Alonso slams 'incompetent' stewards after Miami penalties


Fernando Alonso has raged against recent steward decision-making, accusing officials of "incompetence" and lacking "knowledge of racing"

ALONSO Fernando (spa), Alpine F1 Team A522, portrait, press conference during the Formula 1 Pirelli Grand Premio de Espana 2022, 6th round of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, from May 20 to 22, 2022 in Montmelo, Spain - Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Alonso has raged against recent steward decisions

Florent Gooden / DPPI

Fernando Alonso has heavily criticised FIA stewarding standards, highlighting what he believes to be “incompetence” in F1 race officiating.

Following the departure of Michael Masi as race director, Alonso said that officials lack racing knowledge, which is contributing to “unfair” decisions.

The Spaniard’s difficult start to 2022 carried on in Miami when the he was awarded two penalties for late race altercations, the second of which left Alonso and his Alpine team incensed.

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After receiving a 5sec time penalty for colliding with Pierre Gasly at the first corner, a similar post-race penalty was added due to him cutting the chicane in the post-safety car dash to finish, dropping him from eighth to out of the points.

Alonso and his team dispute the penalty, feeling data showing the Spaniard lifting off had not been taken into consideration, after the FIA stated it had viewed video evidence of the incident but not telemetry.

“We believe that it was very unfair and just incompetence from the stewards,” the two-time champion said at the Spanish drivers’ press conference.

“They were not very professional in Miami. I missed one corner and then I gave back the time on the lap, but obviously after you miss one corner, there is the sector time just after that corner, so the [purple mini-sector] colour [shows]. They took the decision without asking [for] any proof.”

The Spaniard feels the stewards were caught off guard by the ‘new’ evidence presented.

“We arrived after the race with all the proof and all [data indicating] the time back that we gave and they were just packing up,” he added. “They were not even in the room.

“We came there, we showed them all the data. So, they said ‘give us five minutes’, and then they found themselves with their hands tied, probably because they issue the penalty already and they didn’t know how to get back from that document.

“So, it was very bad and honestly… it’s already the past, but it is something that should not happen in Formula 1, with professionals and the standards that Formula 1 has right now.”

Fernando Alonso behind Pierre Gasly in the 2022 Miami Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso’s initial attempt to pass Gasly set off a chain of events that led to the safety car and then second incident

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

After last season’s highly controversial conclusion, in which Max Verstappen was handed the opportunity to take the title from Lewis Hamilton in a change of safety car protocol, the FIA made sizeable changes to its stewarding protocol. Race director Michael Masi was replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, and a new VAR-style refereeing system is being used to review video footage.

Drivers are no longer told to hand places back if they have gained an unfair advantage, leaving it up to competitors to do so, with the governing body then deciding if penalties are merited.

When Alonso was asked if he felt stewarding had improved in F1 this year, the Alpine driver was unequivocal.

“For sure not,” he answered sharply. “You need to have some knowledge about racing before being a race director or trying to monitor a race, and I don’t think that knowledge is in place at the moment.

“I know there is a new race director here. I think Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC and with other categories at the top level. And I think that will already improve things.

“But it was not… I mean, even the accident we had in Miami with Carlos [Sainz] and Esteban [Ocon] – we pushed to have some barriers there and some tyres or TecPro, whatever, and no one did anything.

“So, when you don’t have that knowledge of racing, it’s difficult to talk.”

Alonso also believes that certain priorities in FIA officiating might currently be misdirected, in the wake of recent tensions with drivers over the use of jewellery and non-flammable underwear.

Fernando Alonso Formula 1 Miami GP 2022 Alpine

Alonso has cited stewards lacking in “knowledge of racing” as behind some the issues


“Safety has been good and probably this year we have the safest cars and circuits and everything – [the] environment is very safe now in Formula 1,” Alonso concluded.

“We just need to keep improving that. We are the only ones driving the cars and feeling the crashes and things like that in our bodies, so when we feel something is needed, I think we should be listened [too].

“In Miami and some other examples we didn’t have that because it seems the focus is in another place.”