FIA announces another rule change after Fernando Alonso incident

Fernando Alonso finished third at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Following a recent meeting of the F1 Commission, the wording of article 54.4 of the sporting regulations has been changed, after it was thrown into the spotlight at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The FIA came under fire at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit following a penalty which was awarded to Fernando Alonso, after the Spaniard was deemed to have not properly served a five-second time penalty.

Alonso was awarded the initial penalty for starting the race outside of his grid slot, with the Aston Martin driver having then served it during his one and only pit-stop.

Under Article 54.4, a car isn’t allowed to be worked on whilst it’s serving a time penalty, something the FIA found Aston Martin guilty of.

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It was noted that the rear jack had been touching Alonso’s car whilst the penalty was being served, with the governing body having awarded him a further time penalty for not serving the initial penalty correctly.

As a result, he was demoted from third to fourth after the podium celebrations, with the Spaniard having later handed the trophy over to George Russell.

However, Aston Martin appealed the penalty due to the wording of the article, which stated that you simply couldn’t work on the car, something the rear jack wasn’t doing.

“The regulations say you cannot work on the car,” Krack said.

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“It is maybe a little bit ambiguous but this is something that we need to look at.

“We have a clear procedure for it, we have a countdown and everything was actually fully safe. There was no advantage gained from it.”

As a result, the team’s appeal was successful, with Alonso’s second penalty having been revoked, meaning he was reinstated to third.

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To clear up any future cases of the same incident the FIA have now changed the wording of the article, with it now making much more sense.

Article 54.4 now states that “touching the vehicle or the driver with your hand or with tools or equipment is considered work”.

It means that from now on, nothing is allowed to be in contact with a car that is serving a time penalty, until it has been correctly served.