FIA criticised for Fernando Alonso penalty fiasco

Fernando Alonso was finally confirmed as a podium finisher in Jeddah after a period of debate.

At the start of the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, it was confirmed that Fernando Alonso was not quite within his grid slot for the race start procedure.

Because of this, the Aston Martin driver was given a five-second penalty, the same punishment that Esteban Ocon was given in Bahrain for the same offence.

Also similar to Ocon, Alonso was further penalised to failing to correctly serve his penalty during a pit stop, with the FIA deciding that Aston Martin’s mechanics had breached the rules by touching the AMR23 with the rear jack during the five seconds.

Alonso served his penalty on the 19th lap of the race and was allowed to complete the race and take part in the podium celebrations before the FIA decided that he did not serve it correctly.

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F1 pundit Simon Lazenby has now criticised the FIA for taking so long to make this decision, with the footage of the pit stop being available for analysis for over an hour before they decided to penalise Alonso.

“Surely there was time to review the replay and apply the penalty before the podium,” he tweeted.

To make matters worse, hours after Alonso was stripped of his podium trophy, he was rewarded his P3 finish.

The FIA decided to reinstate the original classification, meaning that George Russell took the third-place trophy off on Alonso, only to be forced to give it back hours later.

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This decision confused fans, as Ocon’s penalty in Bahrain stood after his mechanics were deemed to have touched the A523 slightly too early while the Frenchman was serving his penalty.

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Formula 1 have announced that the FIA will be clarifying the rules surrounding serving penalties ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, hopefully to prevent this drama from becoming a weekly occurrence.

With Alonso’s penalty being rescinded, the Spaniard now officially has his 100th podium in F1 and his second in as many races for Aston Martin.

With two podium finishes for Aston Martin already this season, the team can begin to dream of the runner up spot in the constructors’ championship as they continue to defy expectations.