Grand Prix du Canada – How Alpine, the most sanctioned, robs itself (for now) of 4th place in the championship

Fernando Alonso lost two places and four points after the finish of the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday. A point on his super license too. The FIA ​​stewards failed to support his defensive zigzags in front of Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) between turns 10 and 12, on the penultimate lap of the ninth round of the World Cup held at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. They added five seconds to his race time, putting him behind Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou, the Alfa Romeo members who – somewhat unluckily – are the brand’s pressing opponents at the A-arrow in the World Constructors’ Championship.

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It is the first time the field veteran has been pinched in a race this year and he was simply put on the same diet as Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) in Melbourne. We can still see that he only has six of the twelve points left on his driver’s license in Formula 1. If he does not have any more, he will be suspended for one race. However, any lost point is recouped after a year, pushing it further away from that spectrum; unlike the Canadian all-around champion mentioned above.

“Ferrari is paid with words, their plan is to constantly improvise”

Double trouble in Miami

Unfortunately, this is not a first for his team, Alpine, far from it. In fact, the French team is at the top of the most punished since the start of the season; no less than five times in total. And she won’t see the points she lost at the Grands Prix this season.

When Fernando Alonso was talked about in Belle province on Sunday, Esteban Ocon was also caught by the federal patrol. The soap started in Imola. During the fourth round of 2022, the resident of Evreux was penalized 5 seconds for coming out of his pits in a dangerous manner. An “unsafe release” that is somewhat the specialty of the Blues this season, and followed with consequences: the 5-second penalty imposed on the driver of the A522 n°31 caused him to tumble from 11th to 14th place in the final.

On the other hand, at the next event in Miami, Fernando Alonso received the double penalty for his double fault: an attack launched from nowhere on Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and a time gain on a cut chicane. Result: a ten second penalty, two places (from P9 to P11) and 2 points away.

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Knowing how to return an unfair advantage

“It’s my fault and it happens to me sometimes. I braked too late and destroyed Pierre’s race”, bluntly recognized the quadra “Nando”. The second mistake he could have fixed himself, had he really wanted to or if the team had encouraged him to do so. But that’s the problem, neither of them really wanted to recognize the flaw in its magnitude. After his straight, the Asturian didn’t really slow down to erase his “lasting gain” as the FIA ​​accused him. Strangely enough, like in Montreal on Sunday, Fernando Alonso made his mistake in the last laps. Was he naively thinking to escape an investigation? With a beginner we would have understood, but less.

In Miami, the violation was obvious enough to fire the race director from calling him or a team representative. Alpine was stuck but Otmar Szafnauer could only express his surprise and demand a clearer rule from the FIA. That is apparently enough, as the FIA ​​has not done an update since then. The high authority still rules that it is easy to evaluate an unnecessary time saver on the track and continues to penalize minimalist repairs.

It must be said, Alpine and its drivers have often played like the other teams with the limits this season and have sometimes found them. But Esteban Ocon’s relegation from ninth to twelfth place (another 5 second penalty) in the Principality remains an aberration and witness to the approaches from which the FIA ​​has not been cured.

Points worth millions of euros

When braking at Turn 1, on lap 18 of the Monaco Grand Prix, the Frenchman was right. He was almost one step ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes when it hit him and destabilized him. “I went to the stewards because this penalty is illogical and makes no sense”Esteban harassed Ocon afterwards. They explained to me that there was a new rule stating that if there is a car in it, whoever is attacked will be penalized. They confirmed to me that last year the racing would have just been a fact and they didn’t understand the rule themselves.

“With ten points scored, the team maintains fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship, eight behind McLaren”, wrote Alpine Sunday evening. But if we take stock, the total penalties imposed are eight points. Mistakes or misunderstandings that are costly because they rob the team of fourth place in the World Cup, the precise target this season, and possibly several tens of millions of euros from the distribution of sports revenues, at the end of the season.

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