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F1 owes Alonso a debt of gratitude

NEWS STORY
21/03/2016

The day after the season opener and F1 is back on the front pages, and while some of the coverage refers to Nico Rosberg's win and Ferrari's strategic error, it is the crash involving Fernando Alonso that dominates.

Even the broadsheets join the tabloids in their coverage of the incident with headlines proclaiming "horror", "smash" "escapes death" and "200 mph".

Of course, the Spaniard has thoughtfully provided much of the script, admitting that he was "lucky" to escape unhurt, that his life flashed before him and that his first thought afterwards was of his Mum who would have seen the crash on TV and feared the worst.

However, imagine if the accident hadn't happened.

If the sport had made it on to the front pages today it wouldn't have been in relation to Alonso scoring a couple of points for McLaren, Haas' fairy-tale debut, the petulance of Max Verstappen, the "fire in the airbox (disco?) of Kimi Raikkonen or even Arnie's return... as promised.

Instead, the media would have been rightly mocking the decision to drop its controversial new qualifying format after just one race.

After all, Sunday's headlines looked a lot more negative for the sport, with words like "farcical", "anti-climactic" and "rubbish" leading the way.

It wasn't just the high paid technical gurus who had, according to the likes of Lewis Hamilton, predicted that it was the wrong way to go, on message boards and forums fans knew the sport was making a mistake, pointing out what would go wrong in various scenarios.

Low and behold, within hours, following a call from Bernie, the team bosses agreed unanimously to return to the old format, not a single voice of dissent. "They wouldn’t have dared," Toto Wolff is quoted as admitting.

However, qualifying wasn't the only volte-face from the sport's powers-that-be over the weekend. Almost unnoticed the rules on radio communications were eased, with some predicting they will be made even less severe in the coming months.

Then there was a U-turn on the late introduction of a rule which prohibited drivers from throwing their rip-offs on to the track, presumably they were to either leave them in place on their visors or put them in the relevant receptacle… next to the cup holder.

While drivers were running wide and spinning, the powers-that-be were performing an equally impressive number desperate of U-turns.

Thankfully however, Fernando clashed with Esteban Gutierrez and gave the mainstream media what it really craves from the sport...

Meanwhile, as we ponder the farce that was qualifying, one wonders who the hell is steering the good ship F1 at present... and where they are taking it.

Fernando was indeed lucky at the weekend... but so was Formula One.

Picture Credit: Fernando Alonso Instagram

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by lethalnz, 24/03/2016 11:00

"when Berne forced the teams into a corner of agreeing reverse grid or ballast added to the front running cars for winning,
how would you have reacted then?
can you imagine back to front grids?
or 10kg added to each winning car?
at least we ended up without any of those stupid ideas,
now Bernie is trying to keep what we dont like for a bit longer with maybe Q3 in the old format, might work.
Bernie is over the hill...
"

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2. Posted by wmcot54, 24/03/2016 4:39

"Is it just me or does Fernando look a bit like Peter Sellers from the Pink Panther series?"

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3. Posted by Rory, 22/03/2016 12:31

"The Good Ship F1 is being piloted by the manufacturers ... and thats the problem. Bring back the Max and Bernie Show! "

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4. Posted by Editor, 22/03/2016 8:16

"@gturner38

I think you are being more than a little disingenuous here.

We never said the visor u-turn or radio rules relaxation would be headline grabbers, we were merely making the point that the weekend saw a number of ‘climb downs’ from the powers that be.

The headline grabber as such was the qualifying fiasco, which was the main talking point later Saturday and on Sunday.

For a sport to force through such a regulation change with so little forethought and then abandon it after just one trial is unprecedented and would deservedly put the sport on the front pages for all the wrong reasons – indeed, it already had."

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5. Posted by Darvi, 22/03/2016 7:24

"Indeed, is anyone steering the ship and have they noticed that it's heading for the rocks? Pitpass' readers had spotted that the Qually rules were a stupid idea, if we can see this, how come the "experts" cannot? At the same time we will have brand new rules in 2017 (not far away now) and the smaller teams will face a massive investment to get prepared for them. Every step at the moment is heading the wrong way, there is no long term plan and no-one in control."

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6. Posted by gturner38, 21/03/2016 22:32

"Honestly, I don't think the easing of the radio rules and the tear off rule would have got more than a couple lines of print. I think I follow the sport a lot closer than most and I didn't even know they were going to ban throwing tear offs on the track until I heard they were reversing it. It was a non-issue. The radio issue got a little more play, but realistically was it going to be more of a focus than the on track action, which was actually an entertaining race?"

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7. Posted by Yeyox02, 21/03/2016 21:04

"In other words FIA and F1 should thank Fernando for giving them a smoke curtain to hide the farce of qualifying."

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8. Posted by koko, 21/03/2016 16:46

"I heard that qualifying session will be converted into some kind of lottery to choose the team to crash during the race day. The decision of which driver to crash will be taken by the other teams. Just to add some thrill ... ;-)"

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9. Posted by Will Fly, 21/03/2016 13:39

"Had Alonso's car been fitted with a "halo" device, would he have been able to get out of the car unaided or would have he been trapped, had the car then caught fire the outcome could have been very bad. The Halo designers and rule makers need to consider such a crash."

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