Jack off! The FIA has clarified the rules of engagement for teams executing a time penalty during a pitstop, stipulating that jacks cannot touch a car during its prescribed period of immobilization.

The FIA has intervened following the confusion that reined in Jeddah last time out when Fernando Alonso was brought in by his Aston Martin crews to serve a 5-second penalty for lining up incorrectly on the grid.

But as the Spaniard ground to a halt and triggered the clock, an Aston mechanic positioned his jack in place, ready to handle the subsequent tyre change.

The stewards initially judged that the jack had touched the AMR23, which equated to ‘working on the car’ during a pitstop penalty, an offense for which Alonso was handed a post-race 10-second sanction that dropped the Aston driver off the podium.

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But the team subsequently contested the penalty in a right to review process, arguing that there was no clear agreement on a jack touching a car being a transgression of the rules.

The stewards’ decision was overturned late in the day and Alonso’s final spot on the podium was confirmed.

However, for the sake of clarity, the FIA has amended the rules governing the usage of jacks during a pitstop penalty through a directive from Single-Seater Sporting Director Steve Nielsen.

Article 54.4 of the Sporting Regulations now states that “whilst a car is stationary in the pit lane as a result of incurring a penalty, it may not be worked on until the car has been stationary for the duration of the penalty”.

“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 use of cooling fans during a penalty is permitted providing any such fan does not physically touch the car.

“As is already common practice, multiple penalties incurred prior to a car’s pit stop can be served in series at a single pit stop. For example, a 5sec + 10 sec penalty can be served as a single 15sec penalty and so on.”

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