Alonso critical of FIA following late penalty


Fernando Alonso has criticised the Jeddah stewards for taking over half the race to decide whether he should be penalised.

No sooner had the race started than the Spaniard was investigated for an "incorrect starting location", and handed a 5-second penalty.

According to the stewards, video evidence showed that at the time of the start signal, the contact patch of the car's left front tyre was outside of the starting box.

Fair enough.

The Spaniard served his penalty under the Safety Car, and such was his lead over George Russell that he continued to hold the position.

Late in the race, whilst George Russell questioned whether Alonso had served his penalty - only to be told that he had - the Spaniard was warned to maintain a 5s advantage over the Mercedes driver "just in case".

No sooner had the race ended than the stewards announced that Alonso was under investigation for not serving the penalty correctly, as was the case with Esteban Ocon in Bahrain, and duly hit him with a further 10s penalty which dropped him to fourth, though by this time he had already taken part in the podium celebrations.

TV replays showed the rear jack touching Alonso's car during the 5 seconds in which he was supposed to be serving his penalty, hence the second penalty,

More than anything, the Spaniard is annoyed that it took so long to make the decision, since if he had been warned earlier he might have been able to build the necessary advantage over Russell.

"Today is not good for the fans," he said, "when you have 35 laps to apply a penalty and to inform about the penalty.

"There is something really wrong in the system, but it's the way it is.

"It's not fair for George (Russell)," he added, "as I guess the Mercedes sponsors will love to be on the podium, for us it's good, we have Aramco, we have the pictures.

"It's not fair for George as if he really was third in the race he should enjoy the podium and not me, I feel sorry for George, for Mercedes sponsors, for George's fans.

"But I really enjoyed the podium," he smiled. "I had the trophy, I had pictures, I celebrated with the champagne and now to have 15 points or 12 points it really doesn't change much for me. But it's a bit sad for the FIA.

"I think it needs to come back to common sense," he warned. "We don't need to invent anything. The thing is that they told me you have five seconds penalty. So I push a little bit harder, and I open seven seconds and I pay the penalty. In the second stint there was no investigation, no information. No nothing.

"If someone tells me you have 10 seconds I open 11 seconds."

As for the original penalty, the Spaniard fully takes the blame.

"I need to re-watch the race, but apparently I was too much on the left. So it was my mistake, I need to pay more attention to that.

"But it is a little bit strange that in two races, two cars, Esteban and myself. We have similar things. So maybe this is cars, or the Halo, whatever it is interacting with the vision of how we position the car. But anyway, that was my mistake."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Jeddah here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 19/03/2023
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