Formula 1 Racing

Alonso’s mystery ‘throttle problem’ messages after Russell’s crash· RaceFans

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Fernando Alonso said he had to cope with a problem in his Aston Martin’s power unit towards the end of the Australian Grand Prix.

Speaking before the stewards announced his penalty for his driving in the moments before George Russell crashed at turn six on the penultimate lap, Alonso said he had “some issues for the last 15 laps, something on the battery on the deployment”.

His radio messages during the race reveal more about what Alonso was referring to. Curiously, they also show he reported “problems on the throttle” immediately after Russell’s crash.

Whatever was going on, it seems Alonso did not blame these throttle problems for his deceleration as Russell approached him, which the stewards later described as “extraordinary” and cited as the reason for the post-race time penalty which dropped him two places to eighth.

Alonso’s radio from the end of the Australian Grand Prix

Alonso ran behind Russell at the start of the race but jumped ahead because he was able to pit during the first Virtual Safety Car period. That turned his deficit of nearly four seconds to Russell into an advantage of almost six.

But Russell’s pace was slightly better and he closed on Alonso over the remainder of the race. By lap 42 Alonso had made his final pit stop, which put Russell ahead.

That left Aston Martin wondering whether Russell would attempt to run to the end without pitting again or take a fresh set of tyres and attack Alonso from behind on fresher rubber. Mercedes chose the latter:

Lap: 42/58 ALO: 1’27.347
Cronin Track is all clear. Track is all clear. 17 laps to go. 17. Fernando HPP button off, HPP button off. And just the key management corners, but then good pace just in case Russell tries one stopping.
Alonso Race situation?
Cronin So basically Russell’s our race. If he tries to one-stop he’s currently 18 seconds ahead. I’ll keep you updated on the gap.
Lap: 43/58 ALO: 1’21.724
Alonso Yeah. And other threats?
Cronin The car behind is Lance, 10 seconds back. Same strategy as us but older tyres.
Alonso First set, what was the axle limitation on this compound?
Dudley So it was very balanced Fernando, good balance. We’ve added the 0.3% since that first stint.
Lap: 44/58 ALO: 1’21.394
Alonso Gap to Russell.
Dudley 18 seconds still, 18. Last lap Russell same lap time as us.
Alonso Wow.

Russell duly made his pit stop and emerged behind Alonso. While this was unfolding the Aston Martin driver was asking his team whether he had the maximum power available from his…

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