Mike Stevens | Aug 18, 2009

SPANISH DRIVER FERNANDO ALONSO will race at his home Grand Prix in Valencia this weekend after the FIA Court of Appeal overturned Renault’s one-race suspension.

The French outfit was penalised by stewards at the Hungarian Grand Prix for releasing Alonso from his pit box before his front right wheel had been properly fitted. The wheel subsequently came loose and was launched from the car on his out lap.

With British rising star Henry Surtees dying in a collision with a stray tyre only a week earlier, the stewards took a dim view of Renault’s actions, and banned the team from competing this weekend.

However, after convincing the FIA Court of Appeal it didn’t knowingly release Alonso back into the race without securely attaching the wheel, Renault will now takes its place on the grid.

The Court of Appeal have instead imposed a reprimand and $50,000 fine, the same penalty handed out to Red Bull for allowing Sebastian Vettel to continue lapping in a damaged vehicle at the Australian Grand Prix.

In a statement, the FIA said:

Renault admitted to the court that it breached the sporting regulations, in that it failed to ensure that car #7 complied with the conditions for safety throughout practice and the race, and that it released the car after a pitstop when it was unsafe to do so. However, it requested the court to reconsider the severity of the sanction imposed by the stewards.

Having heard the arguments of the parties, the court has decided as follows:

1. to allow the appeal and overturn the sanction imposed by the stewards in the contested decision;

2. to issue a reprimand and impose a fine of $50,000 upon Renault.

Renault welcomed the FIA’s decision, revealing it believed the previous punishment was excessively harsh.

"The team accepts that the decision of the FIA to issue a reprimand and a $50,000 fine is fair and balanced,” the team said in a statement.

"The ING Renault F1 team now looks forward to concentrating on preparations for racing this weekend in Valencia."

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