Alonso’s race ruined after Kubica pass

2010 British Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

After a frustrating race in Valencia Fernando Alonso had more bad luck in the British Grand Prix.

But this time he was at least partly the architect of his own demise.

He was handed a drive-through penalty after the stewards judged he’d passed Robert Kubica by going off the track – and Alonso failed to give the position back.

Alonso passed Kubica at Club, pulling alongside the Renault driver on the outside. Kubica gave him little room, forcing the Ferrari driver onto the run-off.

Alonso rejoined the track in front of Kubica and didn’t cede the position back. This was surprising, as we’ve seen on several occasions the stewards order drivers to hand positions back having taken them by going off the track.

At Singapore last year Alonso was given a place back by Mark Webber after a similar incident on the first lap.

Instead Ferrari and Renault debated the matter with the stewards. Predictably, Alonso was eventually told to give the place back to Kubica.

But within moment of decision been taken, Kubica was out of the race. Now the stewards told Alonso he would have to serve a driver-through penalty.

This was harsh, but completely in line with past decisions – and entirely avoidable had Alonso had the sense to give the position back to Kubica in the first place.

It got worse for Ferrari as the safety car was summoned onto the track moments later, meaning Alonso would have to serve his penalty after the field had bunched up, costing him even more dearly.

Ferrari’s press officer Luca Colajanni referred to the team’s frustration after Valencia when interviews about the penalty on the BBC:

Today we had another example that maybe people need to think about it. We had to give back a position and no-one was around to collect it.

But there are referees in every sport and you have to respect their position, wrong or right.
Luca Colajanni

Their less vehement reaction to this setback compared to their fury after Valencia is perhaps a tacit admission that their driver could have avoided this penalty.

2010 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 British Grand Prix articles

Image (C) Ferrari spa

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

187 comments on “Alonso’s race ruined after Kubica pass”

  1. To me, the right decision.
    I was surprised (or not so surprised in fact) that Alonso didn’t give the position back immediately.

    I agree that the drive-through / SC combination ruined his race, but a little common sense would have given him a good result.

    He has passed Kubica outside the track: give position back !

    1. Yeah, in Valencia Alonso was furious with the stewards taking so long time to make a decision, today his race was not ruined by Penalty + SC, but by him failing to make the decision to let Kubica past straight away.

      1. Everyone at home knew it was going to result in a penalty why didn’t Ferrari. Surely someone should have told Fernando to let Kubica back through, we all knew EXACTLY what was going to happen.

    2. the stewards acted way too late. how many laps did it take them to agree that ALO should give back the place? was it 3? they should have made a decision after at most 1 lap.

      1. Fernando should have made the decision straight away, to a) not make any trouble for himself and b)to stay with him trough the new section and have a go at him into Brooklands.

        1. to stay with him trough the new section and have a go at him into Brooklands.

          Given what happened to Hamilton at Spa two years ago I think it’s safe to assume that wouldn’t have been allowed.

          1. keith, i am thinking the title of your article is not quite correct. “Alonso’s bad start “again” ruined his race”, not giving back the position, it’s something the team must look into, and look to see who is responsible. Alonso, stella even domenicalli. What a sorry shadow of the team once was.

          2. Thats why I didn’t say – to overtake in the twisty section. After the Spa indecent the rule was clarified that you can’t overtake for two corners after letting driver past. Is that correct? If it is as I thought before then, if Alonso had done what Hamilton did and let him past straight away and held onto him for the fast 11 and the twisty stuff, then that would have been more than two corners going into Brooklands, wouldn’t it?

          3. miguelF1O (@)
            11th July 2010, 18:45

            can i quote fernando on a message?

            “I think we did what we had to do and I don’t think we had to change anything,” Alonso told Spanish reporters after finishing outside of the points at Silverstone.

            “There will be a lot of opinions from people watching on TV while having a beer, saying we should have let Kubica by in a moment when, first, there was nothing to do – if there’d had been a wall instead of grass I would have crashed against it and they would have penalised Kubica most likely.

            “So it depends on how you look at it. We thought it was fine. A few laps passed and there were no news and then if we had wanted to let him by, Kubica had retired already so there was nothing to change.”

            The Spaniard insisted he did not feel unfavoured by the race stewards, just two weeks after the European Grand Prix controversy.”

          4. mateuss: No, it’s not 2 corners. It is ‘you can’t gain advantage by cutting the track’ if cutting the track allows you to get a run on someone a la Hamilton then you’ve gained advantage. If cutting the track allows you to pass, as it did with Alonso you get a penalty. If you hold a place by cutting the track you get a penalty. If you set a new quick sector, you’ve gained advantage and you get a penalty.

            The only time you don’t get a penalty, is if you voluntarily give back the advantage you gained. Being ordered to give back a place by the stewards, isn’t so much an order as it is a threat – you’ve gained advantage, and you’re about to get a penalty unless you voluntarily give the place back.

            Also, 3 laps is about 5 to 6 minutes. I’d say that’s not too slow a turn-around time. Any quicker than that and you risk making the wrong decision.

          5. @Daniel
            But if you are side by side one corner and three corners later you are side by side again then the net advantage is 0. But even still if the stewards wouldn’t have liked it then he still could have let him by and have another go.

          6. @mateuss: Failing to lose time when you would have done had you stayed on track is also considered gaining an advantage.

    3. miguelF1O (@)
      11th July 2010, 18:29

      alonso should have yield immediately but on the other side when fia took their decision some 5 laps after (not very late) alonso didint had the chance to get behind kub cause some miles further kub started running slow to retiremet so this is a case of harsher rules which i agree but this referee has no compensation on valencia the team who was hurt was the only one who didnt made a mistake and they rectified the rules to make another mistake penalise ferrari again ferrari should have acknowledge that fia is a bit bias a bit earlier now they are paying consequence for some comments again really professional martin brundle transmiting always the right comments on the opposite im getting mad with leggard that shouldnt be an f1 commentator

      1. miguelF1O (@)
        11th July 2010, 18:35

        how can i let kubica pass me back if he is dnf ? it is simple if kubica was still on track and alonso ignored the decision the righteous thing to do is drive through of course but that wasnt the case like brundle said how can alonso get behind someone who is out at that point everyone thought ferrari got lucky that kub had a problem but no that wasn even worse if this was an referre he would be light to ferrari because they clearly made on of the worse mistakes on this last 20 years compensation

        1. Kubica left a lap later, you have to give the place back immediately.

      2. Maybe Miguel, the sensible answer for’lonso, would have been to hit the brake pedal, and ease out of that corner confrontation with Kubica, and use the momentum for the next sequence of corners, as a racing driver he knows this, and he took the decision to try, and force the issue, and……

    4. maestrointhesky
      11th July 2010, 23:04

      There should have been no debate. Rather than massaging Alonso’s over inflated ego, his team should have ordered him to give the place back. If Alonso had any sense, he would have done it himself. They were effectively trying it on to see what they could get away with. It’s not a good situation to be unable to communicate with your driver (referring to the ‘no more radio’ comment). His attitude is definitely showing as his main weakness at the moment.

      1. Exactly. They took a gamble and thought they’d argue the point while Alonso made a nice gap, hoping it would work out in their favour.

        Unlucky for them Kubica retired which meant the penalty they were thinking might appear turned into a bigger one.

        Even more unlucky was the timing of the safety car (ironically caused by a Ferrari engined Sauber).

        So many times in the past Ferrari were given the benefit of the doubt (such as Silverstone ’98) I doubt many non-Ferrari fans have that much sympathy.

        It was very similar to Spa ’07 (driver cutting a corner to avoid a collision) and even then, despite sort of giving the position back, Lewis still got a penalty so it was always going to be likely that the outcome was going to be either let Kubica through or some other time penalty.

        They took a gamble but it didn’t work out. Live with it and move on. The end.

  2. He had to imediately hand the position back to Kubica, though, penalty is a lttle bit too harsh. Alonso should blame only himself.

    1. I agree, I am usually the first to attack Alonso, but I feel sorry for the guy here.
      The Penalty was fair, as he should have given the place back straight away, but still it wasn’t a light penalty. and In the heat of the moment, I doubt he wanted to go back bechind Kubica, and possibly be stuck there for another 20 laps.

  3. Definately the right decision, though leave it to Ferrari to make martyrs of themselves. Alonso has no-one to blame but himself for the situation. The golden rule for this kind of thing is that when in doubt, there is no doubt. Jumping on the radio to send a message to the viewers and the stewards to make yourself look innocent does nothing.

    1. I think thats a bit harsh, but you have to admit bad decisions and plenty of bad luck was what ruined his race.

  4. To be safe, Alonso should have given it back immediately like Massa in 08 at Monza with Rosberg. However, Alonso is desperate for points at the minute, he isn’t the calmest driver so I can forgive him for trying to argue his point. Ferrari should have told him to be safe rather than sorry as they have to be the driver’s brain in racing as a driver is so focussed. Alonso clearly asked immediately what to do and they were talking for so long that Kubica retired and there was no choice. Alonso is partly to blame and he could have taken the easier route but the stewards have prooved yet again to be too slow to make the decision although they were caught short with the Renault troubles.

    It’s another case of circumstances conspiring against Ferrari but them not making life any easier for themselves.

    I do find it ironic though that Alonso wanted quicker decisions from the stewards and then his deliberation and Ferrari’s cost him everything today.

    1. I think your completely right in your assesment here Steph. Alonso should have let Kubica by, or Ferrari should have told him to do so.

      I also think they could have gone straight into the pits, as the penalty was shown quite a while before the team informed Alonso. They might have gone in immediately and Alonso would be at the end of the top 10. Then the SC could have given him a chance to fight back towards Hülkenberg, Schumi and Sutil at least, maybe even on the back of Rubens and Button.

      But i am glad Ferrari is not making such a fuss about it. And i actually liked Alonso stating, that it’s how penalties should be served. Make them really punishing! Great remarks, shows he is not giving up.

  5. “there are referees in every sport and you have to respect their position, wrong or right.”

    Decent attitude, and its probably best for the team to let this one go, regroup for Hockenheim and start getting Fernando back into this title race.

    1. Agree that was good from Luca. Alonso seems to say much the same. He’s had his sulk and now he’s accepted it. I like that way, I know many think he moans etc but personally I like that style (not the whingeing but the passion).

      As for the title, they need a miracle. It can happen.

      1. *notes which Luca said it*

        Again, what Alonso did was natural for him, maybe a bit dumb, but he didn’t do something horrendously bad.

        On the other hand, Where’s Monty in Ferrari’s backtrack on their allegations? …
        not in attendance?

    2. @David A

      I agree that it is how teams should react if feeling hard done by. However I am gobsmacked that they feel hard done by. Alonso gained a clear advantage by cutting a corner and made not immediate attempt to hand the position back. I did not see Ferrari complaining when Hamilton was given a points deduction a few years ago in spa when Kimi held his line forcing hamilton off track and then handing the position straight back! In fact I seem to remember them asking for tough penalties to be handed to him! Ferrari seem to have very selective memories. I think the drive through is a little harsh but what else could they do once Kubica was no longer in the race? If Alonso had given the position straight back he would not have got the penalty.

  6. chaostheory
    11th July 2010, 16:01

    You could think Alonso is more mature driver after all those years behind the wheel; so all he needed to do is think and give back the position, a position he would take back even if Kubica would stay in the race (the Renault was way too slow for top 5 today).
    But Alonso decision not to give the position back immediately is one thing, the time it took the stewards to decide what to do is -again- disgraceful. It was as straightforward as it could be in F1 – the guy overtook the other by going off track – what there is to think about for soooo long?

  7. hAHA. This is getting real interesting. I thought that is what Ferrari made a big noise of the race before, ? something like Manipulated race?

    So this race, they come and say, again another manipulated race? haha.Ferrari might as well say any race not won by them are manipulated by other teams, and the one they win (Bahrain), are manipulated by they themselves.

    1. But they haven’t said that the race was fixed or manipulated or whatever like last week. This time they’ve stated that they respect the decisions from the stewards.

  8. Instead of asking the team over the radio to handle that with the stewards, had he given the position back to kubica on the straight following Club he could avoided all that trouble.

    1. I agree, he should have acted himself. It was stupid to wait for a decision, given how quickly he pulled away from Kubica. Maybe Robert’s car was already sick by then.

  9. missing kimi already… alonso has made too many mistakes so far this year!! that car deserves much better..

  10. Same thing happened to Hamilton in spa 2008. Raikonnen crashes out. Still gets penalty. Fair play FIA

    1. Forgot to say but the decision for Hamilton at spa was harsh but good consistency by the FIA

    2. Good point Oli, gooooood point…

    3. You’re right, but Hamilton’s penalty was wrong and completely disproportionate to the advantage gained, as with Alonso today

      1. If I remeber correctly, Lewis gave the position back to Kimi…

      2. Remember, Hamilton even gave the position back, but was still penalised – for the 2 corner rule that was not even in existence at the race. It was clarified for the next race!

        1. There is no 2 corner rule! Hamilton gained an advantage by cutting the track, letting Kimi back past just enough so he could slip stream him down the straight is still an advantage. That was the point.

          1. Daniel – Yes, there was no 2 corner rule at Spa. It was clarified for the next race – so in essence, he was punished for a rule that was not in existence.
            Remember, the rule initially only specified that the driver deemed to have an advantage by cutting the corner should give the place back – which LH did. The rule did not initially specify when or how this should happen. Read the post properly

          2. He gave back the place he gained by cutting the track but didn’t give back all of the advantage he gained.

            It was obvious to me at the time that he was going to be penalised for this – I’d seen the exact same thing happen in another category of motorsport.

            The 2 corners thing isn’t really a rule. It is a clarification. What it says is that it should be obvious to you that if you cut a corner but still manage to get past another car within 2 corners then you haven’t redressed the situation properly.

            The rule was “You can’t gain advantage by cutting the track.” Advantage can be anything from gaining a position to not losing time you would have otherwise. Hamilton did gain an advantage, he was in a position to slip-stream Kimi that he couldn’t have been in if he’d followed the route of the track.

            Hamilton broke the “can’t gain advantage” rule that was in the book. The 2 corner clarification only came about because Hamilton didn’t understand what can’t gain advantage meant.

      3. What is all this talk of a penalty being disproportionate? You break the rules you get the penalty mandated by the rules. How much time you lose with respect to others shouldn’t come into it, unless what you did was the equivalent of a professional foul.

        Usually breaking the rules is a mistake. You break the rules you take the consequences, just like any other mistake. Going slightly off line is a minor mistake, but if there is a wall there then the consequences are disproportionate to the error – that’s racing. Same with corner cutting.

    4. maestrointhesky
      11th July 2010, 23:28

      You forget, Hamilton gave the position back but was still penalised in that instance! The rules had to be clarified after that and that’s how the ‘wait for 2 corner’s’ came to fruition. If they had to clarify the rule then the penalty should have not been administered in the race where the question was asked.

  11. No. Way too harsh, and now Ferrari must take it on the chin for fear of another backlash against wingeing. But are the rules to blame or the referees? No idea. With Kubica’s retirement they should have given Alonso a 5 sec time addition at the end of the race. That would have been fair and more than he gained.

    1. but we don’t want consistency we want fair and proportionate punishments that don’t ruin the race!

      1. Sounds like you just want want flexible rules that can benefit your man at their convenience… No.

        Write the rules down, break them and you accept your fate. Fernando broke the rules and paid his price.

        He’s been crashing, jumping starts, waving at other drivers, being generally anti-social all season. These are not the attributes of a champion. Sack him Ferrari, and count your chickens.

    2. That was exactly what i was thinking. A 5 second penalty would have been well balanced imo.

  12. F1 looks stupid again when they give out a penalty who’s impact was completely disporportionate to the crime. We saw it with Schumacher in Moncao and Hamilton in Belgium 2008. If the stewards had made a quick decision and got on the radio to Ferrari and told Alonso to immediately let Kubica back through they could have avoided this, instead like in Valencia they took ages deliberating about it and ended up giving him a penalty for harsher than the crime warrented.

    The stewards need to take decisions far faster in F1 and need to be given more flexibility in the penalties given, a drive through penalty is disproportionate in damage to the advantage gained by Alonso today or Hamilton a couple of years ago. Would it not have been better that they could have given Alonso a 5 second penalty after the race once Kubica had retired and he had no-one to give a place back to?

    But there’s another solution to the problem of drivers going off track simply use gravel to make sure they don’t gain an advantage by going off track.

    1. it’s not stewards job to tell driver to give the position back, that should have been done by his team… stewards will go by book…

    2. This is some poetic justice against Ferrari, but still not enough, for Spa 2008. Then Hamilton gave the position back and asked race control for confirmation that all was okay – which they got, remember? This time Alonso makes an even clearer overtake via the grassy bits and doesn’t return the position – but Ferrari want a quick race control decision! In their favour, obviously. Ferrari are getting stung now by their own presumption from the Max era that all the decisions go their way. They’re not learning. And losing valuable points because of it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

      1. “This is some poetic justice against Ferrari”

        The stewards made the decision in 08. Ferrari may have got the win but it was the stewards fault and two wrongs don’t make a right.

        1. I agree overall Steph, but my point is Ferrari need to reassess their attitudes to these decisions. Alonso clearly should have returned the position but he and Ferrari preferred the risk of arguing it with the stewards. They’re making the wrong calls. As you rightly said above, Alonso is too heated up to make them himself so the team needs to be more level-headed.

          1. I think the team should have reacted quicker to be safe but I can see why they argued; the idea of passing Kubica (a great defender who showed he wasn’t willing to give up) was too much given their championship hopes. I think Ferrari were partly responsible but the stewards should have said immediately “give it back or you’ll risk a penalty”.

            I know Ferrari’s attitude isn’t always the easiest to get along with and they can seem petulent so I understand when people complain and I can be a soft touch.

          2. I also think these issues should be sorted immediately by race control *if* the teams ask for clarification – but that was precisely what Spa 2008 ruled out! wrongly in my view. Even if Whiting etc. are ‘wrong’ sometimes, it’s like in a soccer match, you have to accept whose arbitrating might make an iffy call. This kind of incident – chicane cutting – is different from other decisions needing a stewards inquiry – but if unsure race control could then always then call for the stewards. The same could apply to teams if they disagree with race control too. It’d be a much better system I think.

        2. Alan Donnely = Ferrari

    3. Seems like no one talks about what exactly happend… Fernando would be infront if Kubica didnt push him out of the track… so in that case Kubica “manipulated” the race with risking hes own race by over pushing Alonso off the track… in my opinion punishemt isnt fair at all, and i dont want to speak again when the punishment came… much to late

      1. Pushing drivers off track is unfortunately legal. Kubica does it all the time.

      2. Im sorta with you on this. If you watch the replays you will see that Kubica didnt run wide through lack of traction he ran wide because he wanted to either push Alonso off circuit or get Alonso to plough on the brakes. It was ‘manipulated’ by Kubica, fair do’s but he cant be expected to not loose position pulling moves like that. Anyone can run someone off wide on an outside of a corner, its was very calculated. Alonso’s move was really good and if Kubica didnt run him off track Alonso would of definataly had the line into the right hander. Kubica aint stupid, he knew what he was doing by drifting wide.

    4. Totally agree. For example in Nascar it takes “seconds” or 1 minute to define a penalty. One more time a manipulated race and 2 in a row again Ferrari….we all know that kubica its not a clean driver (and one of the most ugly people in the paddock)…he cheats on Villeneuve and still crying on the radio to Alonso…. and whitting…well he must go to mosley…

      1. How did Kubica cheat on Villeneuve?

        1. off the track, “managment things” (He´s not the only one, for example, the same happened into Minardi with Mazzacane and Fontana, the first with large $$$$ behind, and Fontana one of the fasters drivers in that moment…but… you know what money can buy…. JV develpment the car and some mid-grid driver took the glory (I´m still too hangry for this morning race!!!)

      2. Kubica does WHAT?!

      3. @Pablo: Yeah, Kubica is an aggressive driver, and is known for his robust defense. You know who else is known for this kind of driving? All the best drivers, including Alonso, Hamilton and Schumacher. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! So he’s ugly, huh? That’s your argument? I’m actually pretty happy hearing rumors about Buemi joining Kubica in Renault next year. We would have two of the ugliest drivers in one team, and you know what? I bet they would kick butt ;) Renault’s development goes in the right direction and they can be very competitive next year.

    5. I agree totally with you

      1. It’s not a beauty contest Pablo.

  13. Jhonnie Siggie
    11th July 2010, 16:22

    I feel bad for him but he knew he did something wrong (re on his radio asking about it) so he should have given the place back straight away. The timing of the SC was unfortunate for him 2 races in a row now. However, he really should be cursing his luck or matter of fact try not to curse as much and just be positive. Maybe things will turn around for him soon.

    I think it is unfortunate however that some will try to make this about the rules and the FIA’s perceived bias. Again, the FIA dispensed punishment according to rule book.

  14. What are you saying??? This is not a sport any more. They should let the software drive…. Tragic decision! Am i only one who see it??

    1. Are you from ferrari? :-)

  15. “Their less vehement reaction to this setback compared to their fury after Valencia is perhaps a tacit admission that their driver could have avoided this penalty.”

    Keith, this is your speculation but nothing close to reality.

    Ferrari immediately asked stewards about Alonso’s move and they answered there was no problem and no need to give position back..

    but after 10 laps they changed ideas 2 times (give a position back to no one still racing and then a drive-through).. wonderful choices!

    I don’t know how Colajanni was translated in English but I can assure You there is no trace of “tacit admission”.

    Ferrari did all the errors it can in the start of the race.. the rest are wrong choices of stewards.

    1. Are you one of the steward’s? How’d you hear that? :-)

      1. I was going to say! If the stewards actually told ferrari there was no need to hand the place back, kubica retires and then they decide to give Alonso the penalty….well that’s very bad!

    2. reveal your sources…

      have you made them up?

      1. I haven’t made anything.
        This is what italian television said and it doesn’t matter if happened to Ferrari or to any other team/driver.

        Stewards decided the race.

        1. It doesn’t seem in the least plausible that Ferrari were told first that it was OK, but then later that it wasn’t – stewarding in F1 is far from perfect, but surely Ferrari would have protested if what you say really had happened. It doesn’t add up.

          1. So I wonder why the Anchor man said the false… looks strange to me.

            Teams are always in contact with the Stewards..

    3. Ferrari immediately asked stewards about Alonso’s move and they answered there was no problem and no need to give position back.

      I haven’t seen anything to back that claim up anywhere.

      I don’t know how Colajanni was translated in English

      It wasn’t, he spoke in English.