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Pattaya Daily News

12 September 2006 :: 15:09:55 pm 7407

Defending Champion Fernando Alonso disappointed to Formula One

Defending world champion Fernando Alonso declared Formula One no longer a sport after Italian Grand Prix stewards demoted him five places on the starting grid in a major blow to his title hopes on Sunday.
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Alonso (25) of Renault, spoke out after being penalized on Saturday for allegedly blocking Ferrari rival Brazilian Felipe Massa during the final part of a closely-contested qualifying session for Sunday‘s Italian Grand Prix.

The Renault driver, 12 points clear of Ferrari‘s Michael Schumacher with four races to go, was relegated from fifth to 10th for impeding the German‘s teammate Felipe Massa in Saturday qualifying.

His Renault team was equally furious with the decision and accused Formula 1‘s stewards of being too politically correct. Renault showed reporters the video evidence and the film suggested Massa was never closer than 100 metres to the blue Renault ahead of him.

“If this is blocking anyone intentionally, we will have a lot of problems from now on in qualifying,” Alonso said. “If this is blocking also I don‘t understand how we will race today if this is the minimum distance, he added.

As he emphasized, I am a sportsman, I love the sport . . . I love the fans coming here, a lot of them from Spain. And I don‘t consider any more Formula one like a sport.”

Team chief Flavio Briatore seemed to indicate that the sport‘s ruling body is manipulating the interpretation of the rules to mould the shape and outcome of the championship.
And Renault team boss Flavio Briatore explained Alonso had taken a big risk going out on the track after a tyre blowout in the final phase of qualifying had damaged the car.

Max Mosley, president of the FIA, the sport‘s governing body played down Alonso‘s reaction. “They say things like that all the time. All sportsmen say things like that when they are emotional. When he thinks slightly more maturely about it he won‘t think that anymore,” Mosley commented.

Alonso, who appeared to be close to tears, told reporters at the Renault motor home the FIA‘s decision had changed his view on what F1 was all about.

He said he did not block Massa knowingly and added that if he was penalized for what happened at Monza, then it would probably lead to major problems in the future. “If you see the video, then if this is blocking intentionally we will have a lot of problems from now on in qualifying. If this is blocking, I don‘t understand how we will race if this is the minimum distance (between cars).”

Briatore also said it was clear that Alonso did not impeded Massa deliberately.
“Fernando never intentionally wanted to stop Massa. He had a tire accident. Fernando came back to the pits, we checked on the chassis and it was quite dangerous to send Fernando out again,” said Briatore.

Briatore continued … “But we are fighting for the championship and the people need to see a show. This is the reason why we love the sport, this is the reason why Fernando goes out and he made the chequered flag to start his quickest lap by one second.
“We told him by radio to drive like a qualifying lap on his out lap because really we were very, very tight, because we checked the chassis and the suspension. He did a perfect job and we had no intention to stop Massa.

“We don‘t want to argue with the decision, but we tell you what is our position – we are quite sad that this happened and Fernando takes the risk to do this lap. We need to recognize that when you send the driver out in the position he was, he takes a lot of risk.”

Renault director of TYPEering Pat Symonds said the sport was being wrecked by the number of penalties handed out this season for blocking in qualifying — and warned that Formula 1 is stepping away from its core appeal as a racing series.

“We seem to have forgotten what racing is about. We are so politically correct now, and I don‘t know what is coming next, he continued.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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