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FIA clarify pitstop penalty process after Alonso confusion

The clarification has been issued by single-seater director Steve Nielsen after Fernando Alonso's incident in Saudi Arabia.

The FIA has clarified how Formula 1 drivers must serve in-race penalties following the confusion around Fernando Alonso in Saudi Arabia. Alonso was parked too far to the left of his grid box in Jeddah, and was hit with a five-second penalty, serving it at his sole pitstop. However, despite the penalty appearing to be correctly served, race control reported to the stewards in the closing laps that this was not the case - the rear jack appearing to touch the Aston Martin before the five-seconds had elapsed. Alonso was handed a further penalty, demoting him off the podium, but Aston later were successful in getting the decision overturned, reinstating the 100th podium of his career. A similar situation had unfolded with Alpine driver Esteban Ocon in Bahrain, with the FIA now clarifying that no equipment whatsoever must touch the car when it is serving a penalty.

FIA clarification on pitstop penalties

In a message sent to all team managers and other FIA officials, including race director Niels Wittich, single-seater director Steve Nielsen has outlined the FIA's stance going forward. After Aston managed to use ambiguity in the rules to overturn the Alonso penalty , Nielsen has closed the loophole. "For clarity and until further notice, in this context the physical touching of the car or driver by hand, tools or equipment (including the front and rear jacks) during any such penalty will all be considered to constitute work," he wrote. Cooling fans remain permitted when a penalty is being served, but the fans must not physically touch the car until the time has elapsed. The clarification is in place starting from the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

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