Alpine’s Fernando Alonso has publicly asked for external help, particularly that of the FIA to avoid the gentleman’s agreement controversy faced during qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix, where he was forced to slow down on a flying lap.
In Austria, FIA Race Director Michael Masi clarified that it is sanctionable to unnecessarily slow down in Turns 9 and 10, while other drivers, such as Daniel Ricciardo and Nikita Mazepin have raised concerns over the gentleman’s agreement about slowing down before a flying lap.
Alonso has also called for more stringent enforcement of the rules as there still exists a slippery slope when it comes to the interpretation of the rules and the awarding of penalties.
“If it’s written that you cannot do one thing and you do it, then you get a penalty – so that is clear for everybody,” Alonso said. He has also suggested a system for preventing any incidents due to this reason, something he noticed in Baku.
“So basically, how you exit the pitlane in that position, you will end up starting the lap in that position because we all have the same delta time,” he explained. “So then there are no more tricks or no more overtaking you see in out laps or anything like that because we will have to respect the same delta. Maybe that’s another system that can help us for sure.”
However, Alonso has expressed that he understands the team’s perspective and that drivers will want to be as competitive as possible. He has also said that it is precisely why there exists a need for external help, through the FIA.
“Because the teams, they deal with tire performance, with battery performance, with everything that is on the competitive side,” Alonso commented. “But on the safety side, and on the regulation side, we cannot put everything on the team’s table, because they are always looking about competitiveness. So maybe we need help from the FIA.”
Alonso was not the only one with something to say regarding the gentleman’s agreement in Austria as Ricciardo commented on the controversy, saying that it was partly down to the nature of the short lap itself.
“There were some who would overtake like around Turn 9, and, let’s say, get track position, and I think by then, it’s just a bit of a code that once you kind of at that point, you shouldn’t,” said Ricciardo.
“But I think it was clear what we needed to do I guess what I’m talking about, it’s probably a bit of a separate thing.”
Haas’ Mazepin has also commented on the matter, calling out how big drivers get away with such behavior scot-free. Mazepin was criticized earlier in the season for breaking the gentleman’s agreement in qualifying.
“F1 is a very double-faced world. If you’ve got a big name with loads of championships under your belt, your actions are less criticized than if you don’t,” Mazepin added. “And what I’ve seen happen in Q2 is the exact opposite. Every driver is a human, they can get caught out and they’ve been caught out.
“Everyone just needs to apply the same rules to each other, and then it will be a happy place,” he concluded.