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Fernando Alonso penalized for dangerous driving at Australian Grand Prix

Posted : 24 March 2024

During the Australian Grand Prix, Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso faced a 20-second penalty for what stewards deemed "potentially dangerous driving." Alonso, a two-time world champion, admitted to stewards that he had misjudged his approach, leading to a significant crash involving Mercedes' George Russell. His error involved braking too early at Turn Six and then accelerating abruptly, prompting stewards to penalize him for what they deemed as "doing something extraordinary" despite acknowledging his right to alter his approach.


The penalty imposed on Alonso saw him drop from sixth place to eighth in the final race standings, accompanied by three penalty points added to his racing license. However, Alonso expressed surprise and disagreement with the decision on social media following the race, stressing that drivers aim to navigate corners safely at high speeds and suggesting that such penalties might not have been applied under different circumstances.


Alonso's defense revolved around the absence of gravel at the corner where the incident occurred, suggesting that in any other scenario worldwide, the maneuver might not have been scrutinized. Drawing on his extensive experience in Formula 1 and highlighting memorable duels from his career, Alonso argued that adapting racing lines and sacrificing entry speed for better exits are integral aspects of motorsport, showcasing the nuanced artistry of driving at the highest level.


George Russell, the driver directly affected by Alonso's actions, attributed his loss of control and subsequent crash on the final lap of the race to Alonso's driving. Russell's car ended up upside down on the track, leading to the race's conclusion under a virtual safety car. The incident not only affected the outcome of the Australian Grand Prix but also sparked a debate over the interpretation of driving standards and penalties in Formula 1.


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