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FIA clarify controversial Alonso Saudi Arabian GP penalty

FIA clarify controversial Alonso Saudi Arabian GP penalty

FIA clarify controversial Alonso Saudi Arabian GP penalty

FIA clarify controversial Alonso Saudi Arabian GP penalty

The FIA has revealed Fernando Alonso came close to being disqualified at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after failing to correctly serve a five-second time penalty.

Alonso was under investigation for a starting procedure infringement almost as soon as he took the lead from Sergio Perez into the first corner.

This was due to his car being out of position on the grid - the Spaniard having placed his car too far to the left. This is the same error as was made by Esteban Ocon in Bahrain.

Further mimicking the Frenchman, Alonso's Aston Martin mechanics then made contact with his car during his pit stop before the five-second sanction had elapsed.

But this was not spotted until late on in the race, when the stewards received a report of the incident, with a 10-second penalty subsequently dished out.

This robbed Alonso of his 100th F1 podium, pushing him down to fourth as George Russell was handed the silverware.

Matters could have been worse for the two-time champion as the FIA has the power to disqualify a car that is serviced during a penalty period.

However, this punishment was not handed to Alonso as it was noted there was no physical work on the car, despite the contact.

FIA report IN FULL

"Car 14 had come into the pits during the safety car period to serve the 5-second penalty that was imposed on Car 14 for being out of position at the starting grid. As is customary, race control aided by the Remote Operations Centre (ROC) in Geneva examined whether Car 14 served its penalty in accordance with the regulations. The Stewards were informed that both race control and ROC had determined that the penalty had been properly served. The stewards did not examine the matter further thereafter.

"Subsequently, at the last lap of the race, the Stewards received a report from race control that they considered that the penalty was not properly served by CAR 14 and they asked the Stewards to investigate the matter. The matter was reported to race control by ROC.

"The Stewards were shown video evidence of how Car 14 served the penalty by the Race Director and the Sporting Director. They stated that what was agreed at the SAC meetings with the teams was that no part of the car could be touched while a penalty was being served as this would constitute working on the car.

"In this case, it was clear, that the car was touched by the rear jack. Based on the representation made to the Stewards that there was an agreed position that touching the car would amount to “working” on the car, the Stewards decided to impose a penalty.

"Article 54.4(e) gives the Stewards the discretion to disqualify a car for failure to comply with Article 54.4(c). However, given that no work was done while the car was touched, we considered that disqualification would be too harsh an outcome. In the circumstances, the Stewards imposed a 10s penalty on Car 14."

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