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Why Alonso's post-race Saudi GP penalty was overturned

Fernando Alonso's post-race penalty in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been rescinded by the stewards - here is why they came to that verdict.

Fernando Alonso's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix penalty was overturned and his 100th Formula 1 podium reinstated after "significant and relevant" new evidence came to light. Aston Martin sought a Right of Review to Alonso's 10 second time penalty handed out post-race, which demoted him off the podium and handed George Russell P3. Alonso had originally been given a 5s penalty for being out of position on the grid - too far to the left - and served it at his only pitstop. However, on the final lap of the race, the stewards were informed by race control that they felt the penalty had been incorrectly served due to the rear jack touching the car. Following precedent of Esteban Ocon getting a penalty for a similar offence in Bahrain - albeit with the front jack - the stewards awarded Alonso the 10s addition to his race time as the team had worked on the car before the original penalty was served. However, in Aston's Right of Review, the team presented seven different instances of rear jacks being in place while a driver was serving a penalty, with no further sanctions in those cases.

Alonso penalty overturned

In the Right of Review, Aston presented minutes from a Recent Sporting Advisory Committee meeting, showing the seven instances. Racing director Andy Stevenson also provided evidence that the perceived agreement of a jack touching the car would constitute working on the car as incorrect and as a result, the stewards verdict was wrong. This was deemed acceptable by the stewards, who permitted the Review, and subsequently overturned their original decision, thus reinstating Alonso's podium.

Stewards statement

"Having reviewed the video evidence presented and having heard from the Team representative of Aston Martin and the relevant members from the FIA, the Stewards determined that there did exist significant and relevant new evidence as required under Article 14.1.1 to trigger a review of the decision, in particular the video evidence and the verbal evidence from the Team and from the FIA," read the verdict from the stewards. "It was clear to us that the substratum of the original decision, namely the representation of there being an agreement, was called into question by the new evidence. "We therefore proceeded to hear the substance of the request for review. "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, without more. "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."

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