Fernando Alonso has been reinstated to third position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to cap a farcical couple of hours which 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 given a 10-second penalty which relegated him behind Mercedes’ George Russell.
The FIA had deemed Aston Martin had not properly carried out a five-second penalty at Alonso’s pit stop, mid-way through the race, which he received after not lining up in his starting grid slot correctly.
The FIA’s verdict said the rear jack had touched the car before Alonso had completed five seconds stationary.
After his original penalty was handed out, Alonso criticised the race stewards.
“Today is not good for the fans,” the Spaniard said.
“When you have 35 laps to apply the penalty and you wait until after the podium, there is something wrong in the system.”
After Aston Martin appealed, that penalty was then reversed shortly after 1 a.m., moving Alonso back into third – the 100th podium finish of his F1 career and Aston Martin’s second in a row.
The stewards verdict on the reversal 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 a car would amount to working on the car.
“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.”
An FIA statement 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.”