An aerial view of the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

FIA takes steps to avoid repeating Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon incidents

To avoid a repeat of the recent controversies involving Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, the FIA have decided to widen the grid boxes used for the start of Formula 1 races. The decision was made ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

The issue first came to light this season when Ocon, at the Bahrain GP, was penalized as his front right tire was not within the defined lines of his grid box. He was given a five-second penalty for being out of position on the grid.


Two weeks later, Alonso was hard done by the same issue in Saudi Arabia. He was handed a five-second penalty for being out of position at the start of the race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Many in the F1 world, especially the drivers, have complained about the poor visibility of the grid lines of late. Consequently, the FIA has decided to make changes to the dimensions of the grid boxes. have reported that from this weekend’s race in Melbourne, the grid boxes will be made 20cm wider compared to the last round in Jeddah at 2.7m. The previous 2.5m width was notably 20cm wider than the grid boxes that were used in 2022.

What Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso said after penalties for being out of position in grid boxes


Esteban Ocon was hit with what he referred to as a "stupid" penalty for being out of position at the start of the Bahrain GP. He explained how it was not easy to be in the right place considering how low they sit in modern F1 cars.

Ocon told Channel 4:

“It seems like a stupid penalty that we get there. But it’s not as easy as it looks to park the car in the right place, especially with these big cars, how low we are sitting.
“I honestly didn’t know if I was in the box or not in that race either, so I was a bit shaking, but honestly it’s very, very hard, and all the margins are nothing basically. That’s the rule now and we need to be more cautious with everything we do.”

Interestingly, the Alpine driver warned that more penalties would follow for other drivers, saying:

“I don’t think that’s the end of the story.”

As the Frenchman predicted, the very next race in Saudi Arabia saw Fernando Alonso penalized for a similar issue. The Spaniard also cited visibility issues, though he did own up to the mistake.

Alonso said (via

“I need to pay more attention to that. [It] is a little bit also strange that in two races, two cars, Esteban and myself. We have similar things. So maybe this is cars, or the Halo, whatever it is interacting with the vision of how we position the car. But anyway, that was my mistake.”
Edited by
Anantaajith Ra
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