|© AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Fernando Alonso can consider himself lucky to have won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after he overcame a problem with his tyres and then escaped a penalty for an alleged breach of regulations.
After the race, Ferrari found that that the Spaniard had a cut tyre when he pitted for the fourth and last time on lap 49 although the team did not consider it to be a “serious problem”.
"We had the data that the tyre was starting to go down slowly and our strategy was to stop him two laps later,” team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport. "But in order not to risk anything because we were controlling of course the pace of Kimi (Raikkonen), we decided to bring him in to avoid any stress on certain corners."
Pirelli reckoned that a win for Ferrari would not have been possible if the race was run with last year's compounds.
"If he'd had that type of debris into his tyre last year, it would have deflated," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was quoted saying by Reuters.
Alonso eventually went on to take victory in the 66-lap race by just over nine seconds from Raikkonen but the victory wasn’t guaranteed just then.
The Ferrari driver was summoned by the stewards for breach of article 43.3 for "receiving an object after the end-of-race signal".
The sporting regulations states: “After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc fermé without any unnecessary delay, without receiving any object whatsoever.”
Alonso had collected a Spanish flag during his slowing down lap but the FIA saw no reason to punish him for the alleged breach.
“No further action was taken to be consistent with a previous decision made under similar circumstances,” read a statement from the stewards, one of whom was former Formula 1 driver and 1980 world champion Alan Jones.