Alonso Given Massive 20-Second Penalty After Russell's Crash In Australia

Sunday, 24 March 2024 at 10:10
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Fernando Alonso was given a big 20-second time penalty after his incident with George Russell at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver had a very solid race, and at one point, he even found himself leading the race at the Albert Park Circuit, following Max Verstappen's early retirement.
Ultimately, Alonso found himself only in a fight for the sixth position, which was still an improvement compared to his 10th starting position after not-so-successful qualifying.
Behind him, however, was Russell in Mercedes, who appeared to be faster and was closing up on the Aston Martin driver, who tried every trick in the book to defend his position.
Ultimately, it seems that one of the tricks wasn't legal, as Russell lost control of his car on Lap 57, ending in the barriers. Alonso was able to finish the race in P6 under the virtual safety car, which was triggered by the British driver's crash.
Although what happened between the two could be called an incident, there wasn't any contact, as Alonso seemingly tried to purposefully slow down before the corner to force his opponent to slow down differently than he would normally, subsequently gaining advantage on the following straight after Turns 6 and 7.
However, after the race, both drivers were summoned to the stewards, and after a lengthy investigation, the FIA determined that Alonso was to blame for the incident, exactly due to purposefully slowing down ahead of the straight.

"Car 63 (George Russell) was following Car 14 (Fernando Alonso) approximately 0.5 seconds behind as the cars approached turn 6. Alonso explained to the stewards that he intended to approach turn 6 differently, lifting earlier, and with less speed into the corner, to get a better exit."

"Russell explained to the stewards that from his perspective, Alonso’s manoeuvre was erratic, took him by surprise and caused him to close distance unusually fast, and with the resulting lower downforce at the apex of the corner, he lost control and crashed at the exit of the corner."

The regulations clearly say that "at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers." Alonso's behavior was considered to be in breach of these rules.

"in the opinion of the stewards by doing these things, he drove in a manner that was at very least “potentially dangerous” given the very high speed nature of that point of the track."

As a result, Alonso received a "drive-through penalty" that, however, was imposed after the race, resulting in a 20-second time penalty, which dropped him behind his teammate Lance Stroll, and RB's Yuki Tsunoda to eighth place.
On top of that, Alonso also received 3 penalty points out of a possible 12, which would force him to miss a race, which will be valid for a 12-month period.