The case of the penalty first imposed and then removed from Fernando Alonso officially ended yesterday evening with the podium back in the hands of the Aston Martin Racing driver, but it is destined to have important consequences over the next few weeks.
After what happened yesterday at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the FIA has promised to review the rules concerning the mechanics who touch the Formula 1 cars during the penalties to be served at the pit stop following the controversy that broke out due to the penalty given to Alonso.
After the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the checkered flag waved and the podium ceremony was completed, the Asturian was given a 10-second time penalty. The marshals assessed that the 5″ penalty for not lining up correctly in the starting square had not been adequately served.
Initially, once the 5″ penalty had been served, the FIA had considered the operations carried out by the team to be perfect. But one lap from the end of the race, the marshals were asked to examine a video in which it was possible to see the forklift touching the AMR23 number 14 during the 5″ penalty.
This was deemed by the stewards to be a breach of the regulations and this dropped Alonso off the podium, resulting in George Russell being promoted to third place.
But that certainly didn’t end with the 10″ penalty for Alonso. The Aston Martin team argued that there was no strict definition in the rules regarding contact with the car during the time that elapses to serve a penalty.
In fact, the teams cannot work on the single-seaters stationary for the set time, but it is not well specified in the sporting regulations that they cannot touch them. The mechanics – says the regulation – cannot intervene on the car before the penalty has been served.
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
In the uncertainty, the FIA accepted Aston Martin’s objection and re-examined the case to clarify the incident and the interpretation of the rule. The consequence is that Alonso has been handed back the podium, the 100th number of his career in Formula 1 and the second of his new adventure with Aston Martin, with the team obtaining a victory from a regulation point of view.
This decision has set an important precedent, but the FIA has promised it will look into the matter to clarify exactly what is permitted and what is not, offering a clear definition to the teams ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, next round of the World Championship.
A statement released by the FIA reads: “The request for review of the initial decision (document 51) was presented to the stewards during the last lap of the race.
The subsequent decision by the stewards to hear and grant the right of review by the competitor was the result of new evidence regarding the definition of ‘work on the car’, for which there were conflicting precedents, which was highlighted by this specific circumstance”.
“The matter will then be addressed at the next Sports Advisory Committee to be held on Thursday 23 March and a clarification will be issued ahead of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.”
“This open approach to reviewing and improving its processes is part of the FIA’s ongoing mission to regulate sport in a fair and transparent manner.”
Another topic that could be on the agenda is related to the positioning of the single-seaters in the starting grid boxes. This year Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon received a 5″ penalty for having lined up outside the box with part of their cars.
One wonders, therefore, how difficult it is from the cockpit to have the correct perception of the positioning of the single-seaters and how complicated it is to see the boxes.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Leave a Reply