BARCELONA (Reuters) – Twice world champion Fernando Alonso has made peace with Formula One’s governing body after accusing race stewards of incompetent and unprofessional behaviour.
The Alpine driver last week blasted Miami Grand Prix stewards for handing him two five-second penalties, the last dropping the Spaniard from eighth at the chequered flag to 11th.
“We believed that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards,” the 40-year-old told reporters ahead of his home race at the Circuit de Catalunya. “They were not very professional.”
Alonso spoke to new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem after that outburst and on Sunday, after lining up last on the grid due to an engine change and finishing ninth in the race, took a conciliatory stance.
“In reflection on Miami and Thursday, maybe I see it in a different way now,” he said in a team review.
“The stewards did their job in Miami and perhaps we see things differently from inside the car in the heat of the moment.
“I am fully supportive of the FIA’s ideas and we want to work with them to improve the show for the fans.”
There was no immediate comment from the FIA.
Alonso was happy with the weekend, watched by a capacity crowd at the Barcelona circuit in a reminder of what it used to be like when the Spaniard was winning races with Renault, McLaren and Ferrari.
Many might have been for others, with world champion Max Verstappen’s Dutch fans attending in droves and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz raising hopes of a home winner, while also indicative of the sport’s surging global popularity.
“Even though we were starting last I feel like we managed to put a show on for the fans,” said Alonso.
“It feels a bit like a victory. Hopefully, we can start scoring consecutively in the points from here.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)