Alonso’s Australia Maneuvers Won’t Affect F1 Future

Fernando Alonso’s performance at the Australian Grand Prix has stirred speculation about its potential impact on his future with Mercedes. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok, however, remains unconvinced that Alonso’s tactics will deter other teams from considering him for the 2025 season.

During the race, Alonso incurred a 20-second time penalty from the stewards due to what was deemed “an unusual manoeuvre.” The incident unfolded at Turn 6, where Alonso significantly lifted off, affecting George Russell’s approach to the corner.

Russell, navigating behind Alonso’s Aston Martin, found himself hindered by the turbulent air, leading to a collision that saw the Mercedes driver crash out.

Although there was no direct contact between Alonso and Russell, nor any evasive action taken by Russell, the stewards labeled the situation as “potentially dangerous.”

Consequently, Alonso received a drive-through penalty, which was converted into a 20-second time penalty, causing him to drop from sixth to eighth place.

In the aftermath of the incident, Alonso maintained his innocence, while Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack fervently defended his driver in a passionate statement. Chandhok dismissed any notions that Alonso’s actions in Australia might adversely affect his prospects of securing a seat with other teams.

Chandhok’s stance suggests that despite the controversy surrounding Alonso’s tactics, his reputation and skill set remain intact in the eyes of potential suitors.

As the Formula 1 landscape continues to evolve, Alonso’s future remains an intriguing topic of discussion, with his talent often outweighing occasional controversies on the track.

“No, I don’t think so. Fernando is a ruthless, brilliant and smart competitor,” Chandhok penned.

“Alonso is a tough competitor who has a sort of win-at-all-costs approach. And I guess any team who signs him up is signing him up for that. So I don’t think it has any impact on the future.

“I think whatever happens the future, will be a decision independent of this incident in Melbourne. I don’t think a single incident like this will make a team sign or not sign a driver.”

The decision to penalize Alonso sparked considerable debate, with questions raised about the necessity of the penalty considering there was no direct contact with Russell. Moreover, comparisons were drawn to similar tactics employed by other drivers in previous races.

Chandhok expressed the view that it was the unpredictable nature of Alonso’s actions that led to the penalty being imposed.

“There’s a way to drive tactically, and there’s a way that goes slightly beyond what is being judged as fair, and in this instance, it feels like that was the case,” he further added.

“If I look at Alonso’s example of Imola 2005 that he cited, that was brilliant tactical driving by him, positioning the car in the right place at the right time, slowing the corner entry to get a better exit. But it was done in a predictable manner, and I think that is the keyword here, predictable.

“A lot of people have referenced Kevin Magnussen’s driving in Jeddah, questioning how it was okay for him to intentionally slow down the field there, but Alonso got done for the move in Melbourne. There was a predictability in what Magnussen was doing.

“He was driving in a tactical way, slowing down mid-corner in long radius corners where there was only one line, so nobody had the opportunity to overtake him. But it was done in a way that the cars behind knew what he was doing.

“In Fernando’s case, looking at some of the GPS data as well, what’s quite clear is, in contrast to his own driving in the previous few laps, he seemed to back off and brake significantly earlier on this lap and then accelerated and braked again. And that’s where the unpredictability came in for George.

“I think any driver on the planet would have obviously tried to brake early to get a good exit, I think where this perhaps crossed the line is it was so much earlier, so much so that he in fact had to speed up again.”