Fernando Alonso raises concerns over F1 ‘risk’ after Miami GP Sprint disaster

The Aston Martin driver endured a disastrous F1 Sprint Race in Miami on Saturday

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Fernando Alonso has joined Max Verstappen in calling into question Formula 1’s sprint race format after his collision during the Miami F1 Sprint Race on Saturday.

The 42-year-old had qualified in the top 10 behind his team-mate Lance Stroll, but both Aston Martin drivers suffered damage to their respective cars at Turn 1 following a coming together with Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso had been squeezed by Stroll on the outside and Hamilton on the inside, sustaining damage to his AMR-24 in the process. However, it was Stroll who was forced to retire from the race after he clipped Lando Norris, who was an unfortunate bystander in the messy incident.

Alonso fell down the order to the back of the grid and finished the 19-lap sprint in 17th place only ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who picked up three penalties totalling 30 seconds. And after a frustrating session, the veteran doesn’t think sprint races are worth the risk.

Fernando Alonso during 2024 Miami GP practice | Aston Martin F1 team
Fernando Alonso finished the F1 Sprint in 17th in Miami. | Aston Martin F1 team

“It [crash with Stroll] was not ideal. I think the sprint race has this risk. Obviously there are so many points on the table and you can damage all of the car or get penalties,” Alonso told F1TV.

“It is a little bit of a strange format what we have now because there is not really racing going on and there are a lot of things to lose in the sprint. Let’s concentrate on qualifying for the race and let’s hope for a good one.”

Alonso echoes Verstappen view

It follows Verstappen’s comments in April when he claimed sprint races are “not about racing but surviving”.

The three-time world champion’s blunt assessment came in response to reports that F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali is exploring increasing the number of F1 Sprint races on the calendar, which is currently at six.

“I think that is not the right way to go at it. I understand; they want to have basically every day exciting,” Verstappen said after qualifying at the Australian GP. “[But] if we then start adding more stuff, it’s not worth it for me anyway. I’m not enjoying that.

“And for me, a sprint race is all about surviving. It’s not about racing. When you have a quick car, there’s nothing to risk. I prefer just to keep my car alive and make sure that you have a good race car for Sunday.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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