At the Mexican GP on Thursday night, the stewards first rejected Alpine’s appeal against the Haas F1 Team’s protest that had led to Alonso being penalized at Austin , and then upheld it. The Spanish driver recovers seventh place and the six points he achieved in the United States GP.
Full FIA statement on request for review of stewards’ decision to admit Haas F1 Team (“Haas”) protest against Fernando Alonso’s BWT Alpine Team (“Alpine”)
1. Following the release of the provisional standings for the 2022 United States Grand Prix, Haas filed a protest against the #14 car entered by the Alpine team (the “Original Protest”).
2. The provisional classification was published at 4:09 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2022 (local time).
3. The original protest was filed at 5:03 p.m. that day.
4. The Stewards made a unanimous decision to consider the original protest admissible, despite the fact that it was lodged 24 minutes after the 30-minute deadline, after taking into account the circumstances they determined justified its admissibility, in accordance with Article 13.3. 5 of the FIA International Sporting Code (CSI).
5. The original protest was upheld in a stewards decision taken at 20:53 on Sunday 23 October 2022, and a drive through penalty was imposed on car 14.
6. The final classification was published at 9:00 p.m.
7. This Thursday, October 27, at 8:00 p.m., Alpine filed an appeal for review against the decision to maintain the original protest.
8. At 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, a hearing was held to determine in the first instance whether the party requesting the review (Alpine) had discovered any significant and relevant new elements. The following people were present
- By Alpine – Otmar Szafnauer, Pat Fry and Alan Parmane
- By Haas – Gunther Steiner, Peter Crolla and Ayao Komatsu
- By the FIA – Niels Wittich and Nikolas Tombazis
9. On behalf of Alpine, Mr. Permane [team manager] stated that it was not until 8:53 p.m. on race day that the team became aware that the original protest had been filed 24 minutes after the usual deadline. than 30 minutes, and that it was therefore a significant and relevant new element that was not available at the time the stewards made the decision to uphold the original protest.
10. Mr. Permane also claimed that Alpine was unaware prior to Thursday’s hearing that an FIA race management official had told the Haas team that they had one hour to file the protest, while the time limit for International Sporting Code is 30 minutes after finishing the race, and that this also represents a significant and relevant new element.
Decision on the existence of a new significant and relevant factor
11. The Members, after hearing evidence from all parties, determine that there is a significant and relevant new item that was not available to Alpine at the time of the decision to accept the original claim.
12. Consequently, the stewards determine that it is necessary to review the admissibility of the original claim.
Procedure [for review].
13. All parties agree that, as determined above, the review should proceed immediately without further notice, as all parties are already present and ready to participate.
14. For Alpine, Mr. Permane submitted the following:
- a. The stewards have no “margin” to extend the 30-minute time limit of article 13.3.5 of the International Sporting Code (ISC), unless it is “impossible” for a party to protest during that time.
- b. The word “impossible” sets a “very high” requirement; the Oxford Dictionary defines it as something that cannot happen or be done, and in this case, there was nothing to prevent Haas from bringing the suit within the 30-minute time limit.
- c. The FIA cannot give a competitor permission to contravene the International Sporting Code.
- d. The Haas team acknowledged that it could have filed a written protest within the 30-minute time limit.
15. For Haas, Mr. Crolla submitted the following:
- a. Haas would have submitted a handwritten protest to the stewards within 30 minutes if an FIA official in race management had not informed them that they had one hour to do so.
- b. The stewards can use their discretion in these matters, as they have the “ultimate authority” over the application of the rules and have the power, under the International Sporting Code, to “settle any question”.
16. The FIA representatives did not present anything.
17. The Stewards accept Alpine’s argument that the word “impossible” does indeed set a very high standard and that, in hindsight, that high standard was not met in this case.
18. A fact of great importance, and unknown to the stewards until now, is that Haas could have lodged a handwritten protest within 30 minutes. By definition, that fact alone means that it was not “impossible” to file a protest within 30 minutes and therefore the original protest should not have been considered admissible.
19. Consequently, the stewards determine that the original protest was not admissible and that the decision [to penalize Alonso] is invalid.
No penalty is applied to car #14 and the final classification must be amended and re-published.
20. The Stewards are, notwithstanding what has been previously determined, concerned that car no 14 was allowed to return to the track with a loose rear-view mirror which eventually came off, and strongly recommend that procedures be put in place to monitor these types of matters and, when necessary, demand that the problem be rectified, as has been done many times in the past, either by radioing the team or by displaying the orange and black flag demanding that the car return to the pits to fix the problem. The teams also have a responsibility under article 3.2 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations. And we also understand that the FIA President has initiated a review of the use of the black and orange flag.