Formula 1 Racing

“Strange” Australian GP penalty won’t change approach to racing in F1

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24, leads George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

The Aston Martin driver was handed a drive-through penalty in Melbourne, converted to a 20-second time addition, for the way in which he aggressively defended against George Russell on the final lap around Albert Park.

His early deceleration, aimed at ensuring he got a clean exit from Turn 6, caught Russell by surprise and the Mercedes driver lost grip in dirty air before crashing into the barriers and ending up in the middle of the circuit.

Alonso says he remains surprised that the stewards acted against him, but is clear that he thinks the way things played out was a one-off that will not force him to behave differently in the future.

Asked by in Japan if he was clear about the rules of defensive driving in the wake of being punished, Alonso said: “It was clear. And I think it’s still clear.

“It was a little bit surprising, the penalty in Melbourne.

“There is nothing we can do, we have to accept it and move on and concentrate on here. But I think it will not change much on how we drive and how we approach racing.

“There is no obligation to drive 57 laps in the same way. Sometimes we get a slower pace, to save fuel, to save tyres, to save battery.

“And sometimes we go slow into corners, or into some sectors of the track, to give the DRS to the car behind because that will be a useful tool if the second car behind is at a faster pace.

“All those things are completely normal. And it was, it is and it will be forever in motorsports. So we had one penalty, probably a one-off, that we will never apply ever again.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24, leads George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

While the race stewards declared in their verdict that the outcome of the incident with Russell did not influence their decision, Alonso is not sure.

Asked if he thought the matter would have been ignored if Russell had not crashed, Alonso said: “100%.

“If he was in Abu Dhabi with a run off area of asphalt or whatever, I think George will rejoin the track a few metres after that and will try to have a go on me on the following lap, or the following straight. And it will not be any problem.”

Alonso says a much bigger issue in the incident was the way that a relatively small moment for Russell turned into a massive accident because of the way the crash barriers at Turn 6 speared the Mercedes back onto the track.

“I think that the big thing is Turn 6 in…

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