Fernando Alonso hit with costly penalty after George Russell crash

The Aston Martin driver was deemed to be at fault by the stewards for Russell’s crash at Albert Park

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Sunday 24 March 2024 10:01 GMT
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Fernando Alonso was handed a 20-second time penalty after brake testing George Russell before his crash at the Australian Grand Prix.

The penalty demotes Alonso from sixth to eighth in the final race standings.

Mercedes driver Russell was on the tail of Aston Martin’s Alonso on the penultimate lap of the 58-lap race.

Suddenly, Russell sped towards Alonso heading into turn six as the Spaniard braked early. Russell then lost control of his car, spinning into the barrier and his Mercedes flipping onto its side.

Alonso came home in sixth place yet more than four hours after the conclusion of the race, following a stewards deliberation involving both drivers and critical telemetry data, the stewards handed Alonso the punishment for “potentially dangerous” driving.

In a lengthy verdict, the FIA said: “Should Alonso have the right to try a different approach to the corner? Yes. Should Alonso be responsible for dirty air, that ultimately caused the incident? No.

“However, did he choose to do something, with whatever intent, that was extraordinary, i.e lifting, braking, downshifting and all the other elements of the manoeuvre over 100m earlier than previously and much greater than was needed to simply slow earlier for the corner? Yes.

“By his own account of the incident he did and in the opinion of the stewards by doing those things, he drove in a manner that was at very least “potentially dangerous” given the very high speed nature of that point of the track.

“This season, the FIA Formula 1 penalty guidelines, including for this breach have been reset and increased to a baseline of a 10 second penalty. In addition, when there is some aggravating circumstance, we consider a drive through penalty In this case, we consider that Alonso affirmatively choosing to perform an unusual manoeuvre at this point to be an aggravating circumstance, as opposed to a simple mistake

“The stewards therefore order a drive through penalty, which will be converted to 20 seconds added to Car 14’s (Alonso’s) elapsed time, along with three penalty points.”

Alonso and his Aston Martin team do have the right to appeal the decision.

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