Alonso handed penalty by stewards for Sprint clash with Sainz

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Fernando Alonso’s was hit with a 10-second penalty by the Chinese GP stewards after Saturday’s Sprint event for causing a collision with Carlos Sainz.

The Aston Martin driver also saw three penalty points added to his super licence for the misdemeanor.

On lap 16, Alonso was clinging onto a hard-fought third place when Sainz, looking for an advantage, attempted an audacious overtake around the outside through turns 7 and 8.

However, as they entered turn 9, Alonso made a last-ditch attempt to defend his position with a late braking maneuver.

This aggressive move resulted in contact between the two cars. While Sainz's car sustained minimum damage, Alonso suffered a front-right puncture, forcing him to retire from the race.

Sergio Perez, who was right behind them, capitalized on the situation and snatched the third-place position.

"Article 54.3 of the Sporting Regulations states if the 10-second penalty is imposed after the end of a sprint session, then 10 seconds will be added to the elapsed time of the driver concerned. We accordingly added 10 seconds to the elapsed time of Car 14,” commented the stewards.

Given Alonso’s DNF, the time penalty was inconsequential overall for the Spaniard, a fact that wasn’t lost on the stewards.

"As an aside to the FIA, we note that the language in the regulations as to when a car has retired and the resultant consequences on penalties that may be imposed or served, especially when that car is otherwise classified, is somewhat unclear and we would recommend that the FIA considers making the necessary amendments to bring greater clarity to this issue," concluded the stewards’ statement.

Alonso has now accumulated six penalty points on his licence over a 12-month running period. As a reminder, 12 points within that period would earn the F1 veteran a race ban.

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