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fernando alonso Is Excessive F1 Regulation Stifling Drivers

Alonso: F1’s Tight Rules Curb Drivers’ Freedom

05/07/2024

Fernando Alonso criticises F1’s strict regulations, questioning if they limit drivers’ ability to truly compete.

Fernando Alonso clearly hasn’t gotten over the 10-second penalty he received at the last Grand Prix in Austria. The Aston Martin F1 driver was found guilty of a collision with Guanyu Zhou in the middle of turn 3.

The FIA also penalized another track incident: the clash between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, the latter receiving a 10-second penalty.

The veteran of the grid is not satisfied with how the FIA manages these incidents: he mainly laments a sport that is overly regulated, constraining the drivers.

“I think we’ve never had as many rules as now: we can’t overtake in the pit lane, we can’t go fast in the pit lane, we can’t go slow on the track, we can hardly do anything.”

“F1 is probably too regulated… and drivers sometimes feel frustrated, the teams too. But we need to find a solution among ourselves, we can’t leave the FIA alone on this matter.”

“We need to propose something better than the current regulations. And it’s something we need to do among ourselves.”

Fernando Alonso also questions the very principle of the points-based license (while he himself is 4 points away from a suspension, unable to recover any points until next March).

“When the penalty points were introduced, it was to prevent dangerous drivers from continuing to accumulate penalties without being banned from racing or something of that sort, just to avoid dangerous maneuvers and endangering anyone on the circuit.”

“I think now we are confusing racing mistakes with dangerous driving. I made a driving error in Turn 3 and collided with Guanyu Zhou, I deserved a 10-second penalty. I think Nico made a similar error, a racing driving mistake and you pay the price – either you give up your position or you get a penalty, five seconds or ten seconds.”

For the Aston Martin F1 driver, there’s a mix-up between danger and human error: why not penalize on the points-based license only the mistakes that endanger other drivers? And penalize driving errors with time penalties only, without any intent to endanger someone?

“We try to prevent dangerous drivers from taking penalties every two or three weekends – and from endangering people. Going back to the Grosjean incident at Spa in 2012 with Lewis and myself, Grosjean was suspended for a race.”

“A driving error in racing can always occur and it has happened in the past. What I don’t understand is the danger these maneuvers pose, because there is no danger. It’s just… we’re removing the incentive to attempt an overtaking maneuver.”

“Indeed, if you make a mistake in racing, you will be penalized with penalty points. Therefore, it’s sometimes better to stay behind another car, because they only promote DRS overtaking. You cannot attempt to overtake anyone, as one of the two drivers will end up with penalty points. For me, this is a mistake.”

And Fernando Alonso concludes with a somewhat fatalistic tone: anyway, in the heat of the moment, drivers often forget the F1 regulations!

“You are always racing, trusting the other driver.”

“You forget the rules for a moment when you are in the heat of the action and fighting sometimes for points, sometimes for podiums, and sometimes even for world championships. I have fought for world championships five times in the last race, in the final moments of the season. How can you think about the rules at that moment? You attempt an overtaking or a defense, you try to be fair, and you have to trust other drivers. This is probably how we have always raced.”

Is Excessive F1 Regulation Stifling Drivers?. Is Excessive F1 Regulation Stifling Drivers?

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