Alonso handed F1 penalty for Ocon’s clash
Fernando Alonso has received a five-second time penalty for the clash with teammate Esteban Ocon as both faced criticism from team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
Alonso and Ocon made contact twice on the opening lap of Saturday’s 24-lap sprint race in Brazil. Alonso was forced wide at the exit of 4th corner, but the more dramatic incident came as they completed the lap when they made contact going across the start/finish line.
Front wing of Alonso’s car was damaged when it made contact with Ocon’s right-rear wheel. It forced him to pit for repairs and prompted an angry response from the Spaniard, who said on the radio: “I lost the front wing thanks to our friend.”
Stewards confirmed after the sprint race, they would be investigating the main straight incident, and deemed after hearing from both drivers that it was Alonso who was to blame, resulting in a five-second time penalty.
The stewards said that Alonso admitted in the hearing that he “slightly misjudged the time to pull out and struck Ocon from behind, his front wing striking Ocon’s rear tyre”. Ocon managed to finish the race without any puncture.
The penalty drops Alonso back to 18th on the grid for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, while he also collects two penalty points on his FIA super licence, taking him to six for the last 12 months.
Team principal Szafnauer did not speak publicly about the incident after the sprint race but slammed both Alpine drivers in the team’s press release issued on Saturday evening.
“Frankly, both Esteban and Fernando must do a better job to compliment the fantastic efforts of everyone in the team by avoiding on-track incidents and compromising the entire team’s performance,” said Szafnauer.
“Today, both drivers have let the team down. I expect more from them tomorrow where we must do everything, we can recover some points from the weekend for the championship. We aim to ensure we go to Abu Dhabi next weekend in a position where we can reach our season goals. Tomorrow is a new day.”
Notably after race Ocon's car caught on fire while being stationary. If he has to take a new engine component, he will have to start the race from pit lane. This will put Alpine in danger for 4th position in championship.