How Fernando Alonso re-gained his 100th podium at the Saudi Arabian GP

Find out the reasons behind Fernando Alonso's 10-second time penalty which cost him a podium at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to George Russell

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Fernando Alonso thought he lost his 100th Formula 1 podium after initially losing third place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as the stewards said he failed to serve his five-second time penalty correctly.

Alonso was given the five-second penalty for not starting in his grid box correctly before he got the jump on Sergio Perez at the start.

He smartly didn’t fight Perez too hard and spent several laps in the Red Bull driver’s DRS to improve his straight line speed and get pulled along.

Crucially, Alonso built a gap of more than five seconds to George Russell, who was third, when the safety car came out for Lance Stroll‘s stoppage at Turn 13.

Five or 10-second time penalties in Formula 1 are either served at your next pit stop or are added on at the end of the race. Whichever scenario comes first deems how the penalty is served.

Alonso hadn’t pitted yet when he was given the penalty so had to serve the penalty at the pit stop.

Article 54.4 c) of the 2023 F1 sporting regulations state the car “may not be worked on until the car has been stationary for the duration of the penalty.”

Replays appeared to show the rear jackperson at Aston Martin may have been touching the car which was initially deemed to be a breach of that rule.

The FIA gave Alonso a 10-second time penalty in Jeddah for not serving his penalty correctly so George Russell was promoted to third because he finished 5.138 seconds behind the two-time F1 world champion.

But, Aston Martin lodged a ‘Petition for Review’ where they can bring new evidence to the table by saying it was not clear the jackperson was touching the car, so the stewards overturned their decision and Alonso got third place after all.

“Having reviewed the new evidence, we concluded that there was no clear agreement, as was suggested to the stewards previously, that could be relied upon to determine that parties had agreed that a jack touching a car would amount to working on the car, without more,” a statement said.

“In the circumstances, we considered that our original decision to impose a penalty on Car 14 needed to be reversed and we did so accordingly.”

Fernando Alonso looks on at the Saudi Arabian GP | Aston Martin

What did the drivers say?

Alonso wasn’t that frustrated after the race when told about his initial penalty, stating he didn’t care that much and remained largely positive.

“It doesn’t hurt much to be honest,” Alonso told Sky Sports. “I was on the podium, I did the pictures, I took the trophy, celebrated with the champagne and now apparently I have three points less.

“I think it’s more of an FIA poor show today more than disappointment from ourselves. You cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after a pit stop.

“They had enough time to really inform about the penalty. If I knew about it, maybe I open 11 seconds to the car behind so today I don’t think we did a good show for our fans.”

Russell added: “The penalty for Fernando is pretty harsh because they are deserving of the podium today. But I will take an extra trophy so I’m not complaining too much!”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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