Ferrari fined for fuel discrepancy but Leclerc keeps P3

By Sports Desk December 01, 2019

Charles Leclerc kept his third-placed finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but Ferrari were fined €50,000 for "an inaccurate fuel declaration" for the 22-year-old's SF90.

Stewards highlighted a discrepancy in the car ahead of Sunday's race, although the investigation was delayed until after the event.

Leclerc subsequently finished third, behind Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The FIA then discovered there had been a difference of 4.88 kilograms between what Ferrari declared and what it had measured for Leclerc's car.

It was deemed Ferrari had breached the rules but only the team were sanctioned, with Leclerc remaining in P3.

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  • Only the stopwatch matters – Alonso not worried by his age ahead of F1 return Only the stopwatch matters – Alonso not worried by his age ahead of F1 return

    Fernando Alonso insists the stopwatch is the only thing that matters and has no concerns over his age as he prepares to return to Formula One with Renault. 

    The two-time world champion's signing was confirmed by the team on Wednesday, with reports suggesting he has joined on an initial two-year deal. 

    That means Alonso, who turns 39 this month, will be 41 during the 2022 season, the first year F1 brings in new regulations the Spaniard hopes will produce a more level playing field. 

    Alonso is in his second year away from the grid and his last championship came in 2006, but he feels as fit and ready as he ever has before. 

    "The stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not the age," he told reporters.  

    "I never had a classification on the race based on the passport, my date of birth. It's always on the stopwatch. 

    "I feel ready and I feel I'm at 100 per cent in terms of driving. I did a couple of fitness tests 15 days ago and I had the best results in my career. 

    "I am extremely motivated, happy and stronger than ever."

    F1's new regulations were initially scheduled to come in for 2021 but have been pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    "Probably my first intention was to go out in 2018 and see how life was outside the bubble and have a think for the 2021 rules," Alonso said. 

    "This has been postponed one year because of covid but still it's worth being in the sport in 2021 as a preparation for me after two years not driving these cars, to build up with the team and have a good season. 

    "I know only one team will be winning in 2020 - and in 2021 probably - but I think the 2022 rules will hopefully bring some fairness to the sport. 

    "[Hopefully] some close action with teams more level and less scope to invent something that has a large performance advantage. 

    "There is time to build on those projects. I am relaxed, I am aware of what 2021 will be and I'm hopeful for 2022." 

    Alonso is ready to be a team player to help Renault, who were fifth in the constructors' championship last season, return to the top of the sport. 

    He added: "I will try to do my best and try and help the team be a world champion team. 

    "If that's with me driving then fantastic but if that's with a future younger driver then I will feel proud anyway. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I.  

    "Whatever the 2022 rules bring, I can hopefully help them with my experience. I'm aware of my mission, which is not only focused on the car but also outside the car.  

    "It's an extremely happy day for me coming back to F1 first but also to the team with which I had the best experience in the category." 

  • F1 2020: Hamilton and Verstappen look to bounce back at Styrian Grand Prix F1 2020: Hamilton and Verstappen look to bounce back at Styrian Grand Prix

    The return of Formula One exceeded expectations with a dramatic season-opener at the Austrian Grand Prix.

    Valtteri Bottas made an early statement in his pursuit of a first world title, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton receiving penalties in qualifying and the race, ultimately having to settle for fourth.

    The disruption to the 2020 season caused by the coronavirus pandemic means there is a second consecutive race being held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

    The second round this weekend has been named the Styrian Grand Prix after the area where the circuit is staged.

    If the race, which starts at 15:10 local time (14:10 BST), produces as much excitement as the last, there will be few complaints from fans.
     

    LAST TIME OUT 

    Nine drivers retired as Bottas took victory from Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, who earned a superb podium as well as setting the fastest lap.

    After a mechanical issue for Max Verstappen, Red Bull's victory hopes were revived late on when a correct strategy call after a safety car looked to have Alex Albon poised for a first win.

    But he was hit by Hamilton as he overtook the Mercedes driver and ultimately retired, with the Briton receiving a five-second time penalty, having also been landed with a three-place grid punishment for his speed under yellow flags in qualifying. 


    WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR 

    Hamilton was disappointed with his qualifying result even before his grid penalty and a scrappy conclusion to the race will mean he comes into the second grand prix eager to stop his rivals building up any momentum in a shortened season.

    Second place for Leclerc in a tumultuous race masked serious pace issues for Ferrari, who saw Sebastian Vettel have to settle for 10th a day after failing to reach Q3 as he started his final season with the team.

    The Scuderia estimate they are 0.8 seconds off the pace in straight-line speed and while that issue remains, they hope their aerodynamic package will be improved this week after fast-tracking some major upgrades that were initially due for Hungary.

    Verstappen saw what looked like a certain podium taken away from him and will be desperate to bounce back at a circuit where he won last year, while any battles between Albon and Hamilton will be closely watched, as they also made contact in Brazil at the end of last season.
     

    TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

    History is made - The Red Bull Ring, where Hamilton has not won since 2016, will become the first circuit in F1 history to host back-to-back grands prix.

    Three in their sights - Bottas (2017 and 2020) and Verstappen (2018 and 2019) are both looking to become the first driver to win three races at the Red Bull Ring. Both have won twice there, level with Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.

    Big moment for Bottas – The Finn could win the opening two grands prix in a season for the first time in his F1 career. Eleven of the last 12 drivers to manage this went on to become world champion that season; Vettel was the only driver in that run not to (2018 season).

    Ferrari woe - This is the circuit where Ferrari are enduring their longest winless run among the six tracks in the current F1 calendar. Schumacher was the last winner here for the Scudería in 2003.

    McLaren pushing on - After Norris' third-place finish, McLaren are looking to record back-to-back podium finishes for the first time since the last two grands prix of 2012 when Hamilton won in USA and Jenson Button won in Brazil. 
     

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers 

    1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 25
    2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18
    3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 16
    4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 12
    5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) – 10

    Constructors 

    1. Mercedes – 37
    2. McLaren – 26
    3. Ferrari – 19
    4. Racing Point – 8
    5. Alpha Tauri - 6

  • Fernando Alonso: 312 races, 32 wins & his best career stats ahead of F1 return Fernando Alonso: 312 races, 32 wins & his best career stats ahead of F1 return

    Fernando Alonso is returning to Formula One in 2021, having agreed to re-join Renault for a third spell.

    The two-time world champion will have been away from the grid for two seasons when he returns to the highest level of motorsport.

    He will also be 15 years removed from winning his second straight drivers' title with Renault in 2006.

    Alonso, who turns 39 next month, has also represented McLaren in two stints, as well as driving for Ferrari and Minardi during his F1 career.

    After his return with Renault was confirmed on Wednesday, we have looked at some of the best statistics from his career to date.

    Sixth all-time in race wins - Alonso has won 32 races in his professional career: ranking sixth in that category after Michael Schumacher (91), Lewis Hamilton (84), Sebastian Vettel (53), Alain Prost (51) and Ayrton Senna (41).

    Record in his sights - Alonso ranks third for races in F1, with his 312 putting him behind only Rubens Barrichello (323) and Kimi Raikkonen (314).

    Fast start - Alonso was the youngest driver to win a race (22 years 26 days in Hungary 2003) and to conquer the F1 world championship (24 years 1 month 27 days in Brazil 2005). Those records were later beaten by Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel respectively.

    Podium regular - Alonso ranks third for the driver to record the most second-place finishes (37 along with Raikkonen) after Schumacher (43) and Hamilton (39). He has 97 podiums in total - 44 of which were achieved in five years with Ferrari - a number which is good for sixth all time.

    Renault return - The Spanish driver has won two races more for Renault (17) than for the rest of his other teams combined (15).

    Favourite circuits - Alonso has won three times in Malaysia, Bahrain and Germany, as well as at the European Grand Prix, making those four events the most successful of his F1 career.

    Brazil and Belgium not on list - Brazil is the F1 circuit where the Spaniard has been the most times without winning (17 races), closely followed by Belgium (15).

    History made – Alonso was the fifth F1 world champion to win 24 Hours of Le Mans and the first since Graham Hill did so back in 1972.

    McLaren woe – Of his 67 career retirements, 31 of those have come with McLaren, whose Honda engine struggles marred his four-year second spell with the team, which ended in 2018.

    Racking up the points – His career points total of 1,899 puts him third all time, with Hamilton holding the record on 3,443.

    Qualifying not as strong- Hamilton also holds the record for pole positions with 88, Alonso by comparison has just 22 to sit 13th in the overall rankings.

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