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Alonso loses F1 points finish with penalty as Haas protest succeeds

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.

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Alonso finished seventh at the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday despite being involved in a big crash with Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll that saw his car briefly go airborne.

Alonso returned to the pits slowly after the incident, but was able to continue after Alpine fitted a new front wing and fresh tyres. His right rear view mirror was visibly loose, before then falling off his car in the closing stages of the race.

Haas argued that Alonso’s car was unsafe due to the loose and then missing right-hand mirror, something that was agreed with by the stewards and the FIA’s technical staff.

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. His view was supported by FIA technical chief Nikolas Tombazis.

The decision was taken to give Alonso a 10-second stop/go penalty after the race, which was converted into a 30-second time penalty, dropping the Spaniard to 15th.

Sebastian Vettel moves up to seventh, ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen who goes up to eighth, with Yuki Tsunoda taking ninth. Alonso’s Alpine team-mate, Esteban Ocon, moves into the points with 10th.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

It emerged in the hearing that Haas contacted race control twice during the race about Alonso’s loose mirror, and was told that it was being looked into, only for no action to be taken.

The stewards said in the ruling they were “deeply concerned that Car 14 was not given the black and orange flag, or at least a radio call to rectify the situation, despite the two calls to Race Control by the Haas team.”

They also rejected Alpine’s argument that examples from Suzuka in 2019 where two cars drove with loose mirrors could be considered precedents, and said it was entirely Alpine’s responsibility to ensure the car was being run in a safe manner.

Haas also lodged a protest against Sergio Perez’s Red Bull car, but this was thrown out, meaning the Mexican keeps fourth place.

Haas argued that Perez’s car was unsafe due to the loose front wing endplate, but it emerged Red Bull had contacted Bauer with a picture of the front wing after the incident, and Bauer was satisfied that it was safe to keep running. This was echoed by Tombazis during the hearing.

Haas lodged the protests after taking issue with the stewards’ decision to throw a black and orange flag against its cars for loose front wing endplates on three occasions this season.

Magnussen said the lack of a black and orange flag for Perez’s loose front wing endplate following contact with Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap was “bullshit” given the previous action against Haas this year.

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