Alpine F1 alleged the Japanese Grand Prix was waived off too soon

There’s no doubt that the weather wasn’t in favor of the teams during the Japanese Grand Prix, making it harder for the drivers to get a grip on their cars.

Nonetheless, Max Verstappen finished first in this race, securing his second championship title ahead of the season finale. But Alpine believes that the race directors miscalculated and the chequered flag came out a lap too early at Suzuka.

Amid a few crashes at the beginning of the race, the race directors had to halt the race with a red flag due to the persistent rain, extending the time limit to three hours. Although the race was supposed to start in 10 minutes after the red flag, the intensified rain pushed the suspension indefinitely, making it a 40-minute sprint race. 

However, Otmar Szafnauer’s team made a fatal miscalculation about the last lap, which may have cost Fernando Alonso, Alpine driver, to lose sixth place against Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso was one of the three drivers who stayed on wet tires one lap beyond and stopped to change his tires for inters too late. This was due to a decision made by the team. Alan Perman, Alpine’s sporting director has claimed that the chequered flag came out one lap early as Verstappen, who was leading at that time, was on his last lap when he crossed the finishing line.

The Alpine director also stated his logic for that calculation— while the Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu completed his fastest lap at 1:44.411, Verstappen too the chequered flag at 3:01:44.

“There were still five seconds on the clock. That’s why he (Verstappen) should have finished the lap. Based on our systems, which are linked to those of the FIA, I’m sure Max was going into the last lap when he crossed the line,” Permane complained.

If there were one more lap to go, the two-time world champion Alonso could have the chance to secure the sixth position beating his Aston Martin rival, Vettel.


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