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Alonso backs down on 'manipulated' race comments

ESPNF1 Staff
June 30, 2010 « No major updates, says Newey | »
Fernando Alonso: 'In the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race' © Getty Images

Fernando Alonso has admitted that he over-reacted when he said the European Grand Prix was "manipulated" by the FIA after Sunday's race.

Alonso was furious that he had obeyed the safety car rules and lost position, while Lewis Hamilton, who had been directly ahead of him on the track when the pace car came out, illegally overtook it and, despite a drive-through penalty, still finished six places ahead of him. But on Tuesday Alonso went some way to retracting his initial outburst, confessing that his emotions had been running high directly after the race.

"It does not achieve much going over the events that followed on," he said on his official Ferrari blog. "Obviously, in the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race. At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation, it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing."

He added that he was pleased the FIA was looking at addressing the issue and insisted that his complaints were not part of a personal vendetta against Hamilton or anybody else.

"Sure, I understand that the stewards have a difficult job to do and they have to take decisions that are not easy," he said. "What I meant was that those drivers who, like us, respected the regulations, unfortunately, in this situation, suffered much more than those who broke them, even though they were given a penalty. And I am not referring to any of the drivers in particular: it's a general matter and I think we should talk about it together in a calm way, to ensure that things like this do not happen again. I was pleased to hear that the FIA has reacted promptly, calling an extraordinary meeting of the Sporting Working Group and I am confident, certain even, that all the points up for discussion will be cleared up in a comprehensive fashion."

Alonso said that the loss of points in Valencia had left him with a challenging second half of the season, but was confident the updates brought to his Ferrari last weekend have gone some way to closing the gap to McLaren and Red Bull.

"Even if the Valencia result was not what we wanted, it has not done irreparable damage," he said. "It's true that the gap to the leader [Hamilton] has now jumped to 29 points, but we have not even reached the halfway point of the season. We trail by just over one win, so the situation is still very open. The updates we brought to Spain saw us make a step forward and get closer to the front runners. I am satisfied with that, but also aware that we must continue to push on with the development of the F10, because we need to have a car capable of fighting for pole and to give us the edge over our rivals as soon as possible. If we are now 29 points off the championship leader, it means that in the next ten races, we have to score at least 30 more than whoever is in the lead at any one time."