Alonso hopes for “more consistent” F1 after Ben Sulayem chat

Adam Cooper
7 May, 2024

Fernando Alonso hopes that F1 penalties will be “a little bit more consistent” after talking to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in Miami.

Alonso created a stir by suggesting that nationality sometimes played a part in penalties after Lewis Hamilton escaped sanction for contact with the Aston Martin driver at the start of the sprint event.

The weekend also saw the Chinese GP stewards reject a right of review request from Aston after Alonso was penalised following his battle with Carlos Sainz in Shanghai.

After making his comments about nationality subsequently had a conversation with Ben Sulayem.

“He’s always on board on every opinion that the drivers have, ” Alonso noted. “He knows that we are the ones driving the cars, and that we can have some suggestions on things.

“There are a couple of points that we need to address as a sport. And yeah, he always listens to us. Let’s see between if we make F1 a better sport, and a little bit more consistent.”

Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack agreed that consistency was key.

“I think there’s two elements there,” he said. “One is obviously we want consistent judgments. On the other hand, we have also introduced new guidelines for this season, driving guidelines and all that.

“And sometimes maybe we fall foul also a little bit to be stuck in the way we have been driving before. And so that is something that I think it’s very important to keep in mind, we have the new, guidelines that have been agreed with all applied.

“Obviously, sometimes you think they should be more consistent, depending on which end you are, it’s obviously, a different interpretation of consistency. But I think everybody wants consistency. Everybody should look over the guidelines, including ourselves, and then we take a fresh start.”

After a disappointing qualifying session Alonso enjoyed a charging race in Miami for Aston Martin, starting on the hard tyre and eventually working his way from 15th on the grid to ninth at the flag.

“I think we were lucky with the [virtual] safety car today, that really helped our race,” he said when asked by this writer about his afternoon.

“Starting on the hard, maybe we were thinking to stop a little bit later, but the safety car came in that lap, and we took the opportunity.

“And then the full safety car bunched everyone else. And we were with the mediums, the others were with hards. So we had a little advantage there.

“So all-in-all, we were lucky with the strategy and with the safety car, a little bit better on the race, compared to quali but we still need to improve and find more pace.”

Alonso enjoyed his fights on the way through the field, notably the one with former Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon for ninth place.

“Good battles, Esteban, very hard fighting, as well,” he said.

“As always, he’s a racer, but always with respect. I really enjoyed today the fight with him. It’s the first point for Alpine, I’m happy as well for them. But I think Esteban drove really well to take that point. So well done to them.”

Alonso also stressed that “nice kid” Lando Norris deserved his debut F1 win in Miami, especially after logging a string of podium finishes.

Alonso got to know Norris when the Englishman was a McLaren junior, especially when he ran some Friday FP1 sessions at the end of 2018.

The following year, they shared a car for Zak Brown’s United Autosports team at the Daytona 24 Hours.

Norris’s victory came 21 years after Alonso’s own debut win with Renault in the 2003 Hungarian GP.

“The first win after so many podiums,” said Alonso. “I’m really happy for him. Hopefully, he remembers this day. The first of many wins.

“He’s a nice kid. He’s a nice man and a very talented driver. I know him very well. We did the Daytona 24 Hours in 2019 together. He started in McLaren as a test driver when I was there. We both live in Monaco, we see each other sometimes there in the city, travel together sometimes as well.

“And after so many podiums, I think he deserved his win. As I said, hopefully, he enjoys this day because sometimes you forget quickly because you’re so focused on the next event. But yeah, I’m very happy for him. And for McLaren as well.”

Regarding the Woking team’s Miami form, he said: “Well, they were close, and I think they were second in China.

“And they were again fast here, especially on the sprint qualifying, they were very fast. They brought a lot of updates here. Let’s see what will happen in the next few races in the championship.”

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