After many hours of discussion, the FIA has finally decided to cancel the penalty imposed on Fernando Alonso last Sunday at the Formula 1 US Grand Prix, acquitting the Spanish driver of any wrongdoing.
The FIA had scheduled a hearing with the Haas and Alpine teams in Mexico City on Thursday following a protest against the penalty handed down to Fernando Alonso at the US Grand Prix on Sunday for driving on track with a damaged car. The Spaniard finished the race in seventh place and was eventually given a 30-second penalty following a protest by the Haas team, which dropped him out of the top ten.
Fernando Alonso points returned
A few hours later, the Alpine team lodged a protest with the FIA against the Haas team’s protest, which it said was lodged outside the legal time limit and was therefore invalid.
On Thursday evening in Mexico City, the FIA confirmed that it had rejected Alpine’s protest and that its decision to penalise Alonso would stand:
“The stewards note that the protest lodged by Alpine is not admissible and the protest fee is lost,” the FIA said.
But following this decision, the Alpine team exercised its right of review and eventually won its case, meaning that Fernando Alonso’s penalty is officially cancelled.
Alpine successfully argued that it was not impossible for Haas to meet the 30-minute time limit for lodging a protest, as it could have done so with a handwritten submission, although the FIA told Haas that it had one hour, and that the stewards had no power to extend that time.
The stewards are also concerned that Fernando Alonso’s damaged car was not flagged during the race (black and orange flag) and want procedures to be put in place to move forward. The decision adds that FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has launched a review of the use of the black and orange flag in Formula One.
Fernando Alonso’s penalty being overturned means that the Alpine driver recovers his seventh place and the points associated with it, as does Alpine in the constructors’ championship.