The stewards at Monza have demoted Fernando Alonso to tenth on the grid for allegedly blocking Felipe Massa’s final qualifying run. To anyone who watched those last minutes of qualifying, this is as blatantly partisan a decision as it is possible to make. Alonso was always more than a hundred yards ahead of Massa and, if his presence made any difference at all, it helped to carve a hole in the air to increase the Ferrari’s speed along the straights.
Massa said after qualifying that his final attempt at pole had been spoiled by Alonso being ahead of him. Drivers excuse their performances in such ways in the heat of the moment but the stewards had the benefit of the video to see that blocking just was not possible for Alonso. I can only conclude that Italian officials see through red-shaded glasses where Ferrari is concerned.
Coming on top of the idiocies of the mass damper controversy and the forthcoming furore over wheel inserts, this does nothing but bring F1 into disrepute. When stewards can be swayed in their judgements by national sympathies, the whole sport becomes a laughing stock. We are constantly told how professional F1 has become and how much better it is than in “the old days”. On this evidence, the bunch running it should be sacked immediately and replaced with the NASCAR managers.