Motor racing-F1 clarifies pitstop penalties after Alonso confusion

Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 31, 2023 Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso during practice REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Formula One officials confirmed on Friday that teams can no longer touch their cars with jacks during penalty pitstops in the wake of the Fernando Alonso controversy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Aston Martin driver Alonso was handed a five-second penalty for an error on the starting grid at Jeddah and then another for failing to serve it properly - the rear jack being in contact with his car before the five seconds were up.

The additional penalty saw the twice world champion demoted to fourth from third but stewards later rowed back on the decision after Aston Martin successfully appealed against it, putting Alonso back on the podium.

With teams banned from working on cars during penalty pitstops, the governing FIA issued a directive to clear up the matter.

"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 FIA said.

The directive follows an FIA decision to widen grid slots at Albert Park for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after Esteban Ocon and Alonso were penalised for missing their marks in the season's first two races.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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