Steiner calls for greater clarity on defending after Alonso penalty

Formula 1 needs to be more clear about what is and isn’t an acceptable level of defensive driving in the wake of Fernando Alonso’s penalty at the Australian Grand Prix, according to Guenther Steiner.

Alonso was given a retrospective drive-through penalty — converted into 20 seconds of race time — for driving in a “potentially dangerous” manner when slowing ahead of George Russell on the approach to Turn 6 late in Sunday’s race. The decision has sparked debate on what counts as skillful defense and when it crosses a line, but speaking after being announced as a new Miami Grand Prix ambassador, former Haas team principal Steiner says clarity is the most important outcome.

“I haven’t seen the data, I just read what you’ve all read, that he was on the brakes and tapping the brakes and things like this,” Steiner said. “I think we are at the point now where, we had it with Kevin [Magnussen] where he was defending in Saudi Arabia, now Fernando defending the position…


“I actually was with Checo [Perez] on the plane back from Melbourne and we had a quick chat about it, and we came to the conclusion that fighting this hard for P6 is a little bit overdoing it. I mean, I know that everybody needs the points, but it’s like, ‘Wow.’ I think we are at the limit.

“But also, the stewards’s verdict — you are wrong but you are right — it wasn’t very clear to me. ‘You get the penalty but we don’t know if you should get the penalty.’ It’s like, ‘I give you the penalty but I’m not sure if you’ve done wrong.’ So I think it needs to be a clearer stance, and it needs to be the same for everyone as well.

“I think we were on the limit there — if not over the limit.”

Aston Martin has opted against appealing the penalty given to Alonso — despite it costing the team two points overall — citing a lack of new evidence that would allow it to request a right of review.

Story originally appeared on Racer