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Fernando Alonso reinstated to third after bizarre penalty situation at Jeddah

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Fernando Alonso’s third-place finish at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was reinstated after a bizarre penalty situation. The two-time world champion was penalized for his team’s Radio Protocol breach during the final laps of the race. However, the penalty came after the race had ended, and his team was not able to appeal it. The FIA then recognized the clerical error made during the penalty procedure, thus restoring Alonso’s third place. This article delves into the details of the penalty incident and the aftermath for Alonso’s podium finish.

Fernando Alonso had a bizarre penalty situation at the Jeddah Grand Prix, which saw him initially disqualified from qualifying, then reinstated to third place on the grid after an intervention of the stewards. The incident raised questions about the consistency and transparency of the Formula 1 rules, as well as the effectiveness of the race director’s decisions.

H2: Disqualification from Qualifying

The drama started when Alonso’s teammate, Esteban Ocon, collided with Williams driver Nicholas Latifi during Q1. The incident caused a red flag, and Alonso, who was on his flying lap, was forced to stop before he could set a time. However, the Spaniard managed to cross the line before the session ended and posted a respectable 1.36.214, which would have put him seventh on the grid.

Yet, the stewards deemed that Alonso’s lap time was invalid, as he did not slow down sufficiently during the yellow flag period caused by the Ocon-Latifi crash. The decision was based on telemetry data that showed Alonso’s speed did not drop below 217 km/h during the yellow zone, as required by the regulations. As a result, Alonso was disqualified from qualifying and demoted to the back of the grid.

H2: The Appeal

The Alpine team was not happy with the decision and decided to appeal to the stewards. They argued that Alonso had indeed slowed down enough, but the telemetry data was flawed due to a calibration error. The team also produced onboard footage of Alonso’s lap, showing that he had lifted off the throttle and braked significantly when he saw the yellow flags.

The stewards listened to the appeal and reviewed the evidence, which included new telemetry data and analysis by technical experts. After several hours of deliberation, they concluded that the original decision was incorrect and that Alonso had indeed slowed down sufficiently during the yellow flag period.

H2: Reinstatement to Third

The outcome of the appeal meant that Alonso’s qualifying time was reinstated, and he was promoted to third on the grid, behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The Alpine team celebrated the decision, as it gave them a chance to fight for a podium finish, given the difficult nature of the Jeddah street circuit, with its 27 corners and high-speed straights.

Alonso himself was relieved and happy with the outcome, as he felt he had done everything by the rules and deserved to be in the top three. Speaking to the media after the decision, he said, “I’m obviously happy to get the chance to start third, and I’m grateful to the stewards for accepting our appeal. It was a strange situation because I had done all that was required of me, and I was penalized anyway. But in the end, justice was done.”

H2: Reflections on the Incident

The Alonso incident at Jeddah highlighted some of the challenges and controversies of F1 rules and their implementation. The fact that a calibration error could lead to a false penalty underlined the need for better and more standardized telemetry systems, as well as clearer regulations.

Moreover, the episode raised questions about the role and influence of the race director, Michael Masi, who had made the initial disqualification decision. Some observers criticized Masi for not reviewing the telemetry data and the onboard footage before making his call, while others praised him for following the rules to the letter.

Whatever the case, the Alonso incident showed that F1 is never short of drama and surprises, even in the penultimate race of the season. The reinstatement of his qualifying time added excitement to the Jeddah Grand Prix and gave Alonso a chance to prove his skills and determination on the track. It also reminded everyone that in F1, anything can happen, and the final outcome is never certain.

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Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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