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Hülkenberg Criticizes Alonso's Choice of Corner for Slowdown

Hülkenberg Criticizes Alonso’s Choice of Corner for Slowdown

04/04/2024

Amid the fallout from the Australian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso’s risky maneuver ahead of George Russell continues to ignite discussions on safety and sportsmanship in F1 racing.

Two weeks following the Australian Grand Prix, the controversy surrounding Fernando Alonso and his maneuver ahead of George Russell continues to stir discussions. Haas F1 driver, Nico Hülkenberg, believes the Spaniard was wrong to attempt such a slowdown at that spot on the Australian track.

“I didn’t really appreciate Fernando’s tactic, to be honest,” Hülkenberg stated. “Melbourne, after all, is somewhat of a street circuit. It’s quite narrow, we approach the turn at 260-270 km/h, and it’s a blind exit.”

“And if, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone was delayed, and one of us had hit George, I think the outcome and how he would have felt would have been quite different.”

“So, I think while this tactic is quite common in F1, in this particular turn, at this speed, with an exit without visibility, I think it’s not the right turn to implement it, and it created a quite dangerous situation.”

Hülkenberg surprised by Alonso’s remarks

Hülkenberg isn’t surprised that Alonso’s move resulted in Russell going off track, but he questions the Melbourne infrastructure and the issue with this wall that sends cars back onto the track.

“As I said, I think it’s the wrong speed, the wrong turn. I also think the change in speed, the deceleration, caused a significant delta, obviously. So yes, it’s easy to overreact and lose the rear of the car, as happened to George.”

“It’s clear that we saw last year, with Alex crashing at that spot, that the barrier sends the car back onto the track. I’m sure we need to look at this and change something for the future, because it’s really not good when you come into the turn and there’s a car in the middle of the track.”

The German doesn’t understand Alonso’s justifications, who mentioned a mechanical issue but didn’t bring it up again afterward: “What I also don’t understand is that right after, on the radio, he talks about throttle problems – like the throttle being stuck or not stuck.”

“But later, he doesn’t mention it anymore. He just says it was standard procedure and tactic. So it doesn’t add up, and he seems to have changed his mind. But as I said, I didn’t really appreciate that personally.”

A “surprising” penalty for Alonso

For his part, the Aston Martin F1 driver continues to defend his actions, insisting he did not break any on-track defense rules, and he is convinced that his maneuver was legal and not dangerous: “It was clear. And I think it still is. The penalty in Melbourne was somewhat surprising.”

“There’s nothing we can do but accept it, move on, and focus on the race. But I think it won’t change much about how we drive and approach racing. There’s no requirement to drive 57 laps in the same way.”

“Sometimes, we adopt a slower pace to save fuel, tires, and battery. And sometimes we go slowly in the corners, or in certain sectors of the track, to give DRS to the car behind because it will be a useful tool if the second car behind has a faster pace.”

“All these things are completely normal. And it was, is, and will always be the case in motorsport. So we received a penalty, probably a unique one, that we will never apply again.”

No penalty if Russell hadn’t crashed?

The FIA has defended itself against judging the consequence of the action, but it’s hard not to believe that, and Alonso agrees, convinced that he wouldn’t have received a penalty if Russell hadn’t crashed: “100%.”

“If it was in Abu Dhabi with a runoff area on asphalt or something, I think George would rejoin the track a few meters later and try to attack me on the next lap, or on the next straight. And there wouldn’t have been any issue.”

The Spaniard agrees with Hülkenberg that turn 6 at Albert Park poses a problem: “I think the most important point is turn 6 in Australia. It’s not the safest turn on the circuit right now.”

“Last year, Alex Albon had an accident during the race and this year, during free practice, he damaged his chassis. In F2, I believe Dennis Hauger also had an accident at that turn. George, obviously during the race.”

Asked about the severity of his sanction, since he received the equivalent of a Drive Through, Alonso is mainly frustrated by the fact of being penalized: “It was the harshest penalty of the season in terms of time, which is strange, but being penalized was the main issue.”

Hülkenberg Criticizes Alonso’s Choice of Corner for Slowdown. Hülkenberg Criticizes Alonso’s Choice of Corner for Slowdown. F1 2024 Hülkenberg Criticizes Alonso’s Choice of Corner for Slowdown

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