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Alfa Romeo "communication problem" behind Zhou double penalty

Alfa Romeo "communication problem" behind Zhou double penalty

F1 News

Alfa Romeo "communication problem" behind Zhou double penalty

Alfa Romeo "communication problem" behind Zhou double penalty

Alfa Romeo head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar has revealed a "communication problem" was to blame for the mix-up that caused Guanyu Zhou to be penalised twice in Saudi Arabia.

Zhou was handed a five-second penalty for passing Williams driver Alex Albon while off the track.

Drivers will not be penalised if they relinquish the position "at the earliest opportunity" this year but in failing to do this, the stewards ruled Zhou had "gained a lasting advantage".

Time penalties can be served in the pits before any work is completed on the car, but after the front jack operator lifted the car, the Chinese driver was hit with a drive-through penalty.

“With the penalty, we had a communication problem there. That is why the guy touched the car," explained Pujolar.

“The front jack was not aware that it was a five-second penalty and that is why he touched the car.”

FIA lenient as DSQ was an option

After the car had been lifted, no further work was completed by the team until the five seconds had passed.

Despite this, the FIA revealed when handing out the secondary penalty that it could have disqualified Zhou from the race but decided to show leniency.

“Although the team did not work on the car for five seconds after jacking the car up, the jacking up of the car itself would be ‘working’ on the car, which is prohibited by 54.4(c)," read the stewards' document.

“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 jacked up, we considered that disqualification would be too harsh and outcome. We therefore imposed a drive-through penalty.”

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