Fernando Alonso stripped of 100th career podium after 10-second penalty demotes him to P4

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

Double World Champion Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

Fernando Alonso has been demoted from the podium by the FIA stewards for being found to have not served his five-second penalty correctly during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, being given a further 10-second penalty after one of his mechanics made contact with his car before the five seconds had elapsed in the pit lane.

The Spaniard had already been penalised for lining up in his grid slot incorrectly at the start, his Aston Martin being parked too far to the left and the stewards responding by forcing the Aston Martin driver to wait in his pit box for five seconds before his car could be worked on at his first stop.

He came in to pit under Safety Car conditions after team-mate Lance Stroll had pulled over for an energy recovery issue during the race, but while Alonso was waiting, the mechanic on his rear jack is alleged to have touched his car before it was allowed to be worked on – meaning the penalty was not served correctly.

This prompted the FIA stewards into action and, with the rules surrounding this being extremely strict, a 10-second penalty was applied after the race and Mercedes driver George Russell was promoted to the podium as a result, with Alonso falling down to fourth.

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This incident bears resemblance to the issue Alonso’s former Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon faced in Bahrain in the season opener a fortnight ago, though the Spaniard had already taken part in the podium ceremony in Jeddah before his penalty was applied.

The two-time World Champion had finished as ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bull pair of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen on the road, before being placed under investigation after the race for his car allegedly being worked on before his five-second penalty had been served.

Despite contact with the rear of his car appearing to be minimal, a strict enforcement of the rule has come into place from the FIA and a 10-second penalty was applied, dropping Alonso down a place and putting him back down to 99 career podiums in Formula 1.