FIA clarifies penalty rules and amends grid slots

Zak Mauger/Motorsport Images

FIA clarifies penalty rules and amends grid slots

Formula 1

FIA clarifies penalty rules and amends grid slots


The FIA has issued a technical directive clarifying what constitutes working on a car ahead of the Australian Grand Prix following Fernando Alonso’s incidents in Jeddah.

Alonso was too far to the left of his grid slot at the start of the race and picked up a five-second time penalty that he served during his pit stop, with Aston Martin touching the car with the rear jack prior to using it once the penalty had been served. Initially cleared at the time, Alonso was then hit with a post-race time penalty that demoted him from third for serving the penalty incorrectly, before Aston Martin won a right of review stating there was no agreement that touching the car counted as working on it.

After reinstating Alonso in third place, the FIA stated it would address the topic before Melbourne and has now issued a clarification via a technical directive that states touching the car with the jack will no longer be allowed.

“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 technical directive from FIA single-seater sporting director Steve Nielsen read.

The directive also states cooling fans can be used during a penalty as long as they don’t touch the car, and multiple penalties can be taken at once (for example, if a driver has one five-second and one 10-second penalty, they can serve them as a combined 15-second penalty).

The FIA is also looking into ways of addressing the initial cause of Alonso’s penalty after Esteban Ocon was also too far to one side of his grid slot in Bahrain. The slots at Albert Park have been widened by 20cm, while a center line is being trialled to aid driver positioning.