Fernando Alonso’s Qualifying Controversy in Turkey Set to Trigger a New F1 System at Austin

Published 10/12/2021, 6:52 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 9, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso during a press conference Pool via REUTERS/Luca Bruno


Ahead of his poor start on Sunday’s Turkish GP, Fernando Alonso was threatened with a five-place grid penalty. During the qualifying session on Saturday, the wet conditions had caused many drivers to slip off the tracks, resulting in yellow flags. Alonso was accused of not respecting the double yellow flag during the session but was left with no consequences. His error, however, may trigger a new set of regulations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Alonso entered a double yellow flag zone at the beginning of his flying lap on Saturday; he completed the lap at an ambitious pace. His time was comparable with the others on the track – which brought him to stewards. He escaped the possible 5-position-drop as the track eventually dried. This allowed track times to improve.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nonetheless, while other drivers slowed down for the yellows, the Spaniard set a competitive lap time. With the forecast of heavy rain that evening, the lap time could have been crucial for the drivers.

To close the loophole, the FIA plan on setting a trial during the American GP weekend. The FIA will test a new system of deleting lap times completely during yellows at COTA; thus erasing doubts from the drivers’ minds.

Fernando Alonso fallacy to change regulations

Michael Masi had commented on the entire situation and didn’t want drivers to repeat what Alonso did. Masi looks to prevent drivers from getting tempted to complete their flying laps during yellow flags; deleting lap times similar to track limits offenses seem to be the solution.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 9, 2021. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice

Masi commented“It sounds on the face of it that it could be a good resolution. But you just need to talk through it all. We’ve got a sporting advisory committee [meeting] scheduled anyway this week, and that’s one of the ones on the agenda.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

When asked if the new system will set off in Austin, Masi revealed it’s in the works. “It’s in my event notes. It’s not even a regulation change. It is effectively, the legal terminology would be, it’s a test.”

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 8, 2021. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in action during practice REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Masi added that the test may take place within a fortnight’s time. “So we’ll have a look, probably trial something else in Austin, and see where we go.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

As the FIA close loopholes as they find them, the regulation looks to be fair for all the drivers. As the experiment day draws near, it will be interesting to see what exactly Masi has in store for the grid.

Watch this story: Verstappen the Big Winner as Hamilton Loses Out at Turkish F1 Grand Prix.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shreya Sanjeev

447 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT