Fernando Alonso made a great comeback that took him from the bottom of the peloton to the points zone (seventh position) after his accident with Lance Stroll at the Circuit of the Americas this past Sunday.
However, the Spaniard was handed a 30 second penalty after the race which dropped him to 15th due to a protest from Haas that the Asturian driver’s Alpine was not running safely due to his right mirror it moved, and finally it ended up detaching from the car.
FIA stewards and technical staff agreed his car was unsafe, but Alpine have issued a statement confirming they will protest the penalty .
The Enstone team said it “was acted fairly and the car was considered to remain structurally safe” following Alonso’s accident with Stroll which caused the movement and subsequent loss of the Spaniard’s A522’s right mirror.
“The FIA is within its rights to black and orange flag a car during the race if it deems it unsafe and, on this occasion, has assessed the car and decided not to act,” the team said.
“Also, after the race, the FIA technical delegate considered the car legal.
Stewards acknowledged at Sunday’s hearing in Austin that the black and orange flag had not been used, but said they were “deeply concerned” that race director Niels Wittich had not taken any action.
Haas F1 Team Principal Peter Crolla contacted Race Direction twice to report that Alonso’s mirror was loose, and was told the situation was being looked into, but nothing came of it.
Alpine also alleged in its statement that “because the protest was filed 24 minutes after the specified deadline , it should not have been accepted and therefore the penalty should be considered invalid.”
“As a result of this, the team has protested the admission of the Haas F1 Team protest, ” added the statement from the French structure.
Although the FIA decision noted that Haas had made his protest 24 minutes after the deadline for it, the stewards “determined that meeting the deadline was not possible in this case”, so they accepted it anyway.
Should the stewards accept Alpine’s protest, a further hearing is likely to take place before next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.