Ferrari reveal details of Silverstone radio conversation
Ferrari have released details of their radio conversation with FIA race director Charlie Whiting at the British Grand Prix over Fernando Alonso’s penalty.
Whiting went public earlier this week after accusations by Ferrari that race officials again took too long to hand out a penalty after Alonso illegally overtook Robert Kubica by cutting a corner.
Alonso failed to give the place back to Kubica straight away, as is the norm when a driver gains an advantage by cutting a corner, and went on to overtake Jaime Alguersuari, while Kubica suffered problems and was overtaken by Rubens Barrichello.
Whiting told an Italian magazine that he had advised Ferrari immediately that they should cede the place, but it was only nine laps later that Alonso received a drive through penalty, and then the safety car came out as marshals cleared up debris from Pedro de la Rosa’s car.
Ferrari’s sporting director Massimo Rivola has released minute-by-minute details of the conversation taken from a recording of the pit wall radio in another effort to show exactly how the FIA punished them unfairly, in their opinion.
At 13:31:05 Alonso takes Kubica at Club and after Rivola immediately calls Whiting, who replies after 11 seconds. Rivola asks the race director, “Have you seen the pass? In our opinion there was no room to overtake.”
26 seconds after the move, Whiting asks to be given time to watch TV footage.
At 13:33, a second radio call is made by Ferrari – almost two minutes after the pass. Alonso has gone on to complete another lap plus one sector, closing in on Nico Rosberg and Alguersuari, while Kubica drops further back towards Barrichello.
Whiting tells Ferrari that the stewards believe Alonso could give the position back. Rivola then asks Whiting, “Is this the decision?”
He replies, “No, but that’s how we see it.”
Rivola then informs the team as Rosberg overtakes Alguersuari. Kubica drops further back, and Alonso overtakes Alguersuari at Maggots.
At 13:33:22 Ferrari then make a third radio call to Whiting to say Alonso “would have to concede two positions now.”
As they discuss the incident Kubica is overtaken by Barrichello meaning Alonso would have to give up three positions to give back the place.
Whiting tells Rivola: “We have given you the chance to do it or not. Things being this way, the stewards will hear the drivers at the end of the race, but I understand your position.”
At 13:35:30 Kubica retires from the race so Alonso can no longer give the position back.
Ten minutes later, at 13:45:31, the stewards investigate the incident. The F1 computers display “car number eight under investigation”, almost 15 minutes after the move was made.
Just 55 seconds later, at 13:46:26, the stewards hand Alonso a drive-through penalty.
The fact remains that Ferrari and Alonso should have ceded the place immediately. Given the relative pace of Alonso to Alguersuari and Rosberg, and how far Barrichello was behind immediately after the move, it would have been possible for him to give the place back and then make a legitimate move on Kubica whilst still be able to overtake Alguersauri and possibly Rosberg.
What we really need to clear up the situation relating to F1 rules and penalties, and more importantly to maintain fairness and the integrity of the sport and its officials, is to confirm how long should it take for the stewards to look at footage of an incident after it has happened, and how long it should take for them to hand out a penalty even if the decision is to review the incident post-race.
So often we see that in some circumstances that drivers can pull out a lead of over a second a lap during a race because of the speed of the cars.
When race-changing decisions are being made, they should be made fairly, but also in a timely manner as the more laps completed during consideration, the bigger a lead can become, and as with Hamilton in Valencia, the less effective the penalty becomes.