Alfa Romeo has failed in its bid to overturn the points-stripping penalty that was handed to Kimi Raikkonen following the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last month.
Raikkonen finished ninth in Imola but was later given a stop-go penalty, converted to a 30-second time penalty as it was post-race, for not regaining his position behind the safety car after a spin ahead of the red-flag restart.
The time penalty dropped Raikkonen out of the points, prompting some confusion as to the exact reasoning for the punishment, given there appeared to be inconsistency.
The team lodged a petition with the stewards to seek a review, which was granted and which took place prior to the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The stewards, however, have decided not to overturn the original verdict, with the penalty still applied, ultimately costing Alfa Romeo and Raikkonen two points.
The stewards, in particular, noted that the regulations for the resumption of a race after a suspension were changed in 2018.
A statement added that: "These include the option for a standing re-start or a rolling re-start.
"A red flag during a Formula One race is a rare occurrence and the circumstances
for a rolling restart are even rarer. Since 2018 there has been no precedence
for the circumstance that the driver Raikkonen was in.
"In the stewards’ original decision, we stated that 'The rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, has been in the FIA Formula One sporting regulations for several years and has been
"All of this is correct, except that the stewards recognise that there has been no precedence.
"In making this statement the stewards were referring to Formula 2 and Formula 3 cases but did not discuss this with the competitor in the original hearing.
"In brief, this was the reason that the review was granted. Ultimately it was agreed
that these cases were not on point and that no precedence exists in any
championship since the regulation was enacted. Thus, the case has been
reconsidered on the merits.
"Art 42.6 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations indicates that a driver may pass to regain his starting position including [and importantly in this case] 'during the lap(s) behind the safety car' and if he fails to regain his position before SC1 he must enter the pit lane and start from the pits.
"Failure to do this incurs a mandatory penalty of a ten-second stop and go penalty."
Despite Alfa Romeo pointing to several articles in the regulations, and "that it was the original intent of the working groups that proposed the regulations, that the rolling start at the beginning of the race, a re-start after a safety car period and a rolling restart at the resumption of a race should be handled in the same manner", the stewards had to apply the regulations that "for each situation are different".
The team also asserted "that had they had several laps, they would have had the opportunity to discuss the situation with race control and avoided the breach".
While the stewards accepted that as "a mitigating circumstance", it felt obliged to uphold the mandatory penalty of a 10-second stop and go - converted to a 30-second post-race penalty.
The stewards added that "the mandatory penalties that are in the FIA Formula One
Sporting Regulations are specifically intended to take discretion regarding penalties out of the hands of the stewards, even or specifically when the stewards find mitigating circumstances. The competitors are a part of writing these regulations."
In response, a team statement from Alfa Romeo read: "Alfa Romeo Racing acknowledges the decision of the FIA and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix stewards to uphold the original penalty to driver Kimi Raikkonen, following a review of the incident. The team’s focus is now fully on next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.