F1 is all about the tiniest of margins and the smallest of them proved to be Fernando Alonso’s undoing at the Australian Grand Prix. Confident he had the pace for pole, a hydraulic failure in Q3 caused him to smash into the barriers.
Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer was in no doubt about which part of the multi-million pound A522 spelt disaster for Alonso’s weekend – an oil seal’s faulty o-ring, a part which The Race estimated to cost them just £1.50. That’s probably the most costly £1.50 in F1!
“The o-ring threaded, the oil leaked out,” he explained. “We have a failsafe mode that tried to save the engine, so when you see a drop in oil pressure, the failsafe mode kicks in and that’s what happened.”
Had Fernando qualified where he’d expected to , it would have completely changed their fortunes. At the time, the two-time champion had just clocked in the fastest time in sector two and the team could have been in the fight for their first Aussie podium since Vitaly Petrov’s third-place finish for Renault in 2011.
Instead starting from P10, Alonso’s strategy was spoiled by safety car timing and he finished dead last.
Alonso was understandably crushed after the race, remarking that it was “hard to accept that everything is going in the wrong way at the moment”.
“The podium today would have been easy with Max out. With George on the podium, I think we were a lot faster than the Mercedes on this circuit. So we lost an opportunity.” Alpine will be kicking themselves for missing out
Could Alonso have finished on the podium without that Quali crash? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.