Mercedes refuse to confirm they were responsible for Fernando Alonso’s penalty

Fernando Alonso was initially demoted to fourth place after a ten-second post-race penalty was imposed before his podium was reinstated following Aston Martin’s appeal.

The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ended in confusion on Sunday.

After he celebrated on the podium, the stewards demoted Fernando Alonso to fourth place by imposing a ten-second post-race penalty for incorrectly serving his five-second penalty on lap 18.

The debate centred around whether an Aston Martin mechanic had touched the car with a jack while waiting for Alonso to serve the penalty in his pitbox.

However, the penalty was overturned and the podium reinstated after Aston Martin appealed, presenting minutes from a meeting of F1’s sporting advisory group that discussed seven similar instance where drivers weren’t penalised.

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The situation sparked confusion for fans and derision from drivers, with Alonso blasting the FIA in his post-race interview.

“Today is not good for the fans. When you take 35 laps to apply a penalty and to inform about the penalty and you inform after the podium, there’s something really wrong in the system,” he said.

Even George Russell, who would’ve taken third if the penalty remained in place, called on the FIA to show “a little bit of common sense” in the future.

According to newspaper Bild, Mercedes were responsible for the saga, having alerted the FIA to the incident.

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“According to our information, it was the Silver Arrows who gave the FIA race stewards the hint through their radio system during the race,” the German publication reported.

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Mercedes have declined to comment on the claim but team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the team saw the incident and “played the video a few times,” as “it wasn’t entirely clear if there would be a penalty.”

“We need to discuss whether a penalty is correct if the jack just touches the car,” the Austrian added.

“Maybe that needs to be changed,” he continued.