‘You cheat at tax’: Toto Wolff on prison for Fernando Alonso

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has blasted Fernando Alonso and the FIA at the 2023 Dutch GP.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has drawn a thought-provoking analogy between penalising criminals and Formula 1 penalties, as he addressed the impeding incidents during the qualifying session at the Dutch Grand Prix. 

The drama unfolded as Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, found himself unable to advance to Q3 due to traffic obstruction during his hot lap attempt.

Yuki Tsunoda, the young talent from AlphaTauri, faced the consequences of his actions with a three-place grid penalty after impeding Hamilton during the critical final moments of the session. 

This obstruction cost Hamilton a chance at progressing to the final session, relegating him to the 13th position on the starting grid.

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However, it was Fernando Alonso’s alleged impeding of Hamilton that became a focal point of Wolff’s impassioned plea for consistent and effective penalties. 

Wolff lamented the fact that Hamilton had demonstrated impressive pace throughout the week, only to be hindered by traffic-induced obstacles. 

He expressed his frustration, stating, “I think Lewis had really good pace all week and insofar it’s really painful to see that, because of traffic, you’re not making yourself going into Q3, which you would have deserved.”

Wolff also took issue with the apparent leniency in imposing penalties for impeding incidents. 

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Referring to Alonso’s actions, he pointed out, “I think also the impeding is pretty ugly to look at. 

“I don’t know whether it’s become a bit of a pattern because people simply don’t care or not get penalised. 

“I mean, if I see the impeding from Alonso in Q1 that’s clear impeding and there was no further investigation. 

“So some need to open their eyes.”

The Mercedes boss firmly advocated for stricter consequences, using a striking metaphor: “I think the answer is penalise. Penalise, penalise. 

“If you know you don’t go to prison when you cheat at tax, you cheat at tax.” 

He questioned the inconsistency in penalising such incidents and emphasised the importance of maintaining the integrity of the sport.

Alonso, who secured the fifth position on the grid, converting that into a P2 finish, despite the controversy, shared his thoughts on the challenging visibility issues that affected the qualifying session. 

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He remarked, “The first three laps for me, I didn’t put the put a lap on the board in Q1. But it was not only for me obviously. 

That was also a moment with Lewis there in the last corner.” 

Acknowledging the hazards of the track’s limited visibility, Alonso expressed hope for clear weather during the race, stating, “So even for Sunday, I hope for a dry race just because visibility… it is the most dangerous part of racing at the moment.”