Explained: Farcical nature of Fernando Alonso penalty and why it was taken back
There was some late drama post-race at the Saudi Arabian GP after Fernando Alonso was stripped of his P3 spot after he was found guilty of not serving his five-second penalty properly during his pitstop. However, his podium was reinstated after the FIA decided to overturn the decision post Aston Martin's appeal.
The two-time world champion was found guilty of grid slot infringement during the start of the race and was handed a five-second penalty by stewards. He served his five-second penalty during his pitstop in the safety car period. However, the stewards were notified that one of the engineers had touched the car with the rear jack during the stop.
While serving a time penalty during pitstops, teams are prohibited from working on the car while the driver serves their punishment. Alonso was given a further ten-second penalty post-race after the FIA found the team guilty of 'working' on the car.
The British team decided to appeal the decision and reportedly presented seven other samples of the same punishment without penalties. While overturning the decision, the FIA said:
“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 (Alonso).”
"I am happy in the end with the result tonight and our second podium" - Fernando Alonso
The Aston Martin F1 driver said that he was happy to secure back-to-back podiums for the team and also the 100th of his career. Speaking to F1.com, Fernando Alonso said:
“I am happy in the end with the result tonight and our second podium. We showed that we can be the second-fastest team, and we had a good pace throughout the race. It was my mistake at the start with the position on the grid, but we pushed to make up that time.
"Coming into this weekend, we were not sure exactly where we would be, so this is good news for us going into the next few races. I am looking forward to going to Australia next.”
With his podium reinstated, Fernando Alonso moved to third in the championship, behind the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. He will now hope to fight for wins against the Austrian team.