Fernando Alonso under investigation for scary George Russell crash

George Russell hit the wall at the end of the 2024 Australian GP

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Fernando Alonso is under investigation by Formula 1‘s stewards for potentially causing George Russell‘s Lap 58 crash at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, despite it initially appearing to be driver error.

It’s thought that Mercedes will attempt to claim that an erratic or unpredictable braking behaviour by the Spanish Aston Martin driver caused their man to take avoiding action by having to suddenly brake too.

The result was that Russell locked the rear axles of his car and subsequently lost the rear end, punching him a one-way ticket to the tyre barriers to end his race when he was running in seventh place, chasing sixth.

The crash saw the 26-year-old’s stricken vehicle hit the wall and catapult back across the race track, with the broken suspension slipping under the body of the car and turning it onto its side.

Fortunately, Russell proved to be okay and he got out of the car under his own power and capability in what was a scary looking crash.

If Alonso did brake test their driver, it will be readily apparent in the data and he will earn either a time penalty, grid-drop or disqualification depending on the discretion of the stewards.

More to follow as the investigation unfolds…

How have the pair reacted to the news?

Russell described the investigation as โ€œinterestingโ€ and declared that Alonso slowed 100m before the usual braking spot but he did stop short of accusing him of a brake test.

He also took responsibility for the incident himself, suggesting he should have been more prepared for a driver to suddenly slow or change their speeds on an active race track.

“My take is I’ve gone off and that’s on me,โ€ Russell said to Sky Sports F1. โ€œI was half a second behind Fernando 100m before the corner then suddenly he came towards me extremely quick and I was right on his gearbox. I don’t know if he had a problem or not.

“It’s clear he braked 100m before the corner and was back on the throttle again and took the corner normally. We’ve already seen the data of that. I’m not going to accuse him of anything until we see further.”

He added, “I was right behind him for many, many laps. I was half a second behind him before the corner, then, suddenly he slowed up dramatically and got back on the power.

George Russell's Mercedes after crash at 2024 Australian GP | F1
George Russell’s Mercedes after crash at 2024 Australian GP | F1

โ€œI wasn’t expecting it and he caught me by surprise. That part is on me. It’s interesting he’s been called by the stewards. I’m intrigued as to what they have to say.”

Alonso was asked about the incident as soon as he hit the TV pen but he elected to bat the question away and said that he was focusing on the races to come as he never confirmed or denied a brake check.

Instead, he chose to say he was busy focusing on the track in front of him and that he had electrical deployment issues with his hybrid battery, stressing that he could not focus on the cars behind in what was a rather blunt interview.

“Obviously I was focusing in front of me and not behind,โ€ Alonso said to Sky Sports F1 after the race. “I had some issues for the last 15 laps or something on the battery, on the deployment.

โ€œSo definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race, but I cannot focus on the car behind, but he’s ok, apparently. I saw the car and I was very worried.”

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