After his verbal attack and an accusation of incompetence also against a German Formula 1 race director, Fernando Alonso is suddenly downplaying it.
After the Miami F1 GP, Fernando Alonso had called the race directors around the German Niels Wittich “incompetent” and “unfair” – now the Formula 1 star is belatedly backpedalling. “Of course” he had apologised to those responsible, the Alpine driver now announced, “especially to Mohammed”. This refers to Mohammed bin Sulayem, the president of the FIA.
He had a clarifying talk with him in Monaco – or was it more like a clearing of the air from the FIA supremo, who is not necessarily thrilled when a prominent driver publicly portrays a key figure of his choice as being out of his depth?
Alonso puts it this way: “We are good friends and I trust him a lot in terms of his leadership of the World Federation and the changes he is implementing. I support him completely in that.”
A few weeks ago, this sounded decidedly different, especially with regard to Wittich, whom Alonso personally criticised in a decidedly bad light:
“We need someone who knows racing before he becomes race director. And I don’t think that this knowledge and know-how is available at the moment.”
Alonso did not mention Wittich’s name, but it was clear who he meant, as the German had been in charge of all the season’s races up to that point, before Portuguese Eduardo Freitas took over from Barcelona.
Freitas and Wittich – active in DTM and ADAC GT Masters before F1 – had replaced the controversial Michael Masi, discredited by the 2021 chaos finale, before the season, and both will be assisted by Herbie Blash, the one-time right-hand man of Masi’s fabled predecessor, the late Charlie Whiting, who died in 2019.
“I know this is the first time a new race director is in charge,” Alonso had noted after the Miami controversy in reference to Wittich: “In my opinion, Freitas has much more experience at the highest level from the WEC and other categories. And I think that should already improve the situation a little bit.”
Why is he now adopting a very different tone? He had thought about the points of contention again, Alonso reported: “Maybe I see it a bit differently now. They did their job in Miami. And now maybe we see it a bit differently than from the car, in the heat of the moment.”
Alonso had picked up a time penalty in Miami for cutting a corner, which Alonso castigated as a bad decision. With more time behind him, he could “now understand the commissioners’ point of view”, he said and meekly admitted: “I know I can do some things differently and better.
After all, everyone is in the same boat, Alonso made clear. They work together “to improve the show. We’re all here to help.”
Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)