A small act of patriotism saw Spanish Grand Prix racewinner Fernando Alonso facing potential sanction from the FIA Stewards.
The Spaniard picked up his national flag from a trackside marshal to celebrate winning his home event for the third time, inadvertently breaching what is possibly one of the sport’s stupidest rules.
The act of picking up your country’s flag in celebration was a tradition that was synonymous with the likes of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, but sadly one of several acts done away with in the more corporate era in which the sport lives today.
And so it came to light when Alonso picked up the flag to share a moment of patriotism with the thousands of Spanish fans who had flocked to the Circuit de Catalunya to celebrate with him.
Unfortunately the very act of picking up and waving the flag was a breach of Article 43.3 of the sporting regulations, which forbids “receiving an object after the end-of-race signal”.
Obviously the rule is designed to stop drivers and teams from conspiring to dodge the minimum weight limits in the technical regulations, and thankfully the FIA Stewards – which included former World Champion Alan Jones on its panel – saw the light and opted not to sanction the Ferrari driver.
One can imagine that ‘Jonesy’ would have described the flag-waving ban as ‘bloody stupid’!