Alonso accuses FIA of incompetence

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Sat, 21/05/2022
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Former world champion Fernando Alonso has pulled no punches when he accused motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, of incompetence. He claimed to have seen no evidence of any improvement in standards, despite attempts to restructure following the highly controversial end to last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He has also heavily criticised Niels Wittich, who has acted as race director at all the races this year, arguing that he lacks a fundamental knowledge of racing.

Alonso has described the five-second penalty he received at the Miami Grand Prix for going off the track as unfair. The penalty dropped him out of the points. He pointed out that he had voluntarily given the time gained in the incident back , but the stewards had refused to look at the telemetry data which his time provided to prove his point.

He is also unhappy about Wittich's failure to respond to a request from the drivers for an the installation of an impact-absorbing barrier at a corner when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had crashed heavily during practice in Miami.

Sainz argued that the impact he suffered was far more severe than it should have been given the relatively low speed involved, only to be told that it was a freak occurrence, and there was no need to instal a barrier.

The following day, Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon had an almost identical accident at the same point on the circuit that caused extensive damage to the chassis.

Wittich is being replaced as the main race director for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix by Eduardo Freitas. The two men will effectively job-share this season.

Alonso’s comments reflect growing unhappiness within the teams and the commercial rights holders about the FIA this year. There is dissatisfaction that new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has delayed the approval of a plan to double the number of sprint races to determine qualifying.

‘And suggestions that Michael Masi, the man whom Wittich and Freitas replaced, could be set for an active return to the sport, and who was blamed for the Abu Dhabi chaos, have been met with fury by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.