More details have emerged regarding Fernando Alonso’s use of the adjustable rear wing (DRS) outside the designated zone during yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Replay footage showed the Spaniard rear wing flap deploying as he was chasing down Michael Schumacher, but more details have emerged to explain why the Ferrari driver was not penalised for this apparent rules infringement.
In the BBC’s post-race discussion, co-commentator David Coulthard was of the opinion that Alonso was not deliberately cheating, but rather that his DRS unit was malfunctioning.
“I fail to see what he would have done from the cockpit,” the former Grand Prix winner said in the post-race wrap-up.
“He knows the wing is not available at that point so it’s pointless pulling the paddle, and we know they’ve had difficulties with that system in the past, so I wonder it that’s just a mechanical or software issue,” he added.
“There’s no way Ferrari can circumnavigate the regulations so that’s clearly teething trouble.”
The DRS unit is activated electronically by FIA-operated systems, and drivers can only activate it if they are within one second of the car they are chasing.
BBC F1 later learnt that an error caused Alonso’s wing to ‘offset’ its activation that lap, with telemetry traces revealing that it wasn’t enabled until 300 metres before the end of the back straight.
Effectively, this gave Alonso no actual advantage from the situation – rather, it was more of a penalty to him – and he was given no penalty by the FIA stewards.
Alonso later managed to overtake Schumacher and finished the race in seventh place.
The FIA has confirmed that it will investigate the matter.