‘Better not to race’ in Sprints – Alonso

Fernando Alonso says the Sprint format is showing it is “better not to race” on a Saturday due to the impact on tire usage and the penalty points he received at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The stewards gave Alonso a retrospective 10-second time penalty and three penalty points for causing a collision with Carlos Sainz when fighting for a top three position in China’s Sprint, leaving him halfway to a race ban. The penalty points appeared particularly harsh despite the pair making contact, and with Alonso then forced into an unusual strategy on Sunday where he made an extra pit stop due to a lack of hard tires, he says sitting out the Sprint would have been a better option.

“I think getting more tires will be good because in FP1 it is a game of who can run less and who uses less sets of tires, so it is a shame for the fans,” Alonso said. “And then, the Sprint, if they want it for the show and for overtaking and you don’t let them race, it is better not to race.

“We didn’t have any more hard tires (on Sunday). We had one soft and one medium and 35 laps in front of us, which, in our calculations, it was not possible to make it to the end. Obviously, there were a lot of safety car laps to remove the Sauber and once the safety car came in – more safety car laps because they crashed.

“The best thing is not to do the Sprint, probably, on Saturday, to keep a set of tires for Sunday. There are few points on the table for us if you are not winning the race and you risk penalty points and things like that, so it is better maybe not to race.”

Despite his frustrations, Alonso says his fightback to seventh place in Shanghai was “a miracle again” as he overtook Oscar Piastri and Lewis Hamilton in the final stint.

“The truth is that it was a very good race for me, I had a lot of fun,” he said. “I attacked at the end, in the last stint with the newest tires, which gave me the chance to do the fastest lap of the race, so it was a good feeling.

“The safety car lasted too long, especially the second one and to the people who didn’t have to stop anymore helped them to keep the tires a bit longer, but we finished four seconds behind [George] Russell, ten seconds behind a Ferrari, which is totally unthinkable.

“When we are given the opportunity, like the start, that we are all on a level playing field, we are back to gaining a place and having fun. And then, when the cars drop back to their natural position, it’s a miracle again that we finish seventh.”

Story originally appeared on Racer