Local favourite Fernando Alonso escaped a potential demotion on the Spanish Grand Prix grid after his Ferrari team released him into the path of Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg during Saturday's qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Instead, the race stewards fined Ferrari $20,000 for the near-miss, which left Rosberg fuming as he rejoined the track to begin his final qualifying run. The German could only manage eighth on the grid - out-qualified by veteran team-mate Michael Schumacher for the first time this season - while Alonso gave the Barcelona crowd something to cheer with a spot on the outside of row two.
"It's a serious thing and I think it's correct that they got a fine," Rosberg told reporters, "They really need to try and do better next time. There were some photographers standing there and, if we'd collided, it gets very dangerous for them. It was not good."
The FIA concurred, punishing Ferrari for an 'unsafe release' under Article 23.1 of the 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations and referring the team to Article 31.1, which 'requires all pit-lane and track and safety measures to apply to all practice sessions as for the race'.
Alonso later claimed that he had been unsighted as he left the Ferrari garage following a mid-session refuel, and Ferrari was adjudged to have been guilty in the incident after failing to check that there was no traffic in pit-lane as they waved the double world champion back into the fray.
"I didn't see Nico unfortunately, the angle of vision is not perfect to see anyone coming from the pits, so you rely on your mechanic," the Spaniard said afterwards.