F1 owes Alonso a debt of gratitude


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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Published: 21/03/2016
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