Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were both handed 20 sec penalties at the end of the Malaysian grandprix for their little squabble. It resulted in Lewis having to finish the rest of the race with a damaged floor while Fernando had to pit for a new nose cone. Even though both of them automatically lost time, by way of immediate repercussions to their actions, the stewards felt the need to penalize both of them further to drive home a point. The point seems to be lost on me when it comes to the case of Alonso, not only because of my strong feelings toward the Scarlet team.
The stewards panel, headed by former Scuderia Italia driver Emanuele Pirro, have penalized Alonso for trying to race with Hamilton, because he ran too close to Hamiltons rear end in an effort to make up for the failed DRS system on his Ferrari. I mean, you are trying to get drivers to overtake more, along with adding tons of extra buttons on their steering that they have to play with while overtaking, but if a driver clips his wing in an attempt then you penalize him for causing a collision.. I think this is sending out a wrong message to all the drivers and teams.
Of course the stewards are trying to prevent aerial accidents similar to Mark Webbers mad 180 degree flip at Melbourne in 2010, but you need to know where to draw the line, or you run the risk of pissing off the fans and forcing teams to add indicators and air horns to their cars.
Hamilton on the other hand, got a much needed rap on the knuckles, as he has gotten away with the weaving on track way too often. Last year at Malaysia, he was let off with a warning even though he made a thousand more moves while blocking, than he did this year because he was “trying to break the slipstream tow” to Vitaly Petrov on the straight.
The stewards need to bring in some consistency to their decision making. They also need to remember that this is racing and it is the pinnacle of motorsport. You cannot expect to have the best show in the world without a few thrills and spills. Safety is important but if you lose the basic elements of racing then you end up with cars going around in circles.