AUGUST 4, 2007
Alonso drops five places, McLaren to lose points
The FIA Stewards announced at close to midnight that Fernando Alonso would be penalised five grid positions after a controversial qualifying session for the Hungarian GP. They also ruled that McLaren team had acted in a manner that was "prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally (Article 151c of the International Sporting Code) and that as a result the team will not be able to score any Constructors' Championship points on Sunday. The team obviously has the right to appeal that decision.
The stewards: Tony Scott Andrews, Derek Ledger and Lajos Herczeg decided that the punishment was necessary because of the way that McLaren managed the final minutes of the final Q3 qualifying session.
The decision outlined that the team had agreed that Fernando Alonso would leave the pits ahead of Lewis Hamilton in order to benefit from the fuel burn allowance of being able to complete an additional lap. In the event Hamilton left the pits first and McLaren then asked him to drop behind Alonso. Hamilton declined. With just over three minutes to go in the session Hamilton was called into the pits and was then advised to slow a little on his in lap as Alonso was in the pits in front of him. With just over two minutes to go Alonso pitted. He had been told that he would be held for 20secs. The lollipop was then raised. Alonso did not depart but remained where he was for another 10secs. He then left the pits reached the start-finish line in time to start a flying lap and took pole position.
Hamilton, however, was not able to complete his pit stop and get to the start-finish line in time. Alonso was asked why he did not leave the pit and said that he was asking the team if the right tyres had been fitted. This explanation was not accepted and the stewards ruled that Alonso had impeded another driver and gave him a penalty of five grid positions.