Alonso hit with reprimand for ignoring blue flags in Suzuka lead battle

Getty Images
0 Comments

Fernando Alonso has been given a reprimand by the Formula 1 race stewards for ignoring blue flags during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Alonso enjoyed a run to 11th in the race for McLaren-Honda after starting last due to a power unit penalty, narrowly missing out on a point after falling short in a late battle with Felipe Massa.

Alonso chased Massa despite being tailed by the leading pair of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the final two laps, with his failure to move aside for the leading drivers piquing the interest of the stewards after the race.

The Spaniard was deemed to have failed to adhere to blue flags correctly and move aside at the earliest opportunity, playing a late role in the battle that ended with Hamilton taking his eighth F1 win of the year.

“Alonso was shown a solid blue indicator light o his dash and waved blue flags between Turn 14 and Turn 15 on Lap 51,” a report from the FIA stewards at Suzuka reads.

“”He also had received a flashing blue light informing him that race leader Lewis Hamilton was closing on him for over a lap before. Alonso let Hamilton pass during Lap 52 at Turn 11.

“The drivers have been told in drivers’ briefings that the provisions of the International Sporting Code, that they ‘must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity’ means that they should do this for lapping cars regardless of their current battle.

“Stewards concluded that Alonso did not do this. Alonso noted in the hearing that there was an opportunity to allow Hamilton to pass on the front straight, but not thereafter until Turn 11.

“The stewards accepted that there are limited safe places to let a car past between Turns 2 and 9 which contributed to the length of time it took to allow Hamilton past.

“In applying the penalty, the stewards compared this incident to other similar incidents and considered that while a breach, this was less severe than others and that when he did move over he gave plenty of room, and subsequently to Verstappen.

“The stewards therefore applied a reprimand (driving) and two penalty points.”

The penalty points are the first to be added to Alonso’s FIA Super Licence since 2015.

“We started 20th and we finished 11th, with a good recovery, with only one pit-stop, and starting on a used set of tires. That was a pretty huge effort from everyone on the team,” Alonso said after the race.

“After the penalty on Friday night, due to the engine change, I think we deserved that one point – we fought hard for it.

““It was an unlucky situation with Felipe towards the end of the race. He was struggling a lot with his tires when the Virtual Safety Car came out. That meant he could breathe a little bit during those laps.

“Then, in the last two laps, the leaders of the race caught up with us, and Felipe again missed out on an attack, and ultimately took the point for 10th place.

““We’ll try again in Austin. Hopefully with no penalties, and from our usual grid position, and with some better luck.”

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
0 Comments

Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.