Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

FIA to review rules after Alonso Saudi Arabian GP controversy

The FIA has promised to review the rules regarding mechanics touching Formula 1 cars in pitstops following the controversy surrounding Fernando Alonso at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Alonso had initially been handed a post-race 10-second drop after a late ruling from the FIA judged that he had not correctly served an in-race penalty for starting out of his grid box.

While officials had initially deemed that Alonso’s car had been stationary for five seconds before mechanics touched it, the FIA later changed its mind.

On the last lap of the race, the stewards were asked to look at video of the incident and they believed that the rear jack had touched Alonso’s car before the time was up.

That was deemed to be a breach of the rules and the subsequent penalty meant Alonso dropped from third to fourth.

However, following discussions with Aston Martin, the team argued that there was no strict definition in the rules regarding touching the car, as regulations state simply that mechanics cannot work on it before the penalty is served.

Aston Martin successfully argued that there had been many occasions where contact had been made with cars in the past and no penalty handed out - meaning Alonso returned to third place in the results.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, provisionally 3rd position, celebrates with his team in Parc Ferme

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, provisionally 3rd position, celebrates with his team in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Amid the uncertainty, the FIA has promised to look in to the matter to clarify exactly what is and is not allowed – with a clear definition to be offered to teams ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

A statement issued by the FIA said: "The request to the Stewards for review of the initial decision (Document 51) was made in the last lap of the race.

"The subsequent decision of the stewards to hear and grant the Right of Review by the Competitor was the result of new evidence regarding the definition of ‘working on the car’, for which there were conflicting precedents, and this has been exposed by this specific circumstance.

"This topic will therefore be addressed at the next Sporting Advisory Committee taking place on Thursday, 23 March, and a clarification will be issued ahead of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

"This open approach to the review and improvement of its processes is part of the FIA’s ongoing mission to regulate the sport in a fair and transparent way."

Read Also:

The review of the rules about mechanics touching the car is likely to be one of several issues relating to the Alonso situation that will come up in the meeting.

With Alonso and Esteban Ocon having been penalised for being out of position at starts this year, there are questions about how difficult it is for drivers to see the grid boxes.

Further questions are being raised about why a formal investigation in to Alonso serving his penalty was only launched on the final lap of the race, despite having been given the all clear when it happened.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Alonso gets Saudi F1 podium back after penalty ruling overturned
Next article Horner: Perez's concerns over Verstappen Saudi GP pace "normal"

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe