The evidence that damned Alonso in Russell’s Australian GP crash

THE RACE
24 Mar 202409:21

Summary

TLDRFernando Alonso's controversial driving maneuver during the Australian Grand Prix led to a 20-second penalty for dangerous driving. The stewards' analysis of telemetry data revealed that Alonso slowed significantly earlier than usual at Turn 6, causing George Russell to crash. Despite Alonso's claim that it was a misjudgment for a better corner exit, the stewards deemed the action potentially dangerous and penalized him accordingly. The incident sparked debate on racing etiquette and the boundaries of acceptable defensive tactics in Formula 1.

Takeaways

  • 🏎️ Fernando Alonso was penalized for a maneuver that contributed to George Russell's last lap crash at the Australian Grand Prix.
  • 🚦 Alonso received a 20-second time penalty for dangerous driving after lifting off the throttle and braking earlier than usual, causing Russell to lose control of his Mercedes.
  • 📊 The stewards' decision was based on detailed telemetry data that showed Alonso's driving patterns throughout the race, highlighting the unusual nature of his actions on the final lap.
  • 🔍 The F1 Tempo website allowed for a comparison of Alonso's approach to turn six on the lap of the crash versus previous laps, showing a significant difference in his driving.
  • 🤔 Alonso claimed he intended to approach the corner differently to get a better exit but misjudged it, leading to the penalty.
  • 📉 Russell, who was battling with Alonso, described the maneuver as erratic and was surprised by the sudden loss of downforce, leading to his crash.
  • 🏁 The stewards acknowledged that Alonso had the right to change his approach to the corner but penalized him for the extent of his maneuver, which was deemed unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
  • 📌 Alonso defended his actions on social media, comparing the incident to his past defensive drives and asserting that it's part of motorsport, but the stewards maintained that his actions crossed a line.
  • 📉 The penalty dropped Alonso from sixth to eighth in the race results, but his teammate Lance Stroll inherited his position, resulting in a minimal impact on the team's overall standing.
  • 🚫 Despite Alonso's strong disagreement with the decision, his team, Aston Martin, did not appeal the penalty, possibly due to the relatively low cost of the penalty in terms of overall race outcome.

Q & A

  • What unusual maneuver led to Fernando Alonso's penalty at the Australian Grand Prix?

    -Fernando Alonso was penalized for lifting off the throttle earlier than usual and braking minimally before turn six, which contributed to George Russell's last lap crash. This maneuver was considered unusual and potentially dangerous by the stewards.

  • How did the stewards analyze Alonso's driving to determine the penalty?

    -The stewards used detailed telemetry data that accounted for every lap of the race, comparing Alonso's approach to turn six in the lap Russell crashed with the previous lap. They also considered his braking, throttle inputs, and gear changes to assess the situation.

  • What was Alonso's explanation for his different approach to turn six?

    -Alonso intended to approach turn six differently by lifting earlier and carrying less speed through the corner for a better exit but admitted to misjudging it, leading to the need to get back up to speed.

  • What was the stewards' conclusion regarding Alonso's actions?

    -The stewards concluded that Alonso's actions created an unusual closing speed between the cars and were potentially dangerous, warranting a penalty for dangerous driving.

  • How did George Russell describe Alonso's maneuver?

    -Russell described Alonso's maneuver as erratic, which took him by surprise and led to the sudden loss of downforce entering the corner, causing him to crash.

  • What was Aston Martin's response to the stewards' decision?

    -Aston Martin was surprised by the stewards' decision and indefinitely postponed its regular post-race media session. The team's press release indicated their position but did not elaborate further.

  • How did Alonso defend his driving on social media?

    -Alonso claimed that his actions were part of the art of motorsport and that the F1 stewards had no right to question his driving. He compared the incident to his past defensive drives and argued that his penalty was disappointing.

  • What was the penalty Alonso received and how did it affect his race result?

    -Alonso received a 20-second time penalty for dangerous driving, which dropped him from sixth to eighth place, but his teammate Lance Stroll inherited his original position, resulting in Alonso only dropping back two positions.

  • How did the stewards determine the severity of the penalty?

    -The stewards considered Alonso's unusual maneuver as an aggravating circumstance and applied the 2024 penalty guidance, which sets a 10-second baseline penalty for such offenses, potentially increasing it for severity.

  • What was the final outcome for Alonso and his team in terms of points?

    -Alonso's team, Aston Martin, had their points cut from 14 to 12 due to the penalty, but the impact was minimal as his teammate Lance Stroll took over Alonso's position, effectively maintaining the team's overall standing.

  • How did the incident affect the racing etiquette and safety discussion?

    -The incident highlighted the importance of racing etiquette and safety, as Alonso's actions were deemed not only against the spirit of fair racing but also potentially dangerous, prompting a discussion on what is acceptable within the 'art of motorsport' and the need for proactive measures to tackle problematic driving.

Outlines

00:00

🏎️ Fernando Alonso's Controversial Penalty at Australian Grand Prix

The first paragraph discusses the controversial penalty given to Fernando Alonso during the Australian Grand Prix. Alonso was penalized for a maneuver that contributed to George Russell's last lap crash in Melbourne. The stewards' decision was based on detailed telemetry data, showing that Alonso lifted off the throttle earlier and braked slightly, causing Russell to lose control of his Mercedes. The stewards' summary provided a clear rationale for the penalty, despite the divisive opinions on whether it was a brake test or a strategic move by Alonso. The F1 Tempo website was mentioned as a resource to compare laps and contextualize the stewards' findings.

05:02

🚦 Analyzing Alonso's Defense and the Stewards' Verdict

The second paragraph delves into Fernando Alonso's defense of his actions and the stewards' verdict. Alonso claimed he intended to approach turn six differently by slowing down earlier for a better exit, but misjudged it, leading to the penalty. The stewards acknowledged Alonso's right to alter his approach but emphasized that his actions were extraordinary and potentially dangerous, especially given the high-speed nature of the track. They concluded that Alonso's maneuver was an aggravating circumstance, warranting a penalty. Despite Alonso's strong disagreement and defense on social media, the stewards' decision stood, and the incident did not significantly impact his team's standings.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡F1 driver

An F1 driver refers to a professional race car driver who competes in Formula One, the highest class of single-seater auto racing. In the context of the video, Fernando Alonso is the F1 driver penalized for an unusual maneuver during the Australian Grand Prix.

💡Australian Grand Prix

The Australian Grand Prix is a race in the Formula One World Championship held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. It is the traditional season opener and is known for its competitive racing. In the video, the incident involving Fernando Alonso and George Russell occurred during this race.

💡Penalty

In motorsport, a penalty is a punishment given to a driver for violating rules or engaging in dangerous driving. In the video, Fernando Alonso received a 20-second time penalty for his actions that led to another driver's crash.

💡Crash

A crash in motorsport refers to an incident where a vehicle involved in a race collides with another vehicle or stationary objects, leading to damage or retirement from the race. In the video, George Russell's crash was a result of the sudden change in speed and trajectory caused by Fernando Alonso's maneuver.

💡Telemetry

Telemetry in motorsport is the electronic transmission of data from a vehicle's sensors to a receiver for analysis. This data includes various performance metrics such as speed, throttle position, and braking force. In the video, telemetry data was crucial in determining the stewards' decision to penalize Alonso.

💡Stewards

Stewards are the officials responsible for enforcing the rules and ensuring fair play in motorsport events. They make decisions on penalties and other rule-related matters during a race. In the video, the stewards' analysis and decision-making process is central to the narrative.

💡Dangerous driving

Dangerous driving refers to any driving behavior that poses a risk to the safety of the driver, other competitors, or officials. In motorsport, it is a serious offense that can lead to penalties. The video discusses how Alonso's actions were deemed dangerous by the stewards.

💡Race tactics

Race tactics involve the strategic decisions made by drivers and teams during a race to gain an advantage. This can include managing tire wear, fuel consumption, and overtaking opportunities. In the video, Alonso's tactics are scrutinized for their impact on the race outcome and safety.

💡Racing etiquette

Racing etiquette refers to the unwritten rules and accepted behaviors that govern how drivers should interact on the track to ensure fair and safe racing. In the video, Alonso's actions are debated in terms of whether they violated these etiquette standards.

💡Defensive driving

Defensive driving in motorsport is the practice of protecting a driver's position from overtaking attempts by using various tactics, such as altering racing lines or braking points. The video highlights Alonso's defensive driving as a point of contention.

💡Post-race analysis

Post-race analysis involves reviewing and discussing the events of a race after its conclusion. This can include evaluating driver performance, strategy decisions, and incidents. The video provides an in-depth post-race analysis of the incident between Alonso and Russell.

Highlights

Fernando Alonzo was penalized at the Australian Grand Prix for an unusual maneuver that contributed to George Russell's crash.

Alonzo received a 20-second time penalty for dangerous driving.

Russell lost control of his Mercedes at turn six, ending up in seventh place.

The stewards' analysis was based on detailed telemetry data from every lap of the race.

Alonzo lifted off the throttle earlier than usual before turn six, a move that was more than 100m earlier than in previous laps.

Alonzo also applied the brakes slightly and downshifted to sixth gear from seventh, which he had not done on other laps.

Alonzo claimed he intended to approach turn six differently to get a better exit but misjudged it.

The stewards did not have data to determine if Alonzo's maneuver was intended to disturb Russell.

Alonzo's action created an unusual closing speed between his car and Russell's, leading to Russell's sudden loss of downforce and crash.

Russell described Alonzo's driving as erratic and was surprised by the sudden change in speed.

Aston Martin was surprised by the steward's decision and Alonzo defended his driving as hard but fair racing.

Alonzo's public defense of his driving revealed that he admitted to the stewards he made a mistake.

The stewards stated that Alonzo had the right to alter his approach to the corner but his actions were extraordinary and potentially dangerous.

Alonzo's penalty was not based on Russell's crash but on the severity of the offense itself, creating a potentially dangerous scenario.

The stewards considered Alonzo's unusual maneuver an aggravating circumstance, leading to a harsher penalty.

Alonzo's penalty dropped him from sixth to eighth place, but it did not significantly impact his team's points.

The incident highlights the importance of proactively addressing problematic driving rather than only reacting to crashes.

Alonzo's maneuver was deemed inappropriate for a high-speed corner in a Grand Prix, unlike his past defensive drives.

The case serves as an example of how even experienced drivers can make significant misjudgments.

Transcripts

00:00

you don't normally see an F1 driver

00:01

punished for someone crashing behind

00:03

them without any contact but Fernando

00:05

Alonzo's driving in the Australian Grand

00:07

Prix was penalized for exactly that

00:10

Alonzo was given a 20 second time

00:12

penalty for the unusual maneuver that

00:14

contributed to George Russell's dramatic

00:16

last lap crash in Melbourne Russell lost

00:18

control of his Mercedes at the turn six

00:20

right-hander and crashed out to seventh

00:22

place while chasing Alonzo having very

00:24

suddenly closed on the Aston Martin on

00:26

the way into the corner he slid into the

00:27

gravel and hit the barrier with a big

00:29

imp impact that ended with the Mercedes

00:31

being ricocheted back onto the track and

00:33

tipped onto its side as it hit its own

00:35

mangled front wheel what initially

00:37

looked like Russell's shunting on his

00:38

own in Alonzo's dirty air quickly

00:40

morphed into something more as it became

00:42

clear that Alonzo had at least lifted

00:44

off on the way into the corner

00:46

unsurprisingly this became very divisive

00:48

very quickly was it a break test or was

00:50

it just classic Wy Alonzo doing an

00:53

age-old trick of making the car behind

00:55

check up and Russell just got caught out

00:57

well forget subjective opinions and

01:00

takes how about cold hard facts because

01:03

the stewards shared the damning data

01:04

they used to penalize Alonzo for

01:06

Dangerous driving and there's Telemetry

01:08

we can see as well that makes it Crystal

01:10

Clear what

01:13

happened the steward's summary of not

01:15

just the incident but also their

01:16

reasoning for penalizing Alonzo was

01:18

commendably detailed but before we get

01:20

into their logic let's establish the

01:22

facts the stewards have access to very

01:24

clear detailed Telemetry and were able

01:26

to see exactly what Alonzo was doing

01:29

their analysis could account for every

01:30

single lap of the race and therefore

01:32

they knew just how different Alonzo

01:33

drove on that final lap compared to the

01:35

rest of the Grand Prix while we don't

01:37

have exactly what they looked at we can

01:39

pretty much replicate it thanks to the

01:41

excellent F1 Tempo website which allows

01:43

us to compare how Alonzo entered turn

01:45

six on the lap Russell crashed compared

01:47

to the previous lap and put the critical

01:49

information from the stewards into

01:51

context approaching turn six Alonzo

01:53

clearly lifts off the throttle earlier

01:55

than before the steward said this

01:57

happened more than 100 m earlier than

01:59

any other lap he even applies the brakes

02:02

slightly this data is just a binary

02:04

onoff measurement so only shows that the

02:06

brake is being used but not the amount

02:08

of pressure being applied but the

02:09

steward said it was minimal enough that

02:11

braking wasn't the main reason for the

02:13

car slowing down still we can clearly

02:15

see Alonzo's lifted and break but he's

02:18

also downshifted to sixth gear as well

02:20

having stayed in seventh gear at this

02:22

point on every other lap having slowed

02:24

down so much Alonzo needs to accelerate

02:26

again and even upshift back to seventh

02:29

before he gets to the Corner Alonzo told

02:31

the stewards that he intended to

02:32

approach turn six differently that lap

02:34

by lifting earlier and carrying less

02:36

speed through the corner to get a better

02:38

exit but misjudged it so got back on the

02:40

throttle to get back up to speed the

02:42

stewards admitted they did not have the

02:43

data to decide whether Alonzo's maneuver

02:45

was intended to disturb Russell was

02:47

simply a different line to the one he'd

02:49

previously taken into turn six we'll

02:51

leave you to draw your own conclusions

02:53

there but whatever Alonzo's intention

02:55

his action created in the words of the

02:57

stewards an unusual closing speed

02:59

between the

03:02

cars Alonzo's claim that he was trying

03:04

to get the best exit out of turn six is

03:07

the one bit of his reasoning that stands

03:08

up to scrutiny he was in a close battle

03:10

with a faster car battling against

03:12

battery problems on his own car and knew

03:14

that Russell's best chance to overtake

03:16

on the final lap would be with DRS open

03:18

along the winding Flatout section from

03:20

turn six to turn nine by deliberately

03:23

slowing his Pace into turn six Alonzo

03:25

would have been hoping to compromise

03:26

Russell enough to prevent what Alonzo no

03:28

doubt calculated would like have been a

03:30

slam dunk overtake but from the

03:32

perspective of Russell's car even if

03:34

Russell himself wouldn't go this far in

03:35

what he said to the media Alonzo's

03:37

driving would have amounted to a break

03:39

test Russell was following only half a

03:41

second behind the Aston and described

03:43

Alonzo's maneuver as erratic in the

03:45

steward's hearing explaining that it

03:46

took him by surprise and closed the

03:48

speed between the two cars unusually

03:49

quickly which led to the sudden loss of

03:51

downforce entering the corner that

03:52

caused him to crash publicly Russell

03:55

felt the only potential justification

03:56

for what Alonzo did would have been a

03:58

genuine technical problem failure and

04:00

although Alonzo was struggling with

04:01

drates from his car's energy recovery

04:03

system that doesn't fully explain the

04:05

specific move he chose to make in this

04:07

instance Aston Martin indefinitely

04:09

postponed its regular post-race media

04:11

session with Team principal Mike crack

04:13

following the hearing so all we know of

04:15

the team's position on this incident is

04:16

that it was surprised by the Stewart's

04:18

decision as per the team's press release

04:21

in a different part of the same

04:22

statement Alonzo described the penalty

04:24

he received as disappointing claiming

04:26

that what he did amounted to nothing

04:27

more than hard but fair racing that it

04:30

was what any racing driver would do and

04:32

certainly nothing dangerous but Alonzo

04:34

issued a much feistier defense of his

04:36

own driving on social media afterwards

04:38

inferring that F1 stewards have no right

04:40

to question his driving claiming the

04:41

resultant crash for Russell was the only

04:43

reason the incident was investigated at

04:45

all and drawing comparisons with his

04:47

epic defensive drives of the past

04:48

claiming this sort of thing is part of

04:50

the art of

04:53

Motorsport the major problem here is

04:55

that Alonzo's Public Defense of what he

04:57

did admits something crucial that he did

04:59

did admit to the stewards he very

05:01

uncharacteristically for Alonzo made a

05:03

mistake remember the steward's judgment

05:06

revealed that Alonzo's case was he

05:07

always planned to slow earlier and to a

05:09

greater degree than usual for this

05:11

corner in order to maximize his exit but

05:13

he got it slightly wrong and had to take

05:15

extra steps to get back up to speed this

05:17

is the point that completely undoes

05:19

Alonzo's defense of his actions because

05:20

that act of deliberately slowing down

05:22

and speeding up again approaching a

05:23

high-speed corner is something you'd

05:25

only expect to see during a safety car

05:27

period or a formation lap not the final

05:29

race lap of a Grand Prix racing

05:31

etiquette dictates that checking up a

05:33

rival by going extra slowly through a

05:35

critical corner or section of a circuit

05:36

so as to delay them is a bit naughty but

05:39

part of what Alonzo calls the art of

05:41

Motorsport but even if you think

05:42

Alonzo's intentions were entirely Noble

05:44

here and he in fact wasn't trying to

05:46

unduly influence Russell's race in the

05:48

slightest Alonzo at the very least made

05:50

a massive misjudgment something more

05:52

befitting of a rank amateur with no F1

05:54

experience than a two-time champion who

05:56

is widely considered to be one of the

05:58

very best drivers of his generation

05:59

ation the stewards were very clear in

06:01

saying that Alonzo had the right to

06:03

alter his approach to this corner and

06:04

couldn't be held responsible for

06:06

whatever dirty air negatively affected

06:08

Russell's Mercedes but they were also

06:10

very clear that by his own admission

06:12

Alonzo chose to do something with

06:13

whatever intent that was extraordinary

06:16

lifting breaking downshifting and all

06:19

the other elements of the maneuver over

06:21

100 m earlier than previously and to a

06:23

much greater extent than was needed to

06:25

Simply slow a bit earlier than usual for

06:26

the corner so Alonzo is patently wrong

06:29

to tried to dismiss this incident as

06:31

trivial and conflate it with some of his

06:32

great races of the past this was not

06:34

some heroic defensive performance

06:36

crowned with a particularly clever

06:37

tactic it was a moment of Madness not

06:40

befitting a driver of his standing the

06:42

stewards concluded that what Alonzo did

06:44

in Melbourne was at the very least

06:45

potentially dangerous given the high-s

06:47

speed nature of that point of the track

06:49

we'd go so far as to say it was

06:51

dangerous unquestionably and that Alonzo

06:53

100% deserved to be

06:57

penalized the stewards said they had not

06:59

considered Russell's crash when deciding

07:01

Alonzo's fate which is in keeping with

07:03

the general principle of not allowing

07:05

the consequences of an incident to

07:07

impact a decision officials always try

07:09

to focus on the alleged offense itself

07:11

you might think that's nonsense and that

07:13

if Russell hadn't shunted Alonzo

07:14

wouldn't get in trouble at all remember

07:16

this is exactly what Alonzo himself said

07:18

on social media and if you read the

07:20

steward's report a certain way that

07:21

might only support your position they

07:23

refer to the harsher penalty guidance

07:25

that has made 10 seconds the Baseline

07:27

penalty for 2024 and how they consider

07:29

any aggravating circumstances to make

07:32

that penalty more severe in certain

07:33

cases with Alonzo the stewards felt that

07:36

actively choosing to perform this

07:37

unusual maneuver at this point met the

07:39

threshold of an aggravating circumstance

07:42

as opposed to a simple mistake so does

07:44

that mean Alonzo was punished for

07:45

Russell crashing not quite the

07:47

aggravating circumstance is more likely

07:49

the severity of the offense itself

07:51

creating a potentially dangerous

07:53

scenario and that existed regardless of

07:55

whether Russell actually crashed the

07:57

presence of Russell behind is Absol

07:59

absolutely a factor because you need a

08:00

second car there for Alonzo to be

08:02

risking anything dangerous but Alonzo's

08:04

only been judged and punished on

08:06

everything he did up to the point

08:08

Russell went off the road if Alonzo

08:10

messed about with his lines or his

08:11

breaking points or his throttle inputs

08:12

to a less severe degree it might have

08:14

fallen within the bounds of cheeky or

08:16

ruthless or hard but fair he went beyond

08:18

that and the stewards felt he crossed a

08:20

line in doing so well we sometimes think

08:23

consequences should be taken into

08:24

consideration it can also be a good

08:26

thing that they aren't as it means

08:28

problematic driving can be tackled

08:29

proactively rather than only ever

08:31

reacting to crashes and drivers risking

08:33

being hurt it's just in this case there

08:36

was a dramatic outcome as well Alonzo

08:38

obviously disagrees strongly with the

08:40

outcome but the indication is his Aston

08:42

Martin team has accepted it and will not

08:44

be appealing that maybe because it

08:46

didn't actually cost the team that much

08:48

at all Alonzo's 22nd penalty in Lee of a

08:50

drive-thru dropped him from sixth to eth

08:53

but teammate Lance stroll had finished

08:54

seventh so he inherited Alonzo's Place

08:56

Alonzo only drops back two positions and

08:59

as Martin's points hold from the race is

09:01

only cut from 14 to 12 whether you agree

09:04

with the decision or not that's a pretty

09:06

lowcost outcome for one of your drivers

09:08

being found guilty of dangerous

09:20

driving