after former Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon was penalized for a similar breach in Bahrain.

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