Radio communication problem led to Zhou’s double-penalty

Michelle Foster
Zhou Guanyu in his Alfa Romeo race suit and mask. Bahrain, March 2022.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, on the grid wearing his race suit and a mask. Bahrain, March 2022.

Xevi Pujolar says a “radio communication problem” led to the jackman lifting Guanyu Zhou’s car, resulting in the Alfa Romeo driver’s double penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Racing at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday night, Zhou was hit with a five-second penalty when he overtook Alex Albon off the track as the two battled for 15th place.

The Chinese rookie came in to serve that when he made his first pit stop of the night, however, minutes later it emerged that he had another penalty, this time a drive-through, for failing to take the first penalty.

It turned out that when he stopped the jackman had lifted the car before then dropping it and the team pausing for the five seconds.

That meant, under F1 regulations, the car had been worked on thus the second penalty.

Guanyu Zhou and Alfa Romeo pit stop at night. Saudi Arabia March 2022

Alfa Romeo head of trackside engineering Pujolar explained that it was the team’s decision to double-stack Valtteri Bottas and then Zhou that led to a moment of miscommunication.

“We did a double pit stop and we had a radio communication problem there,” he told The Race.

“That’s why the guy touched the car because we do it with two jacks. The main jack went on the first one and the second one with the radio communication problem.

“The front jack was not aware that it was a five second penalty. That’s why he touched the car.”

As for Zhou’s issues out of the first corner on the opening lap, Pujolar says that was the anti-stall kicking in.

Fighting Daniel Ricciardo for position, Zhou mounted the kerb and clipped the McLaren as he changed gears.

That caused the anti-stall to kick in, the driver falling to the back of the field.

“For the anti-stall, it is something that we need to go through with Zhou,” said Pujolar.

“There’s nothing wrong with the car thing, he has got the feeling that the revs are still OK but it’s actually not OK because it’s too low.

“We need to see what can we do to mitigate that issue in the future because now it [happened] twice.”


He added: “It’s just maybe his feel with this kind of situation, to hear the engine revs and when it’s stalling.

“We have to analyse a bit better, in more detail with more time. When he’s touching the car at some point maybe then it’s dropping too low and he didn’t realise.

“Everything is working as expected but for him, it’s just something that he needs to understand, but there are different ways to solve that problem and we’ll have a look at what’s the best way to do it for Melbourne.”


The issue that led to Zhou’s extra penalty

Guanyu Zhou was given a second penalty for incorrectly serving his first penalty.