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Alonso's Penalty Exposes FIA Rule Ambiguity

Alonso’s Penalty Exposes FIA Rule Ambiguity

20/04/2024

Fernando Alonso’s post-race penalty at the Chinese Grand Prix highlights a significant gap in FIA’s current regulations.

Fernando Alonso received a 10-second penalty and three penalty points for his collision with Carlos Sainz during the sprint at the Chinese Grand Prix.

On lap 16, a slow Alonso, clinging to third place, was overtaken on the outside by Sainz at turns 7 and 8, but the Aston Martin driver made a late braking maneuver at turn 9.

This led to contact with Sainz, and the Ferrari driver dropped back a position as Sergio Perez passed both drivers. Sainz suffered damage and Alonso a right front puncture that prematurely ended his race.

In their verdict, the sports commissioners observed that “according to the guidelines on driving standards agreed upon with the teams, an infringement of this nature required that a base penalty of 10 seconds be added to the time of a car that caused a collision.”

“Article 54.3 of the Sporting Regulations specifies that if the 10-second penalty is imposed after the end of a sprint session, then 10 seconds will be added to the elapsed time of the concerned driver. We have therefore added 10 seconds to the elapsed time of car number 14.”

Given that a 10-second penalty had been added to the time of a driver who retired, the sports commissioners indicated that the rules should be changed.

“Through the FIA, we note that the wording of the regulations regarding when a car has retired and the subsequent consequences on penalties that can be imposed or served, particularly when that car is otherwise classified, is somewhat unclear and we recommend the FIA consider making the necessary changes to bring more clarity to this issue.”

Alonso now moves to six penalty points over a 12-month period, halfway to the threshold of 12 points that triggers a suspension for one race.

Alonso's Penalty Exposes FIA Rule Ambiguity

Alonso’s Penalty Exposes FIA Rule Ambiguity. Alonso’s Penalty Exposes FIA Rule Ambiguity

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