In rare cases a Formula 1 driver comes penalized more than once during a single race, but the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has reserved this ‘singular’ scenario for the Chinese of Alfa Romeo Guanyu Zhou. The number 24, in fact, first suffered a penalty of 5 seconds for an irregular overtaking on Alexander Albon during the first laps of the race, then receiving a Drive Through for not having correctly served the previous Stop & Go.
To understand exactly what happened in those ‘fatal seconds’ in the pits, it is necessary to refer to what the stewards communicated at the end of the event, who provided a detailed explanation of their decision to call the unfortunate Zhou back to the pit lane: “The commissioners reviewed the video evidence and determined that car 24 entered the pit lane and stopped – reads the note – and was later stopped by the team. Article 54.4 (c) requires that ‘while a car is stationary in the pit lane as a result of a penalty in accordance with Article 54.3 (a), it cannot be worked as long as the car has been stationary throughout its duration. of the penalty. Although the team did not work on the car for five seconds after lifting the car – they added – lifting the car itself is considered to be a ‘job’ on the car, which is prohibited by 54.4 (c). The latter gives the stewards the discretion to disqualify a participant for failing to comply with the article in question. However, given that no action was taken while the car was raised, we felt that the disqualification would have been too harsh, thus imposing a driving penalty “.
Regarding this episode, the Technical Director of Alfa Romeo, Xevi Pujolarprovided his own version of the facts, attributable to an error by the mechanic in charge of lifting the car, aggravated by the double stop a succession of Bottas and Zhou himself: “The boy was unaware that Guanyu himself serving a 5 second penalty – declared the Spanish engineer – why he lifted the machine “. In conclusion, the Race Direction also provided Alfa Romeo with the detailed explanation that resulted in the first penalty: “The commissioners determined that car 24 attempted to overtake car 23 – Albon – braking very late. In doing so, after the lockout, he was unable to stay on track while maintaining his position. By doing so, he gained a lasting lead and stayed ahead of the 23 ″ car.