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How the FIA will address Alonso penalty chaos before Australia

The FIA will make clarifications before the next race in Australia, following the post-race penalty chaos that ensued with Fernando Alonso in Saudi Arabia.

The FIA will make clarifications ahead of the Australian Grand Prix after "conflicting precedents" were found that led to the penalty chaos with Fernando Alonso after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Alonso was initially denied his 100th podium after the FIA handed him a 10-second time penalty at the end of the race, for failing to properly serve an earlier five-second time penalty during his pit stop for being out of position on the grid. While serving these time penalties, teams are not allowed to work on the car at any time. But after a review of video evidence following a request on the last lap, the stewards deemed that a mechanic touched the car with the rear jack during the stop and that it constituted as "working" on the car. Aston Martin appealed the decision by arguing that the "agreed position" about what counted as "working" was "incorrect," providing seven examples in the past of when teams have touched the car while serving the penalty. Three hours following the race – and after George Russell had been given the third place trophy by Alonso – the stewards reversed their initial decision and reinstated the Aston Martin driver back on the podium.

FIA explains 'conflicting precedents' led to penalty chaos

Now the FIA will conduct a review and provide clarification for teams ahead of the next race in Australia, after it found "conflicting precedents" were "exposed by this specific circumstance." "The request to the Stewards for review of the initial decision (Document 51) was made in the last lap of the race," a spokesperson told RacingNews365.com . "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." The circumstances were nearly identical to what happened to Esteban Ocon during the Bahrain Grand Prix, in which the Alpine driver received a hat-trick of penalties. While Ocon reviewed the penalties with the stewards after Bahrain and understood their position, Alonso criticised the FIA in the wake of the Saudi Arabia GP for their "poor show" over how long it took them to investigate their initial decision. Teams are likely to conduct a review with the FIA into the circumstances surrounding the confusion over what constitutes as 'working' on the car while serving these penalties. Questions could also be raised over whether drivers can see their grid slots properly in the cockpits.

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