Alonso’s Wild Journey to third Place on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

A month in the past, if anybody had requested me who the happiest Components 1 driver could be at the beginning of the 2022 season, I’d most likely not have stated Aston Martin racer Fernando Alonso. Now, the 41-year-old driver has claimed back-to-back podiums within the opening two F1 races of the yr. However his third-place end in Saudi Arabia yesterday actually got here with its fair proportion of drama.

Alonso is having an amazing begin to 2023. After leaving Alpine to hitch the British aspect for the brand new season, the Spanish driver sits third within the driver’s standings after ending third in each the opening Bahrain race and this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

However, Alonso’s declare to his second podium of the yr proved contentious this weekend on account of a penalty he picked up at the beginning of the race, and the way in which he served stated penalty. Let me clarify.

Image for article titled Fernando Alonso's Wild Ride to Third Place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Picture: Bryn Lennon – Components 1 (Getty Photos)

Issues began to look troublesome for Alonso on the finish of the parade lap that the vehicles full earlier than the race begins. After operating across the circuit at gradual speeds, every automotive then traces up in its grid field to start out the race. However when Alonso lined his Aston Martin up for lights out at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, he gave the impression to be too far to the left of his field.

As F1 followers noticed in Bahrain, the game’s governing physique retains a detailed eye on a automotive’s place at the beginning of the race, and measures it with sensors on the automotive and monitor. So, as quickly because the message got here in that Alonso was below investigation for his place, a penalty appeared sure.

As anticipated, a five-second time penalty got here Alonso’s means. This meant that when he stopped within the pits to alter tires, the mechanics and engineers must maintain the automotive for 5 seconds earlier than they may start work.

When the Spaniard stopped on lap 18 for recent tires, his mechanics did simply that. This meant that the overall time for Alonso’s cease was 26.879 seconds, the place frontrunner Sergio Perez was within the pits for simply 20.715 seconds.

That, it appeared, was that.

A photo of Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso on the F1 podium.

Picture: Ayman Yaqoob/Anadolu Company (Getty Photos)

However then, within the closing levels of the race, fourth-place-operating George Russell with Mercedes was instructed to try to shut up on third-place Alonso, as a penalty is likely to be coming for the Aston Martin driver. The Mercedes driver was instructed to try to get inside 5 seconds of Alosno, simply in case third place was up for grabs.

Onlookers had been confused, after which Martin Brundle within the commentary field began explaining that it might all be to do with the way in which Alonso served his penalty. Then, lo and behold, after the race was completed and the Spaniard had sprayed his third-place Champagne, he was handed a ten-second time penalty for failing to serve his earlier penalty appropriately.

In keeping with paperwork shared by the FIA, the principles state that mechanics can contact “no a part of the automotive” whereas it’s serving a time penalty within the pits. When Alosno got here in to cease, “it was clear that the automotive was touched by the rear jack,” the sporting physique stated. This counted as “working” on the automotive, and meant that Alonso had did not serve his penalty appropriately.

So, third place was handed to Mercedes’ George Russell, who bought his fingers on the trophy and, presumably, Alonso’s now-empty bottle of Champagne.

Image for article titled Fernando Alonso's Wild Ride to Third Place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Picture: Bryn Lennon – Components 1 (Getty Photos)

Nevertheless it wasn’t over but: Aston Martin appealed the choice made by the FIA and the Components 1 stewards.

The British crew went in all guns-a-blazing for its enchantment. They took footage of different vehicles serving comparable penalties to the stewards, in addition to minutes from the assembly wherein Components 1 selected the definition for “working” on a automotive in a penalty state of affairs. They argued that the steward’s choice that touching the automotive equaled engaged on the automotive was flawed. In keeping with the FIA:

Having reviewed the brand new proof, we concluded that there was no clear settlement, as was advised to the Stewards beforehand, that could possibly be relied upon to find out that events had agreed {that a} jack touching a automotive would quantity to engaged on the automotive, with out extra.

Within the circumstances, we thought of that our authentic choice to impose a penalty on Automobile 14 wanted to be reversed and we did so accordingly.

A photo of Fernando Alonso holding his F1 trophy.

Picture: Bryn Lennon – Components 1 (Getty Photos)

As such, Alonso had his ten-second time penalty reversed, and his podium trophy reinstated. This gave the veteran driver his one hundredth podium in Components 1, making him simply the sixth driver to hit triple-digit podiums, after Lewis Hamilton (191), Michael Schumacher(155), Sebastian Vettel (122), Alain Prost (106) and Kimi Räikkönen (103).


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