Saudi stewards explain Alonso penalty

The decision behind the penalty handed to Fernando Alonso has now been explained by the Saudi Arabian GP stewards

The decision behind the penalty handed to Fernando Alonso has now been explained by the Saudi Arabian GP stewards

The stewards for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix have explained their reasoning for serving Fernando Alonso with an additional 10-second time penalty that knocked the Aston Martin driver off the podium.

Alonso was handed an initial five-second penalty for not being aligned in his pit box at the race start, with the two-time F1 champion siting his AMR23 too far over to the left.

The 41-year-old then served that penalty at his first stop during a safety car period, ironically after team-mate Lance Stroll had parked his car off track with a technical issue.

Alonso then managed his pace throughout the majority of the race to finish third behind a Red Bull one-two spearheaded by Sergio Perez.

Ahead of the final lap, however, he was told to open up a five-second gap to Mercedes’ George Russell to mitigate the possibility of a further penalty. Alonso finished 5.138s clear of the Briton at the chequered flag.

It was not until shortly after the race had concluded, and Alonso had celebrated what was at the time the 100th podium of his F1 career, that it emerged he had received a 10-second penalty.

That subsequently demoted him to fourth behind Russell.

Explaining the reasoning for the decision, and why it did not emerge until so late, a stewards’ document read: “Car 14 had come into the pits during the safety car period to serve the 5-second penalty that was imposed or 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 (Sporting Advisory Committee) 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.”

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