Fernando Alonso has received a time penalty after Haas protested his damaged Alpine car on technical grounds following the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Haas lodged a similar protest for Sergio Perez of Red Bull. The Mexican drove the whole race with a damaged front wing. The front-wing endplate of Perez’s car was hanging loosely during the race. It came off after a few laps but cleared the track. Haas protested because their driver Kevin Magnussen was shown black and orange flag on three occasions in previous races for similar reasons.
Why the FIA agreed with Haas?
The FIA passed a rule where a driver will be shown a black and orange flag if his car has mechanical issues. This applies to the scenario where a driver is running his car on the track with a loose body part that might tear off and scatter on the track. The debris may cause damage to the oncoming vehicle or driver.
The Incident of Alonso/Stroll crash
Fernando Alonso was involved in a colossal crash with Lance Stroll, where his car went airborne. Alonso managed to return to the pits to get repairs and went out again. He drove brilliantly from there and finished P7 behind Lando Norris. However, his right front mirror got loose during the race and was loosely hanging onto the car. In the closing stages, his front mirror separated from the body, falling onto the track. The fallen mirror didn’t cause any damage to other drivers’ cars, but Haas protested that the precedence set by FIA should be followed.
The FIA and the stewards agreed with the Haas F1 team. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer said that “a flapping mirror was dangerous and it could come loose and hit another driver causing injury,” making it unsafe. FIA technical chief Nikolas Tombazis supported his view. The Stewards gave Alonso a 10-second stop/go penalty after the race, later changing it into a 30-second time penalty, dropping the Spaniard to 15th. Sebastian Vettel moves up to P7, ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen who goes up to P8. Yuki Tsunoda took P9. Alonso’s Alpine team-mate, Esteban Ocon, moves into the points with P10.