During the first F1 Sprint Shootout qualifying session on Saturday at the São Paulo Grand Prix, a collision occurred between drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. The crash occurred at the end of SQ1, and ended the session for both drivers. Ocon’s A523 spun hard into the barrier, ending his qualifying session, while Alonso’s AMR23 suffered a front left tire deflation, and while he had qualified for SQ2, he was unable to take to the track for the session.
While Ocon immediately blamed Alonso for the collision, the veteran driver demurred on passing fault when speaking to the media, saying he had not yet seen the replay:
You can judge for yourself here:
Both drivers were summoned to meet with race stewards following the F1 Sprint Shootout, and after those meetings, race officials declined to take further action and/or issue any penalties, indicating that neither driver was “wholly or predominantly” to blame.
“The stewards determined that Alonso was aware that Ocon was approaching at high speed on the exit of turn two,” they explained. “Thus, Alonso moved off of the racing line so that Ocon could pass.
“At turn three, Ocon lost the balance of the car and went wide on the exit. At the same time, Alonso turned more towards the racing line giving less room for Ocon. The combination of these two elements lead to the collision.
“The stewards determined that no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame. Therefore, no penalty is applied.”
Should both cars be repaired in time for the F1 Sprint race, they will start alongside each other. Alonso is slated to start in P15, with Ocon just beside him in P16.