While the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was not as dramatic as expected there was drama post race which saw Aston Martin and the FIA come to blows post race.
Fernando Alonso was hit by a 10 second time penalty at the end of the race which saw him drop from a 2nd consecutive podium for both him and Aston Martin. The Saudi Arabain Grand Prix saw Alonso stand on the podium for the 100th time in his career but would it see him keep it?
When the Spaniard pitted during the safety car on lap 19 of the 50 lap race in Jeddah, Alonso had to serve a 5 second penalty for positioning his car incorrectly on the grid. Alonso had placed his AMR23 too far to the left which would not allow the FIA's censors to pick up the car if he had jump started. Fernando's teammate Lance Stroll unfortunately had to pull over after a suspected braking issue which caused the safety car.
While serving the penalty Alonso's rear jackman looked to have touched the car which initially handed Alonso the penalty. The FIA saw this as the mechanics working on the car during a penalty which is illegal. The stewards eventually handed Alonso a 10 second time penalty which saw him drop down to 4th place.
The 10 second penalty was handed out to the Aston Martin driver post race meaning that after all was set and done with the podium celebration, photos and trophy collection Alonso was removed from his 100th podium in F1. Third place was given to Mercedes driver George Russell who was 5.1s behind Alonso at the chequered flag. In the post race interviews Russell had admitted that the penalty Alonso was given was too harsh and undeserving.
An hour after the race Aston Martin launched an appeal against the 10 second penalty and went into the stewards room fighting for their place on the podium. The British squad turned up to the appeal with 7 different times when the same incident occured. But that was not their only standing argument...
The FIA have a limit to 30 laps when deciding and awarding a driver or team a penalty. When Alonso pit and served his penalty there was 31 laps towards the end of the race meaning that the stewards themselves had ignored their own regulations when handing out penalties. Aston Martin argued that the FIA had more than enough time to hand them a penalty and to take even more time than was permitted saw the penalty be reversed.
Alonso was reinstated to 3rd place and his 100th Formula 1 career podium.