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Alonso gets Saudi F1 podium back after penalty ruling overturned

The Spaniard finished third behind Red Bull duo Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen at the Jeddah circuit on Sunday.

Shortly after the checkered flag, however, the FIA ​​announced that Alonso had been given a 10-second penalty for improperly serving a 5-second penalty for not entering his starting box at the start of the race .

As a result, Alonso dropped from third to fourth behind Mercedes driver George Russell.

The penalty was imposed after video footage of the incident appeared to show the rear jack briefly touching the back of the car while Alonso waited for mechanics to begin changing the tyres.

However, following the decision, Aston Martin officials went to the stewards to review the situation, believing that the rules for serving penalties were not clear.

While the emphasis was on the jack hitting the car, the regulations do not specifically state that mechanics are not allowed to touch it.

Instead, Article 54.4 c) of the F1 Sporting Regulations states: “While a car is standing in the pit lane as a result of a penalty under Article 54.3a) or 54.3b) above, it shall not be processed until the car has stood for the duration of the penalty .”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said he believed Aston Martin played by the rules and only worked on the car after five seconds had elapsed.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd place, on the podium

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd place, on the podium

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Pictures

He confirmed sporting director Andy Stevenson had raised the matter in discussions with race stewards as he indicated there was some “ambiguity” over the precise wording of the regulations.

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“There were talks,” he said. “There are different things in the sporting regulations because it says ‘don’t work on the car’.

“I think the time was clear, actually it was more than five seconds because we got a bit of a lead.

“The rules say you are not allowed to work on the car and from our understanding we did not work on the car. But I think now this discussion is about whether the jack is touching the car or not. And that, I think, is what is being resolved right now.”

However, the FIA ​​was aware that teams accepted that if mechanics touched the car they would consider it a breach of the rules.

A statement from the governing body said of the sport stewards: “They explained that at the SAC (Sporting Advisory Committee) meetings it was agreed with the teams that no part of the car may be touched whilst a penalty is being served, as this would be the case working on the car.”

However, a few hours after the race, the FIA ​​​​announced that they had changed their minds because Aston Martin said there was no such agreement between the teams.

A statement said: “After reviewing the new evidence, we concluded that there was no clear agreement, as previously suggested to the stewards, that could be relied upon to establish that the parties had agreed that a jack touching a car, a job would be the car without more.

“Under the circumstances, we felt that our initial decision to penalize Auto 14 needed to be reversed and we have done so accordingly.”

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