Alonso lost seventh place and all six points from the United States GP after a protest from Haas that the FIA accepted hours after the race. The North American team pointed out that the Spanish car was in dangerous conditions due to going for many laps with the right rear-view mirror loose, which finally ended up losing it and keeping only one mirror.
Haas also protested Checo Pérez’s Red Bull, which ran for six laps with a damaged endplate that also ended up flying.
Haas’s protests stemmed from frustration that they lost points when Kevin Magnussen was black-and-orange flagged in three races, all due to endplate damage.
The stewards rejected the protest about Sergio Pérez, but Fernando Alonso was stripped of his seventh place with a stop and go resulting in a 30-second penalty. Alpine then protested the decision on the grounds that Haas’ protest was filed late.
In fact, it came because race director Niels Wittich had mistakenly told Haas that he had one hour to lodge a protest, when the real limit was 30 minutes.
On Thursday, the FIA deemed Alpine’s protest inadmissible and rejected the appeal, but Alpine responded with a right of review request.
It was accepted, and late in the evening it was finally decided to accept Alpine’s appeal, and Alonso’s penalty was overturned and the original results reinstated.
Asked if the team had achieved the result it deserved, Otmar Szafnauer said there was a bigger picture.
“I think we got the result that F1 deserved,” he told Motorsport.com.
“I think justice prevailed, although obviously I am not objective, because I am in favor of this team and I wanted to see it seventh.”
“But the protest was filed out of time, and should never have been heard. And that was our argument. And I think the FIA recognized that and made the right decision.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal de Alpine F1
Szafnauer agreed that there were some gray areas in the whole process: “There are definitely some anomalies. And I think in the end, when we took our time to look at all the rules, and how they apply, the right decision was made. “.
The FIA has confirmed that its president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem , has pushed for a review of the use of the black and orange flags to force injured drivers to pit.
Szafnauer acknowledged there was a problem, but suggested Sergio Perez’s situation in Austin was closer to the problems Haas has suffered this year.
“Well, I think it should be better defined, so that the FIA’s decisions are more consistent. And it really isn’t, in our opinion.”
“I think the comparison is more of front wing endplate to front wing endplate . Sergio had the front wing endplate come off and the black and orange flag was not shown. I think that already happened to Haas.
“So there are some inconsistencies there. But what we have to do is learn from them, and in the future, start to be more consistent, so everybody knows what to expect.”
Szafnauer downplayed the idea that cars with mirror damage or missing mirrors should see the black and orange flag.
“All those things we have to define. I mean, me personally, I’ve done 55 single-seater races, and I’ve done some without mirrors, or with just one mirror. And I don’t think it’s much more dangerous.
“You often use your mirrors to position your car so that the guy behind you can’t overtake you. And if you only have one mirror to do it with, you’re a little more cautious.”
“So having only one mirror is not necessarily that much more dangerous. But what I mean is that we have to define what that danger is.”