"It's absolutely outrageous": Former F1 boss calls out the FIA stewards for their mishap at the Saudi Arabian GP

F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia
Third placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Former Formula 1 team principal Paul Stoddart didn't mince words in his post-race column for RacingNews365.com on the handling of Fernando Alonso's time penalty. Stoddart feels more should be done to save the sport from being exposed to joke decisions.

Fernando Alonso has returned to third place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after the stewards reversed their previous decision to demote him. The Aston Martin driver was demoted to fourth place when it was determined that his staff worked on the car while he was serving a five-second penalty.

Nonetheless, Aston Martin successfully claimed that there had been past instances of drivers not being penalized in such circumstances.The stewards agreed and reversed their previous decision.

It was the end of a confusing series of events that Alonso had already described as a "poor FIA show" when he thought he had been relegated from the podium to fourth place behind Mercedes driver George Russell.

Alonso's initial five-second penalty came for not correctly positioning his car in its grid spot at the start of the race. He served it at his pit stop on lap 18, but stewards penalized him a further 10 seconds at the conclusion of the race because they judged that the rear jack contacting his car before the five seconds had gone constituted "working" on it.

Aston Martin submitted minutes from a recent meeting of F1's sports advisory group (SAG), which addressed seven distinct instances of cars being touched in this manner by the jack without being penalized.

Aston Martin said there was an understanding between the teams and the governing body that it was "incorrect" to declare that "touching the car in any way, even with a jack, would constitute 'working' on the car."

Former Minardi team principal and RacingNews365's expert columnist, Paul Stoddart, stated the FIA's poor functioning as a joke.

He stated:

"Where that Aston Martin was, a couple of inches to the left of the white line? Come on, guys. Is there a racing advantage to be had by doing that? No. Did Fernando get anything out of that? No."
"Then onto when the penalty was served, the rules haven't changed since the days I was there, the rules state you can't work on the car, it doesn't mean you can't be there! You're allowed to be there. I mean, what are we doing? Are we racing, or are we having a laugh here? It's absolutely outrageous."

Fernando Alonso blasts the FIA for putting on "a poor show" following the Saudi Grand Prix penalty

As Fernando Alonso addressed the media after losing his 100th podium finish in Formula 1, he took aim at the FIA.

After a superb performance at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Alonso appeared to have earned back-to-back third-place results to kick off the new season. As usual, he took to the stage and was presented with his trophy and champagne to celebrate.

Fernando Alonso blamed the FIA for "a poor show". He said:

"The FIA, a poor show today – more than disappointment from ourselves. You cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop. They had more than enough time to really inform about the penalty."

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Edited by Yash Singh
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