The FIA's on-again, off-again relationship with penalties and rules took another odd turn Friday. Formula 1's governing body overturned Fernando Alonso's post-race penalty from the United States Grand Prix last weekend and restored his 7th-place finish, up from 15th, after he was dropped down the grid for having a loose mirror that fell on the racetrack.
"BWT Alpine F1 Team thanks the FIA stewards for convening and reaching a positive conclusion on the matter involving Car #14 from last weekend's United States Grand Prix," Alpine said in a tweet.
Haas F1 protested the finish after the race, saying Alonso's car was unsafe on the track but did not issue a statement Friday morning regarding the overturned penalty. Haas lodged their complaint about Alonso's car last Sunday, saying stewards should have called the car unsafe for the track after similar incidents with Kevin Magnussen's car earlier in the season netted him time penalties during those races. Haas lodged a similar complaint about Red Bull's Sergio Perez, whose front wing was also damaged in the USGP, rattled loose, and could've injured another driver or damaged a car. The FIA did not penalize Red Bull or Perez for that damage after the race.
On lap 22 of the USGP, Alonso collided with Aston Martin's Lance Stroll on track. Alonso's car was repaired in a pit stop immediately after the crash, although his right mirror became loose and eventually fell off during the race. Alpine argued that the mirror fell off without dangering anyone else on track and pointed to a similar incident with Mercedes and Ferrari cars that weren't penalized in previous races. Coincidentally, Alonso and Stroll are slated to be teammates next year at Aston Martin.
The ruling and following retraction point to several inconsistencies from race stewards regarding rules and equal application of penalties. The same could be said for cost-cap infractions, although it's unclear what penalties Red Bull and Aston Martin face for purported violations of the spending rules. It goes without saying that there are a few things to consider since 2021 when the eventual driver's champion Max Verstappen finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton in very hazy circumstances. Insert shrug emoji.
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