Fernando Alonso handed baffling penalty for Carlos Sainz sprint incident

Sam Cooper
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso wearing sunglasses.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso has been given a 10-second penalty for causing an incident during the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race.

Alonso was at the front of a five-driver line late on in the sprint as he desperately tried to hold onto his P3 spot from both Ferraris, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris. But it was his fellow countryman Carlos Sainz who was putting up the most fight and it appears Alonso overstepped the mark when it came to his defending.

Fernando Alonso handed Chinese GP sprint penalty

The stewards have deemed that it was Alonso at fault for contact that left both drivers with damage. The Aston Martin driver was forced to limp back to the pits and retire while Sainz slipped down the order due to damage to his front wing.

Alonso finished last but the stewards have seen his morning get just a little bit worse by handing him a 10-second penalty.

According to the sport’s referees, Alonso’s move did not meet the driving standards guideline and therefore, a 10-second penalty had to be given out.

But because it was a sprint race, Article 54.3 of the Sporting Regulations state that the penalty time will be added to Alonso’s sprint race rather than the grand prix itself meaning it has very little real effect on the driver.

The more impactful punishment will be the three penalty points put on his licence, taking him up to six after his incident with George Russell in Melbourne.

The stewards also raised an issue with the vagueness of the language in the regulations with regards to what happens when a car has retired. They recommend the FIA make “the necessary amendments to bring greater clarity to this issue.”

Aston Martin earned zero points in the sprint with Lance Stroll finishing 14th while Ferrari scored nine.

Read next: Fernando Alonso claims Carlos Sainz ‘didn’t leave me space’