Fernando Alonso has endured a lot since joining Formula 1 in 2001; however, what happened to him at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday was perhaps a first, as was the punishment that followed after the race.
After lining up for the race in P14, not much was expected from Alonso during the race at the Circuit of the Americas, a venue he finished third at in 2012.
The Spaniard started strong and found himself in seventh after a number of drivers pitted for their opening stop; however, the Alpine driver opted to run deeper into the race.
This plan quickly changed as Valtteri Bottas beached his Alfa Romeo at Turn 19, bringing out a Safety Car.
Alonso was therefore able to make a very cheap pit-stop, which saw him inherit a number of places, much to his and Alpine’s pleasure.
He staggeringly lost just one place during his stop, as he emerged back onto the circuit behind 2023 team-mate Lance Stroll.
It was at the restart where everything went wrong for Alonso, as he was involved in a terrifying crash with Stroll down the main straight, for which it wasn’t the 41-year-old’s fault.
Alonso was right in the slipstream of Stroll down the incredibly long straight and pulled to the left of the Canadian to carry the speed difference; however, as he turned left, so did Stroll, which saw the Alpine driver hit the back of the Aston Martin and pull perhaps the fastest wheelie ever seen.
Thankfully, Alonso’s A522 didn’t flip over, which would’ve replicated Mark Webber’s crash at the 2010 European Grand Prix.
Alonso regained control of his car and bounced off the barrier, whilst Stroll spun in the middle of the straight before his car came to a halt on the edge of the circuit.
Whilst Stroll instantly retired, Alonso somehow continued, as Alpine fitted the Frenchman with a new front-wing and a new set of tyres, before sending him back out on his way.
The floor of Alonso’s car must have been made of granite or kryptonite, with it being absolutely absurd that his car was fit to continue.
Alonso not only continued, he recovered unbelievably into seventh place.
He actually managed to hold the points position right to the end of the race, where it looked like the veteran had pulled off a miracle.
However, it was short-lived, as Haas filed a complaint against Alpine that Alonso’s car should’ve been given a black and orange flag, something Kevin Magnussen has been awarded several times.
The FIA deemed that Alpine shouldn’t have allowed Alonso to continue after the collision, with the Spaniard having lost parts of his car as a result of the collision.
His right mirror flew off on his way to P7, highlighting that Haas had a point.
Alonso was therefore awarded a 30-second time penalty, which demoted him to P15.
Speaking prior to the announcement, Alonso joked that his car was “very strong” and that he wasn’t “believing” the fact the Enstone-based team told him the car was okay.
“We have a very strong car,” said Alonso to Sky Sports F1.
“Anyone who crashes with Alpine this year has everything to lose,” he joked.
“We got lucky today not only with the car, but my health was at risk for a moment, and I am happy to be talking here with you and not in the medical centre.
“We got lucky with the first Safety Car because we were 7th at that point then we went back to 17th and then we finished 7th so good points today.
“It is difficult. I saw it now on the stewards TV and we both move at the same time to the left, so it was not that he reacted, it was an unfortunate moment of the race for both of us.
“After the accident I thought to retire the car in the corner because I thought it has to be broken somewhere but they changed the tyres and the front wing, and I still was not believing from the team that everything was fine.
“But we finished the race, and we made only that stop with 32 laps left of the race and we finished the race, so it was quite amazing in the end.”
Alpine have decided to appeal the penalty.