Charlie Whiting has revealed that he told Ferrari three times to inform Fernando Alonso to let Robert Kubica back through, following the Spaniard’s illegal pass on the Renault driver during Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Alonso was given a drive-through penalty for going off the track to overtake Kubica – a decision which ruined the 28-year-old chances of a strong finish in the race and saw him fall further behind in the world championship standings.
Although Ferrari believed that the penalty was too harsh, Whiting believes that the situation could have been averted, had Ferrari listened to his advice.
“We told Ferrari three times that in my opinion they should give the position back to Kubica,” The FIA race director was quoted as saying by Autosprint magazine.
“And we told them that immediately, right after the overtaking manoeuvre. On the radio, I suggested to them that if they exchange position again, there would be no need for the stewards to intervene.
“But they didn’t do that and on the third communication they said that Kubica was by then too far back to let him regain the position.
“It’s not true at all that the stewards took too long to decide. For us the facts were clear immediately: Alonso had gained an advantage by cutting the track.”
Despite Whiting’s wisdom, Stefano Domenicali stated that the team did not feel as though Alonso had gained an unfair advantage.
“He tried to be aggressive to overtake, and we complained the drivers not to be aggressive and we complain about the lack of overtaking, and so at that stage, we felt as we normally do at that moment that we need to go on the radio with race control to check what is the position,” Domenicali is quoted by Autosport as saying.
“And normally, we take the right time to discuss with race control to make the judgement, and the moment when race control give us the instruction to give back the position to Robert, it was clear that Robert had already lost a lot of time – effectively he had a problem and he came back. That is the situation we analysed.
“You can have a situation where immediately there is a possibility to give back the position to a driver if you feel that there is really an advantage that you gain. On our side we felt that was not the case otherwise we would have done it.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo joined Domenicali at a debrief at the Italian team’s Maranello headquarters on Monday, urging the outfit to improve.
“There’s no point in crying about it,” The BBC reports Montezemolo as saying. “I want the team to tackle the second half of the season in a positive manner.
“We have gone through much worse moments than this and we have come through them, but clearly we can no longer afford to lose opportunities, which for various reasons, have escaped us in the last two races, even though we had a competitive car.
“Qualifying and the start have become the decisive moments, so we must improve in those areas if we want to win.
“I expect everyone will give 100% to bring home points quickly to make up for those we have lost to date.”