November 3rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso has escaped punishment after the stewards investigated an incident that took place during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As he left the pits after his second pit stop, Alonso found himself battling with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne. Vergne did not give Alonso space to drive alongside him, and Alonso took to the run-off area alongside the track. He managed to pass Vergne in the process, prompting the stewards to investigate the incident as he had made the pass while all four wheels of his Ferrari were off the track.
After a few laps, it was revealed that the stewards would investigate the incident after the race. Alonso finished fifth, but with some doubt hanging over his result, as it seemed that he had certainly gained an advantage by running off the track, which is not permitted in terms of the rules of Formula One.
When summoned before the stewards, Alonso argued that Vergne had not left him room on the track, and that he had no choice but to take to the run-off area. The stewards examined the evidence available to them and agreed that Alonso's explanation was acceptable. He therefore receives no penalty.
During the race, while it was not clear if he would be penalised, Alonso set about trying to build as much of a gap to the cars behind as possible, as he feared there could be a penalty imposed during the race or a time penalty added after the race. If he had been penalised, his finishing position would have depended on the extent of the penalty. A 10-second post-race time penalty would have had no effect on the result. A 20-second time penalty would have put him back to 8th in the results.
As it happened, Alonso escaped penalty and finished fifth, ahead of both of his rivals for second place in the Drivers' Championship.