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Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Alonso furore prompts F1 U-turn
Fernando Alonso
Alonso was angered by his punishment for allegedly blocking
Formula One bosses have moved to stop a repeat of last weekend's qualifying controversy that resulted in Fernando Alonso being punished for blocking.

Renault were angered after Ferrari's complaint against Alonso was upheld by Italian Grand Prix race stewards.

The decision meant Alonso was dropped from fifth to 10th for Sunday's grid.

But a letter by governing body the FIA said complaints about blocking in qualifying would "no longer be referred to the stewards of the meeting".

Although world champion Alonso was penalised for impeding Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, in-car video footage suggested the two were never closer than 100m.

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

An FIA letter to all 11 F1 teams
But race stewards decided, after the matter was brought to their attention, that Massa had been impeded - albeit unintentionally.

The decision provoked widespread criticism inside the F1 paddock, with Renault head Flavio Briatore and Alonso suggesting afterwards that the championship was being manipulated in Ferrari's favour.

Alonso went into the Italian race with a 12-point lead over Schumacher, but his demotion limited his chances of preventing his rival closing the gap.

In the end, Alonso retired with engine failure having climbed up to third and Schumacher now trails him by only two points with three races remaining.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting wrote to the managers of all 11 teams this week explaining procedural changes as a result of the furore.

"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," Whiting wrote.

"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," he added, clearly referring to Renault's reaction.



SEE ALSO
Alonso launches Schumacher attack
12 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Briatore backtracks on fix slur
11 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Alonso defiant despite title blow
10 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher win boosts title hopes
10 Sep 06 |  Formula One


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