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FIA clarifies F1 penalty pitstop rules after Alonso debacle

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23 pit stop. 19.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images fia pitstop penalty

Formula 1 officials confirmed that teams can no longer touch their cars with jacks during penalty pitstops in the wake of the Fernando Alonso debacle at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Aston Martin driver Alonso was handed a controversial five-second penalty for an error on the starting grid, in Jeddah, and then another for failing to serve it properly – the rear jack being in contact with his car before the five seconds were up.

The additional penalty saw the twice F1 world champion demoted to fourth from third but stewards later rowed back on the decision after Aston Martin successfully appealed against it, putting Alonso back on the podium.

With teams banned from working on cars during penalty pitstops, on Friday in Melbourne, the F1 governing FIA issued a directive to clear up the matter ahead of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

“For clarity and until further notice, in this context the physical touching of the car or driver by hand, tools or equipment (including the front and rear jacks) during any such penalty will all be considered to constitute work,” the FIA said.

The directive follows an FIA decision to widen grid slots at Albert Park for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after Esteban Ocon and Alonso were penalised for missing their marks in the season’s first two races. (Reporting by Ian Ransom)