Saudi Arabia GP | The clarification around Alonso’s reinstated podium finish

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Photo: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

By Connor Bacon

Aston Martin’s successful appeal of Fernando Alonso’s penalty he received after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix means he becomes only the sixth driver in F1 history to score 100 podiums.

Alonso initially lost third place to George Russell because he was handed a 10- second penalty after the race, for incorrectly serving a five- second penalty during his pitstop.

Aston Martin’s rear jack-man had touched the car before the penalty had been served, and therefore he was considered to have begun work before he was supposed to.

However, it was not understood by the stewards at the time that the regulations do not prohibit mechanics from touching the car.

Article 54.4c) of F1’s sporting regulations states: “While a car is stationary in the pit lane as a result of incurring a penalty in accordance with Article 54.3a or 54.3b above, it may not be worked on until the car has been stationary for the duration of the penalty.”

Despite this, the stewards believed that there was an acceptance among teams that any contact with the car would constitute “working” after it was agreed at a prior sporting advisory meeting.

But, after Aston Martin’s appeal, the stewards accepted that such an agreement didn’t exist after they were shown “video evidence of seven different instances where cars were touched by the jack while serving a similar penalty.”

A statement said: “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 the car would amount to working on the car.

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

There will be a clarification over what jack[s] can touch the car before a penalty has been served after the FIA’s acknowledgment of “conflicting precedents.”

It has been established in previous sporting advisory meetings that the front jack is used to guide the cars position into the pit box, with no note of the rear jack having the same use.

However, the understanding has not made it into the official regulations and therefore Aston Martin has argued that it should be applied universally to both jacks.

The clarification should be made by the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.