FIA to punish blocking only if deliberate

The FIA has moved to ensure there is no repeat of the controversy surrounding Fernando Alonso's qualifying penalty at Monza by changing the way that blocking incidents will be dealt with from now on

FIA to punish blocking only if deliberate

Alonso was dropped five places on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix after the race stewards found that he had impeded Felipe Massa during the closing stages of qualifying.

That decision created a furore at Renault, who both denied that Alonso had done anything deliberately and then attacked the governing body for what they felt was manipulation of the championship battle.

In Renault's post race press release, team boss Flavio Briatore said: "The problem comes when it is not just the sport that influences the outcome of races and championships."

And with Alonso also claiming that he no longer felt F1 was 'a sport', the fall out of the incident generated media coverage that partly overshadowed Michael Schumacher's retirement decision.

The FIA has now reacted to what happened at Monza and will now change the way that incidents are dealt with.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting has written to the teams and told them that the stewards will no longer investigate all complaints of blocking from teams. Instead they will only look at those that he feels shows deliberate intent to impede a rival.

In Whiting's fax, he wrote: "Complaints that a driver has been impeded during qualifying will no longer be referred to the stewards of the meeting. Only in cases where it appears to race control that there has been a clear and deliberate attempt to impede another driver will the stewards be asked to intervene."

And in a sentence aimed clearly at Renault's reaction to what happened at Monza, he added: "We now feel it is pointless for the stewards to engage in long and painstaking enquiries if competitors ignore clear scientific evidence and instead abuse the regulator."

Autosport.com revealed on Sunday that FIA president Max Mosley was pushing for a change in the rules so that penalties were only handed out for deliberate blocking.

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