Times are certainly tough for the FIA currently, with the governing body having to embarrassingly revert a penalty they awarded to Fernando Alonso at the United States Grand Prix last weekend, after being seemingly corrected by the Oxford Dictionary.
Alonso, who crossed the line in seventh at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend, was awarded a 30-second time penalty after the race, which demoted him to P15, after the FIA decided that he should’ve been awarded a black and orange flag.
The Spaniard was, of course, part of the huge crash down the main straight with Lance Stroll, where the 41-year-old almost flew into the air as a result.
Remarkably, he recovered from last to claim seventh place, before it was taken away from him by the FIA.
After the race, Haas appealed to the FIA that Alonso should’ve been forced to pit for repairs, after completing 25 laps with a broken wing-mirror following the collision.
The wing-mirror actually ended up falling off the car, supporting the Americans argument.
At the time, the governing body agreed with Haas and awarded the penalty, with Alpine protesting as a result.
The protest hearing was heard on Thursday ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, where the penalty was reverted after it was revealed that Haas didn’t protest to the FIA until after the 30-minute deadline.
The rules state that a protest can only be made after the 30-minute window if it is ‘impossible’ for a side to do it within the timeframe.
Haas had the chance to do it within the window, but incredibly didn’t after being told by the race director that they could appeal after it.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner revealed the incredible information to commentator David Croft during FP1; however, it still couldn’t stop the penalty being reverted.
Following the hearing, Haas released the following statement regarding their timing of their protest.
“Haas would have submitted a handwritten protest to the Stewards within the 30 minutes had it not been told by the FIA official in Race Control that it had an hour to do so,” said a Haas representative.
Alpine also released a statement of their own, where their use of the Oxford Dictionary appears to have won Alonso back his P7 finish.
“a. There is no ‘leeway’ available to the stewards to extend the 30-minute deadline… unless it is ‘impossible’ for a party to lodge the protest within the deadline period,” said an Alpine representative.
“b. The word ‘impossible’ sets a ‘very high bar’ – the Oxford Dictionary defines it as being something that cannot happen or be achieved and that, in this case, there was nothing preventing Haas from lodging the protest in time.”
It continues to set an embarrassing tone for the FIA. The FIA released the following statement, to close the matter:
“The stewards accept the argument of Alpine that the word ‘impossible’ indeed sets a very high bar and that, in hindsight, that very high bar was not met in this case.
“Of significant importance is the fact, unknown to the Stewards previously, that Haas could have lodged a handwritten protest within the 30-minute deadline.
“By definition, this fact alone means that it was not “impossible” to lodge the protest within 30 minutes, and therefore the original protest should not have been admitted,” concluded the statement.