“I think it’s more of a sad performance by the FIA than a disappointment for us,” said Alonso at a time when he had to assume he had finished fourth. The penalty transfer against the two-time world champion was pronounced because his pit crew had allegedly started working on the car too early when completing an initial time penalty. The question was whether the jack had touched the rear of the car and that counts as working on the car.
After Aston Martin requested a reconsideration of the case, the race stewards reversed their decision once again. Apparently they had previously referred to an agreement between the teams that does not exist. Applying the jack is therefore not considered work on the car.
Penal confusion about Alonso
Fernando Alonso is allowed to keep his third place from the GP in Saudi Arabia. In the confusion surrounding a demotion after the race on Sunday, the Spaniard and his team Aston Martin were right.
The FIA was particularly criticized for when the second penalty was imposed – more than 30 laps after the incident in question. “You can’t impose a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop. They had enough time,” said Alonso. If he had known about the penalty he could have tried to put an 11 second lead over Mercedes man George Russell. But he didn’t even know that there was an investigation at all.
“I feel sorry for the fans”
In fact, the stewards only came to their decision so late and after shouting from the race management under the German Niels Wittich, because the video referees in Geneva had looked at the footage of the disputed scene again. Then it had to be quick.
If the stewards had waited a little longer before the award ceremony that a penalty was imminent, so the tenor among fans and professional observers, they would have saved Alonso some trouble and instead gave Russell the chance to be on the podium with winner Sergio Perez and his red- Bull teammate Max Verstappen to celebrate. However, it was Russell, and not Alonso, who subsequently attended the top three drivers’ press conference. From today’s point of view it’s all the more wrong again, one could object. “I feel sorry for the fans,” said Alonso after the confusion of penalties.
The problem of penalties and their timing is a well-known problem in all of motorsport, and is somewhat tricky and not easy to solve. It is obvious that the assessment of a situation in the middle of the race, where new scenes constantly have to be viewed, takes a certain amount of time. When it is “too long” is difficult to measure.
It is appropriate and justified that the FIA commissioners reopened the case after intervention by Aston Martin and admitted new evidence. But even that only happened after hearing the team protagonists and after careful consideration. The world authority reacted nevertheless and wants to address the procedure as early as next Thursday at the meeting of the FIA sports advisory board.
Alonso ultimately did not want to deal too much with the incident. “For me, the most important thing was that the car was so strong because we were second fastest,” said the Aston Martin driver. “We were well ahead of Ferrari and controlled the Mercedes,” he added. This is “very good news“. Red Bull is “maybe a little out of reach at the moment, but we’re right behind”.