High-ranking Spanish F1 official outraged over Alonso’s penalty

In the wake of Fernando Alonso’s contentious penalty at the Australian Grand Prix, a significant figure in Spanish motorsport, Joaquin Verdegay, vice president of Spain’s motor racing authority RFEdA, has vocally criticized the decision. The penalty, a topic of heated debate, followed an incident where some believed Alonso had executed a dangerous ‘brake test’ on George Russell, causing a severe crash. Yet, this interpretation has not gone uncontested, with several insiders condemning the FIA stewards’ decision, including criticism aimed directly at former F1 driver Johnny Herbert.

Verdegay expressed particular concern over Herbert’s involvement in the decision-making process as FIA steward in Melbourne, given his known disagreements with Alonso. “That Herbert decides something that harms Alonso seems somewhat reprehensible to me,” Verdegay told Soy Motor, highlighting the strained personal relationship between Herbert and Alonso as a potential conflict of interest.

Aston Martin team boss, Mike Krack, also stepped into the fray with a rare media statement, lamenting the penalty against Alonso as “a bitter pill to swallow,” especially considering there was no physical contact between the cars. Krack pointed out the team’s inability to contest the decision without new evidence.

Verdegay further criticized the inconsistency in F1’s penalizing decisions, arguing that similar incidents frequently receive vastly different treatments. He contends that the penalizing system appears arbitrary, questioning the fairness and proportionality of the sanctions imposed, especially in Alonso’s case, which he views as “unfair and disproportionate.”

The former and occasional F1 steward brought historical perspective to the debate by referencing an incident from the 2001 Melbourne Grand Prix involving Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, which he describes as “the worst brake test ever done.” That event tragically resulted in an official’s death due to a tire impact. Verdegay used this example to emphasize the gravity of a true ‘brake test’ and to argue that what occurred with Alonso did not fit this dangerous description. “A brake test can cause people to die, and what happened with Alonso was not a brake test,” he asserted, underlining the need for careful judgment in such serious matters.


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