Alonso fumes as Ferrari call for change to safety car rules

Fernando Alonso has launched a scathing attack on the European Grand Prix race stewards, following their failure to punish Lewis Hamilton in sufficient time.

The Spaniard had been right behind the McLaren when Mark Webber’s accident with Heikki Kovalainen prompted a safety car period. While Alonso and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa lined up behind the safety car, Hamilton carried on managed to maintain his place following his tyre stop.

Although Hamilton was later penalised for the incident, Alonso was left incensed as the British driver did not lose a position – while he had been relegated to ninth during the caution period.

Alonso’s comments were echoed by team principal Stefano Domenicali, who called on the sport’s rule makers to seriously consider overhauling the safety car regulations to ensure that there is never a repeat of such events.

Fernando Alonso – (Finished 9th on track, but was promoted to 8th following the stewards’ decision to penalise a number of the field):“The race was ruined by the Safety Car and everything that followed on from that. I am disappointed most of all for the thousands of spectators who were here today and saw how the situation was handled. I am very bitter about what happened today. I was in third place, a metre behind Hamilton at the moment the Safety Car came out on track and, at the chequered flag, he was second and I was ninth, even though we had made the same choice of strategy. The penalty he was given came when it could no longer have any real influence on his finishing position. From then on, my race was compromised. I was always in traffic and I did not get the performance I had expected from the hard tyres: this also explains the difficulty I had in passing first Sutil and then Buemi. This is definitely a bad result for us, but I still hang onto the idea that we will do the maths at the end, in Abu Dhabi: incidents we have no control over will be made up for. We must continue to work and push on the car development front to try and be the quickest on the track.”

Felipe Massa – (Finished 14th on track, but was promoted to 11th for reasons asforementioned): “Another horrible race on the back of the one in Canada. We were lying third and fourth with cars capable of getting a great result and instead, everyone has seen how it ended. On the lap when the accident happened, we were coming into the final corner and there was nothing, then suddenly, the Safety Car came out on track and I saw in the mirrors that the cars behind us were pitting: our chance of fighting for the podium went up in smoke at that moment. The difference between us and Hamilton is that he committed an infraction and we did not, but his penalty had no effect on his result. I think that errors were made in the way this situation was managed. From then on, our race was practically one long procession in traffic with no chance of changing anything. A real shame because today we could have done really well.”

Stefano Domenicali:“The outcome of this Grand Prix leaves us with a very bitter taste. We had everything we needed to clinch a good result and we have ended up with a handful of points which is even less than we brought home from our worst race, a month ago in Turkey. It is a real shame because over this weekend we have shown that we have made a good step forward in terms of performance and the opening stage of the race looked promising. Then came the unfortunate blow linked to the safety car period, which arrived at the very worst moment for us in that both our cars had just gone past the pit lane entry and therefore were forced to do a full lap behind the Safety Car. And that definitely compromised our race. I think that the incidents linked to the neutralisation put some questions on the table regarding how to manage situations like this and the eventual penalties linked to them. We have to ensure that our sport remains credible in the eyes of those involved and those who follow it, at the track and in front of their TV screens.”

Chris Dyer: “We are very disappointed with the outcome of this race. The arrival of the Safety Car on track ruined what should have been a very good race for us, given the potential at our disposal. It is very, very difficult to overtake at this track therefore our race was totally compromised by an innocuous occurrence like a Safety Car period. In performance terms, this weekend has shown that we have made a step forward, but at the same time, we still have a lot of work to do to be where we want to be.”