Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Sports

Motor racing-Alonso risks sanction after blasting Miami GP stewards

By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Two times world champion Fernando Alonso risked being sanctioned by Formula One’s governing body at his home Spanish Grand Prix on Friday after accusing stewards of incompetent and unprofessional behaviour.

The Alpine driver collected two five second penalties during the previous race in Miami, the last dropping him from eighth at the finish to 11th. He was still chafing on Friday.

“We believed that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards,” the 40-year-old told reporters. “They were not very professional.”

The governing FIA, whose international sporting code lists a range of penalties from a warning to exclusion, said it would respond.

Alonso said the four stewards, who included 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1988 CART champion Danny Sullivan, had made their minds up without hearing evidence in his defence.

“We arrived after the race with proof that we had given the time back that we gained and they (the stewards) were just packing up. They were not even in the room,” he said.

“We showed them all the data, so they said give us five minutes and then they found themselves with their hands tied probably because they had issued already the penalty.

“It’s already the past but it is something that should not happen in Formula One with the professionalism and standard that Formula One has.”

Alonso also suggested race director Niels Wittich, who is sharing the role with Eduardo Freitas following the removal of Michael Masi after a controversial 2021 season-ender in Abu Dhabi, lacked the necessary knowledge of racing.

The Spaniard said there was still plenty of room for improvement.

Freitas is in charge this weekend after Wittich handled the opening five races.

“Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC (world endurance) and other categories at the top level and I think that will already improve things,” said Alonso.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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