The FIA has reiterated that it will no longer be possible to touch a single-seater with trolleys during pit stops in the event that a driver is called to serve a penalty. The clarification follows the controversial episode that occurred in Jeddah, with Fernando Alonso penalized and then acquitted at the end of the race.
The team of stewards present in Saudi Arabia deemed that no one could touch the single-seater during the stop with pending penalties, penalizing the Spaniard with ten seconds to add to his race time and consequently causing him to drop from third to fourth position.
Aston Martin appealed, showing images of seven other similar cases involving Alpine, AlphaTauri, Mercedes and Haas, in which the trolleys had been positioned to proceed with the lifting of the car, effectively touching the single-seater. The matter had also been previously discussed by the FIA itself, but a definitive decision had never been reached.
The appeal presented by Aston Martin was accepted, and Alonso recovered the third position. There was no lack of criticism of the work of the FIA for not having clarified how to operate in the circumstances seen in Jeddah, and the International Federation itself later observed that on the occasion of the ‘Alonso’ case a lack of clarity emerged in the formulation of the regulations and in the evaluation of previous cases.
Aston Martin pit stop practice
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The subject was on the agenda in the usual briefing between the team principals on Friday morning, and at the end of the meeting a sporting directive was issued which definitively clarifies how to behave in the event of a penalty to be served during a pit stop.
In this scenario, physical contact with the car by team personnel, as well as by equipment, will be considered ‘work’, and consequently a behavior sanctioned by the regulations. Any use of cooling fans during the penalty is permitted provided that these fans do not physically touch the car.
In addition to clarifying what will be allowed to do in cases of penalties to be served during pit stops, the FIA has also decided to increase the starting grid squares by 20 centimeters starting from this weekend, also introducing a continuous line to help the drivers to correctly position the single-seaters. The International Federation has also communicated that the timing with which the penalty to Aston Martin was communicated to Jeddah is also being evaluated.
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