Motor racing-Alpine protest after Alonso drops points in USA
Adds Alpine Protest
AUSTIN, Texas, October 23 (Reuters) – Alpine’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso lost seventh place in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday after stewards upheld a protest from Formula One rival Haas over the safety of his car.
Renault-owned Alpine, which is battling McLaren for fourth place in the constructors’ championship with prize money on the line, responded by protesting the admissibility of Haas’ protest.
Haas, who is eighth and just two points clear of AlphaTauri, had come up after the race against Alonso and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who finished fourth, being cleared to continue racing at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas with loose bodywork.
Stewards dismissed the protest against Red Bull but upheld the protest against Alpine, leaving Alonso 15th with a 30-second penalty after the race.
Haas had argued that Alonso’s car was in a dangerous condition after a collision because the right rearview mirror, which eventually fell off, was moving.
Thy also pointed out that they had been shown a black and orange flag, forcing a driver to pit due to mechanical issues or loose bodywork, on three occasions this season.
“A car must be in safe condition throughout a race, and in this case car 14 (Alonso) was not,” the stewards said in their decision. “It’s a responsibility of the Alpine team.”
Alpine said Haas lodged its protest 24 minutes after the specified deadline, a fact acknowledged by the FIA which said compliance was not possible and should not have been accepted.
“Therefore, the penalty should be considered invalid,” the team said in a statement. “Because of this point, the team protested the admissibility of the original complaint from the Haas F1 team.
Alpine would have scored six points for Alonso’s seventh place but was left with just one point for Esteban Ocon who was pushed back to 10th.
Without Alonso’s points, Alpine is just six points ahead of McLaren with three races to go.
The Spaniard’s demotion meant Danish Haas driver Kevin Magnussen moved from ninth to eighth, doubling his points from the race and sending the team two points clear of AlphaTauri.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford, Robert Birsel)
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