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Alonso escapes punishment for unsafe release

Alonso escapes punishment for unsafe release

F1 News

Alonso escapes punishment for unsafe release

Alonso escapes punishment for unsafe release

Fernando Alonso has escaped punishment for allegedly being released by his Alpine team with his car in an unsafe condition following a pit stop at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard finished 10th despite starting at the rear of the field at the Red Bull Ring.

But the result could have been better but for a calamitous two laps where Alonso was forced to pit twice under virtual safety car conditions.

The incident that saw his wheel come loose put him under investigation but the two-time F1 champion was cleared of wrongdoing after a stewards' review.

"I pitted under the virtual safety car and we were headed to P6 because I was just behind Lando [Norris] with new tyres and it would have been easy to pass them and maybe finish behind Esteban [Ocon] in fifth and sixth," said Alonso.

"I felt huge vibrations on the tyres immediately after the first sector, so we decided to pit again. I exited P14 with nine laps to go and I recovered to P10."

FIA stewards' report in full

A lengthy stewards' explanation read: "Alonso made a pit stop at 16:12 during the VSC due to the incident at turn four.

"The left-front wheel subsequently came loose by a small margin and the stewards investigated to see if the car was 'released in an unsafe condition' which is a potential breach of Article 34.14 of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations.

"The stewards reviewed multiple angles of the video of the pit stop, including pit lane CCTV, CCTV from over the pit-stop location and in-car footage.

"There is nothing in the video to indicate that the pit stop was anything other than a normal pit stop, including that the wheel concerned appears to fully engage and become fully tight."

But explaining that everything appeared normal after reviewing footage and speaking to Alpine team members, the statement continued: "The team manager reported that the mechanic fitting the wheel reported that everything felt normal, and indeed his body language on the video appears completely normal.

"Nothing appears to be wrong until just before turn three, where the wheel slightly disengages from the car, by a very small amount.

"Shortly after turn three the driver states on the radio that they will need to box again. "When asked by the crew, the driver simply reported that they needed to box again.

"In the hearing, the driver stated that he cannot see the rim of the wheel and that all he felt was a small vibration. This is consistent with the video, in that the movement of the tyre was hardly distinguishable.

"After entering the pit lane, the driver stated 'check left front'. In the hearing, he stated that it felt worse when he turned to the right than when he turned to the left, but that there was still nothing obvious from his vantage point."

Continuing to reveal a parts failure, the report explained: "After the race, the left-front wheel with the tyre and the axel were inspected by the technical delegate and the head of single-seater technical affairs.

"They reported to the stewards that the damage to the wheel and axel is consistent with a parts failure, in all likelihood subsequent to the exit of the car from the pits.

"Based on the footage of the car from the moment the wheel was fitted, until the failure became apparent, the stewards conclude that the wheel was fully fitted, and that subsequent to the failure, all the retention systems worked as designed."

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