Formula 1: Alsonso penalty posse with video evidence causes ridicule and scorn

Now Formula 1 is also struggling with a video evidence scandal.

Formula 1: Alsonso penalty posse with video evidence causes ridicule and scorn

Now Formula 1 is also struggling with a video evidence scandal. "Ridiculous," commented the French sports newspaper "L'Équipe" after the farce in Jeddah about the 100th podium finish of old champion Fernando Alonso.

"Alonso celebrates a podium that comes and goes," wrote "El País" from the Spaniard's home country. Alonso himself summed up the chaos of the night after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: "It's not good for the fans."

He feels sorry for you, he said in the direction of the supporters and added with a view to the rule guardians of the International Automobile Association: "It was more of a Fia show." Even the interim profiteer George Russell called for "common sense" in the sanctions for the pilots.

And the regulatory authority reacted: As early as next Thursday, the procedure should be a topic at the meeting of the sports advisory board of the International Automobile Association, a spokesman said. There should be more clarity before the upcoming race on April 2nd in Melbourne.

bizarre scenes

That is also necessary. When crossing the finish line, Alonso, the Aston Martin team and the fans were able to celebrate third place behind the winner Sergio Perez and world champion Max Verstappen with the 2005 and 2006 world champion. On the podium he was allowed to celebrate with the frighteningly dominating Red Bull duo with a trophy.

What then followed were bizarre scenes and hours in the paddock: It wasn't Alonso but Russell who was hurriedly called to the press conference, where he was able to celebrate third place, until the about-face followed almost four hours after the end of the race.

Alonso remained third, Mercedes driver Russell fourth, he had to give the trophy back to Alonso, which he too had held in his hands a bit in disbelief at the time. In the midst of the clean-up work, Aston Martin once again celebrated the 41-year-old Asturian's podium finish during the night. "What happened after the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was surreal," wrote Spain's Mundo deportivo. "Alonso madness," the Swiss "Blick" called it.

Alonso was stripped of third place because the race stewards subsequently gave him ten seconds. They came to the decision after the video referees had looked at the footage of the disputed scenes again in the so-called Remote Operations Center in Geneva.

The jack is said to have touched the car

In contrast to the first observation, it was apparently found that Alonso and the team had broken the rules when serving a five-second penalty during the race: the jack should have touched the car. "I don't see where he should have docked," emphasized team boss Mike Krack immediately on the Sky broadcaster. His boys would have installed an extra reserve. "If there is a penalty, we need to know why." In the five seconds, no work may be done on the car. However, the application of the jack was interpreted in this way.

The race stewards referred to an agreement between the teams. But, as it turned out when we looked at it again and led to the withdrawal of the ten-second penalty, it doesn't even exist.

Above all, the timing of the confusion of penalties caused further misunderstanding. Because the video assistants initially did not see any violation of the rules when Alonso came in for the pit stop after less than 20 laps during a safety car phase.

Alonso remains calm

During the 50th and last lap, the stewards got the hint from the race control, led by the German Niels Wittich, that something was wrong. Subsequent punishment followed. Aston Martin took action against this and demanded a reconsideration, which then revealed that the race stewards had based their decision on the wrong assumption.

Alonso remained remarkably calm and cheerful throughout the posse for his placement. If he had found out about the ten seconds during the race, he might have increased the gap to eleven seconds, he said with a broad grin. He had already squeezed out the five seconds after not having placed his car as prescribed at the start - at least this is undisputed and visible to everyone. "My mistake," admitted Alonso, who is also in third place behind Verstappen (44) and Perez (43) in the World Championship classification with 30 points after his two third places this year and underlined that Aston Martin is currently the second force in the field behind Red Bull.

"I'm looking forward to Australia next," he emphasized with a view to the classic in Melbourne on April 2nd, where he started in a Formula 1 race for the first time 22 years ago. There was no video evidence back then.