Thuesday, 09 october 2018, 11:41 , by Martin Macdonald
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has defended the FIA's decision to fine Fernando Alonso for venturing out on to the grass area to avoid Lance Stroll during the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, in which he finished in fourteenth.
In the first lap at Suzuka, Alonso was edged wide by Stroll, and used the grass and gravel section to rejoin the grouping on the track, for which he received a five-second penalty fine.
Alonso responded angrily when he found out the news, saying over team radio: “Shame on you, Formula 1. Shame on you.”
Whiting has defended the decision, however, saying the fine was justified and within penalty guidelines.
“I think the stewards felt it was perfectly clear what Fernando did,” said Whiting.
“He cut the chicane, drove quickly across the gravel, came back on well in front. I think that was pretty clear that he had gained an advantage by leaving the track.
5.0 G ??— Formula 1 (@F1) 5 October 2018
5.1 G ??
4.5 G ??
After so many years and thousands of laps, Suzuka still casts a spell ????
"This circuit always feels amazing in these cars" - @alo_oficial ????
"Best roller coaster ride I've felt in an F1 car" - @LewisHamilton ????#JapaneseGP #F1 @awscloud pic.twitter.com/9k7pp8vZIf
“The stewards, however, felt that Stroll had actually forced Fernando off. You couldn’t say that because Fernando was forced off, he was entitled to cut the chicane. He wasn’t.
“He shouldn’t have taken the place by doing it, but equally, Stroll shouldn’t have pushed him off the track.
“They felt that each driver should be given a five-second penalty for two separate offences.”