Fernando Alonso has been reinstated to third position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to cap off a ridiculous couple of hours that followed the podium ceremony.
Alonso lifted the third-place trophy after finishing behind the two Red Bulls, but shortly after celebrating on the podium he was handed a 10-second penalty that relegated him behind Mercedes’ George Russell.
The FIA had deemed Aston Martin to have failed to correctly execute a five-second pit stop penalty for Alonso, mid-race, which he received after failing to line up correctly on his starting grid spot.
The FIA verdict said that the rear jack had touched the car before Alonso had completed five seconds standing.
After his original penalty was applied, Alonso criticized the race stewards.
“Today is not good for the fans,” said the Spaniard.
“When you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and you wait until after the podium, there is something wrong with the system.”
After Aston Martin appealed, the penalty was reversed shortly after 1am, moving Alonso back to third – the 100th podium of his F1 career and Aston Martin’s second in a row.
The commissioners’ verdict on the reversal stated: “Having reviewed the new evidence, we came to the conclusion that there was no clear agreement, as previously suggested to the commissioners, which could be relied upon to determine that the parties had agreed that a cat touching a car is equivalent to working on the car.
“Under the circumstances, we considered that our original decision to impose a penalty on Auto 14 should be reversed and we did so accordingly.”
An FIA statement said: “The request to the Stewards for review of the initial decision (Document 51) was made on 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 conflicting precedents existed, and this has been exposed by this specific circumstance.
“Therefore, this issue will be addressed at the next Sporting Advisory Committee which will take place on Thursday 23 March, with clarification to be issued ahead of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. This approach is open for review. and improving its processes is part of the FIA’s ongoing mission to regulate the sport in a fair and transparent manner.”