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Grosjean penalty was coming, say drivers
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Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Sep 2012   |  8:49 am GMT  |  244 comments

It was interesting to speak to a few of the drivers privately after the race in Belgium and to hear that some of them welcomed the stewards’ tough stance on Romain Grosjean, banning him from the next race in Monza. One or two said that the ban should have been longer.

Clearly there is a problem here with two drivers in particular: Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Their fellow drivers are upset with their repeated incidents involving other drivers and don’t feel safe racing against them.

Grosjean has been involved in incidents at the start in Australia, Malaysia and Monaco among seven in total and, like Maldonado, has clearly been punished by the stewards this weekend as a way of making them take a long hard look.

A racer’s instinct is one thing, but it’s costing their teams valuable points and is a concern for other drivers.

Maldonado was handed a five place grid penalty at the next race in Monza for jumping the start today and another 5 place penalty for causing an accident with Glock at the restart. This was on top of a three place grid penalty yesterday for blocking Hulkenberg. He has had quite a few run-ins with other drivers, particularly Lewis Hamilton.

An hour or so before the stewards’ decision was announced, Fernando Alonso was asked whether he felt that the stewards should take some decisive action with Grosjean. Alonso was almost taken out by the Frenchman at the start in Monaco and was taken out by him today. He said,

“It may be a good opportunity. It’s true that we saw some repeat accidents for the same people and maybe a different approach from the Federation can be the solution. But it’s not easy; all the incidents are different. F1 with the speed, with the time, the distance, it’s difficult to combine these three elements and sometimes something that looks spectacular on TV is not so easy to avoid in reality.

“(At the start) The first thing was Maldonado; it was still the red lights and he was already P3 or P2, ” said Alonso before turning attention to Grosjean.

“I’m not angry,” he said of being knocked out of the race. “No-one does this on purpose. I think they were fighting and they are two aggressive drivers on the starts, Lewis and Romain and this time it was us in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“It’s true also that in 12 races he (Grosjean) had seven crashes at the start…

“The drivers need to have common sense, to have respect for the others.”

Ironically the driver steward in Spa was Eliseo Salazar, the Chilean driver who caused an accident with Nelson Piquet in Germany in 1982, which led to Piquet attacking him in the famous “punch-up” incident.

A further irony is that the last time Grosjean raced an F1 car at Spa in 2009, he crashed into Jenson Button on the opening lap, eliminating the then championship leader!

Lotus can replace Grosjean for Monza and Eric Boullier has indicated that the likely replacement will be Jerome D’Ambrosio, the reserve driver. A decision will need to be made quickly to allow time for the replacement to get up to speed in the simulator.

Grosjean was apologetic about triggering the accident at the start, when he swerved across the road towards Lewis Hamilton, giving him nowhere to go and causing a four car pile up which also eliminated Sergio Perez and Alonso.

“I did a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis,” said Grosjean. “I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident. I didn’t change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall – I’m not here to stop the race in the first corner. I’m very, very sorry and I’m glad that nobody is hurt.

“But I have to say it is a very, very hard decision to hear.”


Eric Boullier, the Lotus team boss defended his driver, once again,
“He was not responsible for seven incidents. He was involved in seven incidents, which is different,” said Boullier. “But obviously being in the wrong place is not good; and that means we have to keep working and talking, which is more talking I think, about the reason why he is in the wrong place. He will learn even more if he does not put too much pressure on himself at the start of the race.”

Meanwhile Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali believes that the FIA should be tougher on drivers in the junior categories so they have more respect when they reach F1. Many in F1 noticed the number of accidents this weekend in GP2 and GP3; there is a kind of desperation about many of these young drivers who know that their chances of progressing into F1 in this economic climate are virtually non-existent and who are so desperate to catch the eye and impress and to get results.

“I can only say that the judgement falls to the FIA,” said Domenicali. “What is certain is that, it would be better if, starting with the junior formulae, rules relating to on-track behaviour were enforced in an inflexible manner, so as to have drivers as well prepared as possible when they reach this, the highest level of motor sport.”

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244 Comments
  1. Pulkit Tripathi says:

    I totally agree with Stefano, these days in GP2 and other mini series many crazy accidents happens and ROGO-Maldo comes form them…. Poor Saubers were hurt but James again FIA making testament such as “Eliminating Leading Championship Contenders”?

    1. Erik W says:

      I totally agree.
      They have lost touch with reality since it is so safe these days.

      They also doesn’t seem to know where there car is or how to place it. Most junior F1 drivers that is too.

      Narain who crashed into Vettel when let him pass but clipped him when moving back. No car feel. The same with Gro now. Maldonado who in anger run into Lewis and lost his car into Perez when overdriving to defend.

      They should have a cumulative system expecially in the junior series. 2 racing incidents or 1 major misjudgement and from then on heavy penalties. If they cannot race they might consider playing it safe. If you already are starting from the second half of the grid no grid penalties will prevent you from taking ths risks again and again.

      1. collin doyle says:

        enough covering for Vettel’s inexperience by blaming Narain for his stupidity. He cut across and puncture his own damn tire. I’m neither a fan nor a hater, but I’m grow tired of people either buying into the spin from the team, or wearing blinders.

        Vettel’s a fantastic driver, but had no one to blame but himself for that incident, and his immaturity showed in his reaction to that incident.Interesting that he’s changes his tune recently and chalked it up to a “racing incident”.

        That being said, Romain needs to discover that although you rarely win a race in the first corner, you can certainly lose a race. He and Maldonado are simply to reckless, and although in the lower formulas drivers may back off for fear of wrecking the car, that will not happen in F1.

      2. Erik says:

        +1 about Vettel. The incident with Karthekayan was very similar to him chopping across Webber a few years back at the Nurburgring. He had a similar immature reaction to that incident and no one bought the notion that it wasn’t his fault except his team.

        He raced well this weekend though so he’s maturing I guess.

        And maybe that’s the point. Perhaps this maturing process needs to happen away from F1…

    2. MrNed says:

      I think you mean “precedent” not “testament”, and it’s a good point. I think the stewards did the right thing – they had to send out a message, not only to the individual drivers but to the whole F1 field – IMO most of them are capable of “red-mist” moments, as many have shown us.

      However, I fear that this decision is going to create a farce at some point in the future: If the stewards are citing the fact that champ contending cars were eliminated as being justification for harsher punishment then they HAVE set a precedent. And given that the precedent exists then how long before a team tries to exploit it in some way? Maybe a Red Bull and a Ferrari collide in a racing incident – if the stewards apportioned blame in the incident then the innocent driver’s team could demand that the other driver be banned from the next race. It’s not hard to imagine some teams adopting such a tactic.

      Plus, because this is precedent not thought-through regulation, then how can it be fair when applied in future? What defines “championship contending”? Surely it means any car that has a mathematical chance of winning the title… so in the early season that’s everyone (even HRT), and in a season like this, where no one driver is streaking away in the points, the “championship contending” group of drivers could stay pretty large for quite a few more races yet.

      Like I say, I think the stewards did the right thing with the ban, but I also fear that we will come to rue the specific wording / justification that the stewards used.

      1. jv says:

        I fully agree. They should penalize the deed not the result. If Grosjean had done the exact same move but nothing serious had happened would it then be OK. I hope not.

        Some thing I noticed is that there were a lot of wheels off the leash at this event. There was one that I thought for sure was going into the crowds. That may be some thing the FIA needs to look at again.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Not really, theres only so much you can do with wheel tethers before the forces are being transfered through the car and to the driver.

      3. Andrew Carter says:

        I’ve yet to see anywhere that the stewards are pointing to it being title contenders that were wiped out as reason for the ban. There has, obviously, been a lot of talk amongst all the journalists concerning the fact that two title contenders were taken out but it’s mostly fans comments that are presupposing this as a reason for the ban, and not the fact that it was a bad move that caused a big accident.

      4. MrNed says:

        I assure you that the stewards decision specifically cited the fact that the punishment’s severity was due to the fact that title contenders had been taken out in the crash.

      5. Mike J says:

        Andrew…see the FIA Media website and the Stewards Document Notice No:57.

        quote ‘…The Stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the Race. The Stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty”

        Take that as you may as to how much the Stewards took into account that the accident eliminated title contenders.

      6. Andrew Carter says:

        To Mike J and MrNed. I hadent seen that document so thanks for the quote. It doesnt specificaly say that the title contenders being wiped out was a reason but the fact that it includes that at all is a surprise.

        My questioning comes fromthe fact that historically stewards tend to be harsher to backmarkers than front runners.

  2. k5enny says:

    It appears that the stewards turned a blind eye to Grosjean when he was taking out Schumacher every other race.

    Now that he takes out Alonso, he gets a ban..

    –this should have been handed out at the second or third race of the season.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      In all fairness, Grosjean’s tangles with Schumacher didn’t result in a car nearly meeting a head.

      1. iGOR BdA says:

        Huh? Do you need a car nearly meeting a head in order to take preemptive action? Dear God…

      2. Leali says:

        spot on keny, what they should have done is give him this penalty on his second crash because if let Grosjean near the top five you allways gonna have this happening over and over.

    2. AlexD says:

      No, this time it is Hamilton and other cars. And he almost killed Alonso.

    3. Geee says:

      Not too sure if he should have had a race ban for those incidents…however I agree they were overlooked.Rather annoying when you’re a Schumi fan.

    4. TheGreatTeflonso says:

      It’s too bad your sharp eye didnt catch one of the earlier races this year when Grosjean simply drove into the back of Alonso… There was some damage to the Ferrari but he carried on. So this is the second time for Alonso.

    5. JC says:

      Agree. Maldonado should have been also out for a race IMO.

  3. tara_185 says:

    Whoa that seems a bit harsh – i’m sure i’ve seen worse incidents that haven’t been punished that way.
    I guess its good the FIA is making a stand but they have to follow that up at least til the end of the year.

    1. **Paul** says:

      I agree, the contact wasn’t massive (but when tyres touch each other bad things happen) and certainly not intentional, the chain of events it set off was pretty horrific. I think that’s more the reason why we saw a ban this time.

      Given some of the things that we’ve seen Maldonardo, Massa, Hamilton and Schumacher do in previous years it’s surprising that Grosjean is the first to be banned for such a long time.

      I still can’t help but think that because the people taken out by the accident were at the front of the grid that perhaps the penalty is harsher than it would have otherwise been.

      A timely reminder to drivers to play fair and keep their noses clean I think.

      1. Stickymart says:

        Possibly, but it was very dangerous to try and carry out that sort of manouvre at the start of the race when a large train of cars are fighting for the first corner. The odds of a severe accident are so much higher as there are simply so many cars in the same area. Has Gros done this on the straight after 10 laps i’m sure his actions wouldn’t have been so severely punished but this just goes to show how the junior drivers need to think a little more before comitting themselves to tricky moves.

      2. Craig says:

        I feel kind of split on this one I feel grosjean deserves his penalty but I also feel its kid of harsh as it was a very dangerous accident but it was more out of his stupidity rather then any maliciousness on his part.

        Maldonado on the other hand has twice deliberately taken people out when he sideswiped Hamilton at Spa last year and Perez at Monaco this year. I think if grosjean deserves a 1 race ban then maldo deserves at least 3 due to the fact that his crashes were premeditated

  4. Jacques from France says:

    Good morning every one,
    No doubt about it, the punishments on Grosjean & Maldonado are deserved.
    Having said that, what I really be looking for, is an harmoniszed ruling system throughout all categories from GP3 to F1.
    And that is up to the FIA to implement, “pronto” meaning starting before the 2013 season!

    1. k5enny says:

      here here…
      they make it up as they go…
      who ever herd of a 3 place penalty??
      A few years back alonso got a 1 sec qualifing penalty…
      Remember a few seasons back, Schumacher got a 25 second penalty for passing alonso (monaco after the safety car came in)- yet he had broken no rules!!
      also hamilton penalty as spa a few years back for gaining an advantage from cutting a corner – despite the fact that he gave back the position, and crossed behind his oponent, before overtaking at the next corner!!

      There must be some consistancy!!

      1. Sarb says:

        It wasn’t a 3 place grid penalty….his best time got deleted and he dropped 3 places as that’s where his next fastest lap dropped him to.

      2. Dominic J says:

        Formula1.com reports it as a 3 place penalty and I’m fairly sure only Kimi and Jenson set more than one lap time in Q3.

        Having said that I think Maldonado did very well, he’s only had 3 penalties in the last 5 weeks! Actually it’s 8 weeks since he was fined at Silverstone, but who’s counting?

        Given that Vettel’s 25 second penalty in Germany was accompanied by “we don’t have a choice”, it seems odd that a 3 place penalty was found for Pastor (5, 10, “to the back” and “start in the pits” all being more common).

        I would also like to echo those calling for a cumulative penalty system (equivalent to 3rd yellow card in a football tournament leading to a one match ban).

      3. puffing says:

        ‘ Schumacher got a 25 second penalty for passing alonso (monaco after the safety car came in)- yet he had broken no rules!!’
        No, the rules stated that those passes were forbidden, and so was told to some drivers who radio-asked their engineers for confirmation. And the engineers said, ‘no, it’s forbidden’ (i.e., to Hamilton).

  5. Buj says:

    I definitely think Maldonado should’ve gotten the same punishment several races ago.

    1. RobertS says:

      Agreed. is good to see these punishments finally happening though. As long as they are used sensibly and not handed out for every contact. I thought there was a 3 strike rule, introduced a while ago?

      1. Buj says:

        Grosjean’s accidents come off as exactly that, an inexperienced driver making mistakes. I really really can’t seem to see Maldonado’s in the same light. It really looks like he does it on purpose.

      2. RobertS says:

        true.

      3. Romeo - MEX in USA. says:

        Ditto, although Grosjean has been around the block so he should do better. Maldonado is a hot blooded out of control revenge looking [mod] as Perez puts it.

    2. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      MAL deserves a significant penalty just like GRO or worse. GRO has a good attitude about his driving and is apologetic when he does something wrong (not say that this makes up for anything). But MAL on the other hand has a bad attitude and wants to blame everyone else around him, plus the fact that he has incidents on purpose (remember PER in FP3 in Monaco, HAM in Spa race 2011). Mal can’t control his car or his anger and as a result drives dangerously and is a embarassment to the level of racing F1 should be!

  6. Anton says:

    “(At the start) The first thing was Maldonado; it was still the red lights and he was already P3 or P2″

    Stating the facts – Made me laugh hearing Alonso’s description of the events :)

    1. Yes no one seems to mention that by coincidence (?) it was Maldonado and his jump start that triggered the whole event. By jumping he left a big gap that Grosjean dived into.

      Also I don’t believe it was a small mistake, to drive like that, swooping from one side to the other at the start with so many cars around – it’s dangerous, it could cause an accident!

      1. Nigel says:

        The aggressive move across the track in itself wasn’t dangerous – there was a gap, and Grosjean had out-started Hamilton. Just about every leading driver in F1 has made that kind of move one time or another.
        What caused the accident was Grosjean then cutting across into Hamilton’s car space in the mistaken belief that he had passed him – overeagerness, and lack of experience I think, rather than malice.
        (Had he left that move another couple of tenths, he would have been in front of Hamilton.)

        The race ban was entirely merited, and I hope that Grosjean will benefit from it.

      2. jv says:

        The thing is with turn one so close to the start line that is a much higher risk move than it would be at other tracks.

        I know in previous drivers meetings at Spa they have made a point of making sure every body under stands the risks and works hard to get every one through turn 1. This isn’t Manaco you don’t have to win before turn 1. The next drivers meeting should be a doozy. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that one.

      3. Daniel MA says:

        Haha yes you’re absolutely right, even this incident was indirectly Maldonado’s fault, but then again you could also say it was Hamilton’s fault for not moving etc.

      4. SpencerB says:

        Moving to where exactly??

      5. JayWest says:

        I think I agree with the point you’re trying to make. It’s been suggested that Maldonado having created “a space” for Gro to “dive into” placed some of the blame on Maldo for the main accident. You could equally place blame, following that line of reasoning, on any other car that created the “space” for Gro or Hamilton to move into an eventually lead to the collision. It was a bad crash, but the cause was rather obvious – it invovled two cars touching because they were both where they happened to be at that given moment. Gro says he thought he had already gone passed Ham – he was mistaken. Should have a had a better look, right? No need to be expanding the blame to other drivers and cars.

      6. knoxploration says:

        A lot of people are grossly exaggerating the effect of Maldonado’s jump start, including Alonso, who claims Pastor was up to P2 or P3 before the lights changed. That’s complete and utter nonsense.

        Carefully watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sCaRAty9iY&t=0m32s and you’ll clearly see the lights were out before Maldonado had finished departing his grid slot, let alone before he overtook anybody.

        Note that I’m not saying Pastor didn’t jump the start. The track sensors clearly show he did, or he wouldn’t have gotten a penalty. That “jump” will have been a matter of inches to a couple of feet at most, though, not positions.

        Pastor drives like an idiot a lot of the time, but to blame him for the start accident is utterly ridiculous. He was closer to getting a perfect start than he was to having caused the accident, which was unquestionably Romain’s fault.

      7. I’m not blaming him for the accident – just mentioning it, he’s a rolling disaster who should have “why always me?” stencilled onto the top of his helmet.

        Or maybe he (and Grosjean) should have one of those safety messages on their wing mirrors, like American cars do.

      8. quest says:

        Watching frame by frame it is very clear Pastor moves before the lights go off. Also it’s not just a matter of how much he moves before the lights go off. By the time the others start moving Pastor would have already picked up some speed and hence would always be at a higher speed than the others till they break for the first corner. So the net advantage is much higher.

        However blaming the incident on him is ridiculous.

  7. Tommy Grant says:

    James! Could you please explain why your knee-jerk reaction was to lay the blame of the incident squarely on the shoulder of Lewis Hamilton? To jog your memory I quote your tweet “…Hamilton gets crossed up on the brakes and wipes out Grosjean, Alonso and Perez…”

    1. James Allen says:

      I didn’t blame Hamilton! I’ll need to look into that.

      If you listened to Radio 5 Live, I called it as Grosjean coming across on LH and giving him no-where to go

      1. Rachel says:

        Yep. One tweet did blame Ham and then 2 later, it was Gro. Reaction and then review

      2. Nil says:

        The way Grosjean pulled into Hamilton and the wheels touched was similar to the way Maldonado moved into Kimi after the start at Valencia. Kimi backed out on that occasion and lost a few places. Though Hamilton was not responsible for the accident in any way, do you think he could’ve put a wheel on the grass (like Button at Spa 2011) and lost a few places but avoided this melee?

      3. Ral says:

        Yup, Kimi backed out of it really early as soon as he saw Maldonado come across and was there to pick up the pieces at the end as a result. But the result was hardly taken into consideration when it came to the press judging his performance that weekend.

        And a key difference was that as the overtaker, it was perhaps a bit easier for Kimi to expect the maneuver from Maldonado whereas Hamilton was literally just minding his own business of going to the first corner in a straight line and was in fact veering more and more towards the edge trying to avoid Grosjean who kept closing in.

        I don’t think drivers should start expecting being pushed off the track with that much of the pusher’s car still alongside, ie. with the pusher’s rear wheel in between their own two wheels. If for no other reason than that if that becomes the standard, then we can start expecting more of these kinds of accidents.

      4. Ryan Eckford says:

        No, I don’t think so on this occasion. In other scenarios at other circuits you could, for example, Hamilton went on the grass at the start of the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix and missed the mayhem at Turn 2/3, but on this occasion, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

      5. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        James – why has no one laid some of the blame with Lewis? In my opinion, as a more experienced driver, he should have realised that the gap was closing and yet he continued to pursue it. You clearly see his car getting on the grass near the wall. Having clearly the faster car, wouldn’t it have been more sensible to back off and wait to attack when more space opened up?

      6. James Allen says:

        Well he had other cars behind him. We think that’s the obvious thing to do and I even discussed it in commentary, but we’re not racers. Back off there and he could have lost 4or 5 places by the time they exited La Source

        That said it was clear an accident was going to happen and LH could see it coming

      7. Baktru says:

        The thing is though, Gro straightened out for a bit and THEN started moving to the right again and hit HAM. I don’t think HAM saw it coming. I put the blame immediately squarely with GRO.
        A one race ban may be a bit harsh but seeing as GRO is known amongst my friends now as the guy who races pretty decently if he makes it through the first lap.. Maybe not that bad a decision. And it does get DAM a race.

    2. kp says:

      In truth, that’s just how I saw first time around. Another Hamilton mess up!

      But, agreed, looking at all the replays one is left with a slightly different impression.

      Either way, trouble follows Hamilton like a ………..

      1. james marsten says:

        Kp you are a god, i agree with everything you say and hope to see you as a driver one day!

      2. chris says:

        Yes, it was definitely Hamilton’s fault. Why, he could easily have pulled off the track and parked as soon as he saw another car in his general vicinity, resuming only when the field had passed by and there was clearly no possible risk of collision.

        In fact, if it wasn’t for his extreme recklessness and immaturity, LH would have started the race from the pitlane, since once he saw that Grosjean would be close to him on the grid, he should have predicted this incident.

      3. chris says:

        Disclaimer: Judging from certain comments in this thread, it seems possible that some posters might not recognize the above as sarcasm, so I’m adding this postscript to be sure.

    3. furniture says:

      Most of us saw what happened straight away. Strangely, on the BBC TV commentary it took DC a bit of time to absolve Hamilton too – it’s almost as if some of the insiders/commenters have twitchy trigger fingers when it comes to certain drivers…

      1. Pman says:

        I wonder why people thought it could have been Hamilton’s fault… OH that’s right he is almost as bad as the pair that has been punished.

      2. Chris R says:

        Have to say I was surprised how DC’s first opinion, right after the incident and on seeing the first few replays, was that “Lewis had a seconds chance to back out of that”.

        Only the technical guy we hear from now on bbc(cant remember his name sorry) came to hamilton’s defense.

        To me, Grosjean didnt give Hamilton any room, their wheels tangled instantly after Grosjean stopped moving right.

    4. Mike says:

      Tommy,

      I don’t use Twitter, but from reading the quote you’ve given it is an accurate version of the facts. It simply misses out the reason why Hamilton got crossed up on the brakes!

  8. Michael Grievson says:

    It’s only a matter of time before before there is a serious accident. We have seen more and more drivers being forded off the track when trying to overtake.

    It speaks volumes when a lot of comments on this site and others are saying they we’re worried for the drivers they support being taken out by RG or PM.

    What if one of tre drivers had picked up a puncture and the tire let go at Eu Rouge?

    Boulier and Williams need to have some tough words with their drivers about their conduct.

  9. A clear line has to be drawn between aggressiveness and being dangerous.

    In Alonso’s case, a ~650 kg racing car flew by his right ear and he’s lucky to be alive!

    Drivers should be clearly aware that:
    1. They can change the output of the championship with a stupid innocent move.
    2. They can kill someone or at least seriously injure him.
    3. There are large resources standing behind each of the race cars – and drivers know that well – just how many people are working day and night to prepare the car for the race – their labor is gone in seconds.
    4. Drivers who cause such deliberate and collateral damage (systematically and repeatedly) to rivals should be made to pay the damages! Just like on Nordschleife where you pay for the consequences when you commit a crash – the side walls, the car truck, etc.
    Just crashing into someone because you are “aggressive” is a pure mocking at people’s work and absolutely irresponsible.

    Romain’s actions took out Perez (with great chances to score points and/or podium), same for Alonso and Hamilton.
    The same applies to other drivers that confuse the “being aggressive” (Kimi vs. MSC prior to Eau Rouge) and just run into someone. Such actions have large impact on a whole team.

    1. wakie81 says:

      I like how your first point is they can change the outcome of the championship and the second is ‘they can kill soneone’. The teams (and some drivers) probably think in that order too.

      1. I’m not necessarily putting the points in order of importance, certainly, the drivers’ safety is always first, but this is the big picture as far as I’m concerned.

        And while the fatal accidents in F1 have been very rare recently, the talks for canopies or any additional kind of protection is welcome, for example forward-slanted roll hoop from titanium or tungsten plus polycarbonate windscreen should suffice in both visibility and safety.

  10. Timo says:

    Hi James,

    An F1 super licence for any given season should be conditional on the driver causing no more than two avoidable collisions in a year — I don’t think drivers like RAI and ALO have caused more than two avoidable accidents in their entire F1 careers!

    Drivers who fail to meet this condition can go back to junior formulae for a season and qualify for an F1 licence for the following season by demonstrating exemplary behavior (causing no more than one avoidable accident in that season in the relevant junior formula).

    Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport, and for people to push the limits of performance you need drivers to have confidence in each other. This season, more than any other in recent history, has showed signs of a tragic accident waiting to happen at the hands of MAL and / or GRO. This almost happened at Spa. Seriously, can you imagine if ALO’s life was lost, all because GRO could not judge the width of his car? These are supposed to be the world’s best drivers! There are lives at stake here, and losing any one of them to acts of irresponsible brats would be such a shame.

    1. k5enny says:

      – yea…
      F1 should be about drivers with no balls.
      It would fit well with the green adgena that lies ahead- electric cars ect.

      F1 talent spotters could go scouting in tesco car parks to find the most manerly drivers!!

      1. Nigel says:

        I don’t think either Raikkonnen or Alonso are lacking in that respect.

      2. Timo says:

        k5enny: so your definition of drivers with b@lls includes people that (a)drive into the back of Marussias, (b) crash into curbs during demo runs, and (c) lack spatial awareness while racing? There’s a difference between recklessness and courage — I would think that having b@lls implies the latter.

      3. Puffing says:

        Agreed. Competitveness and ability do consistently push excellent drivers to the limit. Recklessness causes bad drivers trespass the limit in many occasions. Limit is given by the technicities of every epoque.

    2. JR says:

      Could not agree more.

    3. Monika says:

      Well said Timo, I agree completely. To give an F1 super license should mean that a driver is completely qualified with not only superb driving skills for F1 is the pinnacle of motor sports, but also psychological health and maturity to differentiate between being competitive/aggressive and being dangerous to his own life and the others.

      Having said that, again the pressure should be on FIA´s hands for they should be more strict where it really matters and be more consistent – MAL should have gotten a ban long time ago for he constantly uses his car as a weapon (just watch how he turns his steering wheel in every crash he`s had before) – and GRO is just playing long time rookie with poor judgments.

      1. Satish says:

        Yeah sure! The FIA can be trusted to be consistent and sensible in their decisions!

        I’ve always felt that Pastor hasn’t been censured till now due to the tidy sum he brings to Williams.

      2. Prateek says:

        +10 (not just +1)!!

        It really is amazing how a guy like him (remember track rage with Lewis Hamilton amongst several other incidents) has been getting away with just 5 place grid drops given this sort of conduct on track on a regular basis.

    4. simon mawdsley says:

      while i like the idea the problem is that ‘Avoidable Accident’ is ultimately arbitrarily defined. Additionally the FIA has shown, time and again, that they are not as consistent as one would hope and such codification of the application of rules and subsequent sanctions therefore would not work.

      the result is, drive like a tw@t and we’ll punish you. but the degree to which you are determined to be a tw@t, and the degree to which we will punish you is up to us.

  11. Sanjog says:

    The FIA should mandate a crash course for drivers graduatiing from Junior Formulae.. Some of the moves made by the rookies have been… well scary…being quick is brilliant.. but nopt at the cost of endangering your fellow drivers..

  12. Irish con says:

    I think it’s pretty safe to say if pastor does something bad this weekend he won’t be in Singapore. He has to really watch himself now and the fia should ban him also if he does one more stupid thing.

    1. Ihsan says:

      The thing is, he should have been given that ban last year at Spa when he used his car as a weapon for the first time. another chance was missed when he did the same this year at Monaco when he did the same.

      1. Jeremysmith says:

        I agree 100% … He is being allowed to get away with way too much, I don’t think he is F1 material at all..

      2. Romeo - MEX in USA. says:

        Ditto.

  13. MISTER says:

    I always thought that once someone is punished in some way, they will think twice before doing it again.
    Maldonado should’ve been punished already with more than a 5 place grid penalty.
    If he would’ve been penalised last year when he swerved towards LH with a race ban, I don’t think he would’ve done it again to Perez this year in Monaco.

  14. James McNulty says:

    I think Grosjean will learn from this, he has accepted the mistake yesterday and even apologised. Thats far more than Maldonado has even done. Not once have I heard him accept responsibilty for any of the thoughtless accidents he has been involved in in F1 or GP2

    I agree there should be a tougher stance in the junior formulae but correct me if im wrong but wasnt Maldonado banned for life from Monaco in GP2. A lot of good that done him! Sine that hes ignored red flags, nearly taken out marshals, jumped starts and deliberately tried to take out opponents. Thats aside from all the accidents he could have prevented if he just used his head a little bit and backed out and saved it for the next corner.

    I think he is incredibly arrogant and I am concerned that he will have dire consequences for F1. I quite like F1 at the moment, the racing is good and I think a good balance is being struck about right with the tyres and technology. The last thing I want to see is a over the top reaction by the FIA that fundamentally changes the sport because Maldonado has killed someone. Why dont they just deal with him now and save having to deal with a bigger problem later!

    1. Gareth says:

      “I think Grosjean will learn from this, he has accepted the mistake yesterday and even apologised. Thats far more than Maldonado has even done. Not once have I heard him accept responsibilty for any of the thoughtless accidents he has been involved in in F1 or GP2.”

      Completely agree. Seems to me Grosjean knows that he’s been given a 2nd chance and can ill-afford to keep making these mistakes. I get the impression that Maldonado thinks he is untouchable with PDVSA’s money.

    2. Bill of Lading says:

      I’d revoke both’s superlicences if I were FIA..
      Grosjean beacuase he obviosuly isn’t capable of driving safe, Maldonado because he doesn’t want to..

      BL

  15. Is it just me, or is Alonso turning into the nicest, sagest, most gentlemanly guy in F1? I used to detest the guy a few years back, but more recently whenever he expresses an opinion I find myself thinking ‘there’s a guy I respect’…

    1. Foz says:

      Totally agree. I have seen a different side to him since following on twitter. Seems like a decent genuine bloke.

      1. Nick says:

        Don’t be fooled. He’s only being diplomatic because he knows full well he was guilty of a worse move than this earlier in the season, on Grosjean coincidentally.

        Go to YouTube and search for ‘Grosjean onboard start Monaco’

        Far more aggressive and dangerous considering where they were but just plain lucky Grosjean didn’t get launched.

        [mod]

    2. Chris Chong says:

      Strange, I was thinking the exact same thing. Used to dislike him a fair bit and can’t really explain why I don’t any more…

    3. AlexD says:

      I think what he is doing is he is trying to focus solely on things that he can control and to not pay attention to things that he doesn’t control.

      He also wants to direct his entire energy into making the most of the situation and dwelling on this accident doesn’t make any sense anymore because he lost points anyways – done deal.

      I think as soon as he got out of the car, he was thinking about what they can do to score as many points as possible to be ahead of Vettel, Webber and Raikkonen.

    4. Chapor says:

      Glad I am not the only one that feels that way…

    5. Philip S says:

      It’s called growing up. Alonso was the young hot head once, now he’s matured and his comments reflect the experience he’s gained. You never know in a few years some one may say the same about Maldonardo….. maybe.

    6. Marc says:

      You could well be onto something there :) I feel the same way about Alonso.

    7. MISTER says:

      Same here. I was angry at him in the first or second race for Ferrari when he pushed and got in front of Massa on the pit entry lane.
      Since then..he’s another guy and that’s driving a car which is slower than the competitors and having not win the WDC yet. That shows alot about someone’s character.
      Respect to him!

      1. Buj says:

        Yep. Fernando’s made me a fan this year. Wouldn’t mind him winning the driver’s title this year.

    8. Charlie says:

      I quite agree.

  16. Gary Naylor says:

    I think the punishment is reasonable, alongside the fine imposed also; perhaps more than 1 race would have been better.

    What amazes me is Romain’s statement – he didn’t know Lewis was alongside him [thought he'd passed him]. The wheels were interlocked. One look to his right and he would have seen the McClaren! That is concering if his spatial awareness is that far off.

    1. Julian Smallwood says:

      Agree – that bemused me reading it earlier!

      I also like Timo’s comment about revoking licences.

      Does anyone share the views put forward some time back by a Mr S. Moss that this issue is becoming more prevalent due to the sheer safety of the cars and the run-offs etc; there is no real risk anymore in behaving like a lunatic? PM wouldn’t be around for long if he drove like that in the Fifties…

    2. jv says:

      Keep in mind that the mirrors in F1 while a bit better than a few years ago still aren’t any thing like what you have on a road car. Having said that the entire move was foolish because he was never going to be able to judge it right with cars behind accelerating while cars in front were decelerating for turn 1. Just to much going on in to short of a space for a move like that.

    3. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      You’re forgetting that the combination of the small mirrors and HANS device makes it very hard for drivers to see whats around them.

  17. Phil says:

    Interesting that both these two ‘young’ drivers share similar traits, both are fast on a qualifying lap and both seem to think their cars are narrower and tyres stickier than they are when other cars are around in the race.

    Whilst there is clearly no substitute for experience it does make you wonder if this is the rashness and impetuousness of youth or something they have brought with them from junior formulae.

    1. ferggsa says:

      I dont see Perez or Hulk or other of the juniors running into others repeatedly
      It has to do with attitude and respect (recklessnes)

  18. Lisa Thomas says:

    In truth, it could have been many more than seven incidents.

    Grosj did the same thing to Vettel 2 races back, and to his own team mate Kimi before that. Both were astute enough, being champion drivers, and quick enough to avoid the [almost] inevitable accident…

    It has to be asked, could Hamilton have reacted like SV and KR and avoided what happened? I’m really not sure

    1. Foz says:

      No chance, once the wheels were interlocked it was a lose lose situation whatever he did.

    2. Optimaximal says:

      Hamilton honestly had nowhere to go. His right front was basically touching the wall as it was, but Grosjean kept moving over.

      Before Lewis could react further, his front left had been hit by Romain’s rear right and he was a passenger.

    3. Tom in adelaide says:

      Yes, silly Lewis should have engaged helicopter mode… Cleary he’s not a true champion. Sigh.

    4. Gav says:

      Even if Lewis had braked once Romain had stopped interlocking wheels, I think the Lotus-Renault was always going too fast to avoid a colision – Hamilton’s McLaren just made it worse. And if Lewis had braked early then who is to say he wouldn’t have been hit from behind! La Source is such a tight corner that the inside line at the start has to be taken very slowly. To have moved over from the left side of the track (because there was space due to the jump start) was a stupid tactic anyway – it would have been better to keep some space to the right and turn into it for La Source.

      Also I noticed Vettel going off the track far more than any other driver – like getting past Massa early on becuase he hadn’t slowed enough to stay on the track. They need a slippery patch 1.8m from the edge of the track – then no driver would dare go off deliberatly.

    5. Ihsan says:

      I thought about the same thing as well. I’m no fan of of Lewis, but I admire watching him move up the field passing cars, and i think he is the best overtaker in the field. However, I can’t help but think had it been Alonso or Kimi in his place, I’m sure the incident would not have been as such and either Alonso or Kimi would have continued to pick up points.

      One remotely similar incident comes to mind. In Bahrain, Rosberg squeezes Lewis and he goes ahead and overtakes him from the outside. A couple of laps later, Rosberg does the same thing to Alonso, and Alonso has to break and get out of the move. Call it whatever you want, i think it shows the difference in drivers’ approach to racing.

      1. Laurence H says:

        Have you watched the in-car footage from Hamilton’s car before writing this post? I imagine not.

      2. Ihsan says:

        Of course I did. that’s why i’m questioning. Once he rear ended Grosjean, both cars were moving as one until Grosjean’s hit perez. Even with Lewis’ car’s front wheels up in the air, I would have thought both cars wouldn’t be traveling as one if he did.

        This is in no ways to portion some part of the blame to Lewis. I’m just saying it is due to the differences in the way likes of Alonso, Kimi, Button and Webber races to the likes of lewis, that’s all.

      3. quest says:

        Ihsan,

        It appears that u have only watched part of the incident. What you say did happen. But by that stage Hamilton had already been hit by Grosjean and lost control of his car. Nothing he could have done at that stage.

        The tangle with Maldonado at Valencia for instance, he could have avoided by driving smarter. But here Grosjean gave him no time to react.

    6. Kojima otaku says:

      Hahahaha…..utter nonsense!!!

    7. IgMi says:

      With no blame being taken away from GRO, I’ve been thinking the same.

  19. Nick says:

    Whilst I belive the incident was Grosjeans fault, it was merely a racing incident and only the slightest of touches that, as luck would have it, caused massive damage due to the close proximity of the other cars.

    Sure, Grosjean has been involved in his fair share of incidents this year, but far from all of them have been his fault.

    Take Monaco as case in point. A lot of people think Grosjean caused that crash by squeezing Schumacher into the wall. But if you actually watch the replay of Grosjeans on board, you can clearly see that the only reason he went left into Schumacher was because Alonso was pushing him left and actually barged him into Schumacher.

    Go to YouTube sand search for ‘Grosjean onboard start monaco’

    There is no rational person who can watch that and say that Grosjeans move on Hamilton was half as bad as Alonsos move on Grosjean at Monaco. Alonso basically barged Grosjean out of the way. It was a far more aggressive, forceful move than Grosjean made on Hamilton. It was only pure luck that this move didn’t cause a catastrophic accident. Given the tight nature of the circuit at Monaco, it had the potential to be far worse.

    Yet people say Grosjean deserves a ban for yesterday. Well what about Alonso?

    Stewards inconsistent yet again, with people over reacting AGAIN!

    P.s. I AM NOT A GROSJEAN SUPPORTER.

    1. AlexD says:

      what about Alonso?

    2. Janis says:

      Well,
      this is all about what you call “spacial awareness”. Grosjean has demonstrated repeatedly that his spacial awareness is not so great, hence the accidents. So there’s the IMHO deserved penalty.
      However, somehow nobody has mentioned that Lewis could have given Grosjean at least 20 – 30 cm of room more right before the incident. Look at where his right front wheel is relative to the white line, and see for yourself. But he didn’t want to as then he would have lost at least one position and compromised his entry into the first corner. Can’t say for sure, but these 30 cm could have been enough to prevent this accident.

      1. Chris Chong says:

        Isn’t it “spatial” awareness? Just sayin’

    3. KRB says:

      But why does Grosjean do that move anyway? He sees Perez move over to the left a bit, so he sees a gap, but he knows Hamilton’s there, and they’re coming up to the braking zone. It was just unnecessary, and begging for contact.

      I have no idea how Grosjean can say he “didn’t change his line”?!?! His was the most aggressive cutover (longest, and sharpest) I can remember seeing at Spa in some time. I’ll put Grosjean’s comments down to a drivers’ instinctive reaction not to self-incriminate, no matter how stupid it sounds.

      1. Nick says:

        Why does he do that move? You’re really asking that question?

        He moved over to cut Hamilton off and get in front of him before the first corner, pretty simple really.

        Let’s all not forget that Grosjean is hardly the first person to cut across the track suddenly.

        It’s one of Vettel’s favorite moves!

        Remember Vettel on Button in Japan last year? The only reason they didn’t have an almighty coming together is because Button had the good sense to get out of the way and not just hold his ground.

        Not that I think Hamilton is to blame in this case at all, but PERHAPS he COULD have kept moving to his right a bit more.

      2. Elie says:

        Oh yeah on to wet grass and a wall… Thats real smart isn’t it ! Did you ever stop to think why Romain had to move 4-5 meters across the track and not leave Lewis more than 60cm– No I Didn’t think you would

    4. Sebastian says:

      Interesting video, at Monaco Alonso is doing what Grosjean did at Spa. However the move wasn’t close to a braking zone so it panned out quite differently.

      But yeah, grosjean is getting the blame even for stuff he wasn’t responsible for.

  20. Ahmad says:

    Totally agree with Stefano’s comments on the junior formulae. It’s very rare to see the more experienced F1 drivers making these types of stupid errors.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      It’s also probably worth pointing out that Alonso, Vettel & Hamilton all made absurdly stupid mistakes in their pre-WDC year(s) – heck, Alonso nearly killed himself at Brazil in 2003 by steaming into a yellow flag zone.

      Experience comes with age and, well, experience.

  21. Richard D says:

    I have a theory that the Maldonado jump start may have been the trigger for the Grosjean etc incident. The gap created by Maldonado would have had the effect of clearing the way for one or more drivers getting a clear run with the result that too many were together by the first corner. If I am right, Maldonado should be getting a ban as well, preferably a permanento one!

    1. Elie says:

      My sentiments exactly Richard D. The blind leading the blind

    2. KRB says:

      For sure Maldonado’s jump start played a role. When it’s so obvious as that, maybe an aborted start would be better, and then send Pastor to the back of the grid.

    3. JayWest says:

      So you’re saying that had Maldo had a bad start, or an average start, there would have been no accident, right? But you could also say that had any of the other cars in front had a slower start, or a faster getaway, then it may have potentially caused an incident similar to the one that occurred? No trying to defend to blame anyone here. It’s just that your point doen’t really fly well. Watching the replay of the start, the SPEED channel commentators, including Varsha and Hobbs, who had initially also said that it looked like Maldo had “jumped” the start, unanimously suggested that it appeared to be a good start. Now, given that the stewards ultimately decided that Maldo did jump the start (assuming that there are electronic sensors that were able to confirm that), it was likely only a hundedth of a second, if that. Watch the start video carefully and objectively, in slow motion or freeze frame it, and you will see that to the naked eye, it seems that Maldo doesn’t start to move until the lights are all out. So, “the space” he created, which you argue to be a causative factor (or the causative factor) in the subsequent collisiuon, would have been present with a good start a hundreth of a second later. To take it further, then you are saying that given all things being equal, a driver getting a great start and suddenly creating “a space” for another car to drive into at the start can potentially cause an accident of this magnitude.

      1. Elie says:

        Nah I think we’re saying that it just created a focal point for Romain …not saying Maldonado was at fault. But he jumped by more than 1/100 cause even Charlie Whiting shook his head immediately. He was already alongside the Saubers before anyone moved ! Kimi mentioned he spotted it in his mirrors.. That’s a big jump!

  22. AlexD says:

    This accident was very-very tough for me, as a Ferrari fan.

    Think about, how much money it costs and how much you need to do to gain 25 points. Think about everything Alonso had to do to get the advantage he had in a car that was not the fastest.

    Here comes Grosjean and simply makes a mistake and is eliminating Hamilton, Perez and Alonso in one go. Two of they are genuine Title contenders, one is leading the championship.

    I watch drivers like Vettel, Alonso, Kimi, Button or Webber driving and overtaking each other and you can see a genuine respect, you could see professionalism. They go wheel to wheel and survive without accidents.

    One race ban for Grosjean means nothing, but it could cost a title to either Hamilton or Alonso. I really think that it should be something like:
    1. Ban for 1-2 races for both Grosjean and Maldonado
    2. Let them start from Pit Lane for the next 5 races so that others could safely race.

    1. MISTER says:

      There is no doubt in my mind that Alonso would’ve finished 2nd in Spa.
      He had the speed in the straight to cruise past Kimi. The only other car in front of Alonso before the accident was Maldonado, who would’ve got a drive thru for the jump start.

      I was impressed of how calm Alonso was, giving that he’s lost the most yesterday. Having said that, I loved Lewis’s hand gesture at Grosjean when they got out of the car.

    2. Chad says:

      I think that you touch upon an interesting issue. For me it is telling that Grosjean has been in 7 incidents whilst Raikkonen has finished every lap of the season. Grosjean has received some heavy praise this season for his pace, but ultimately a great racing driver has to have a combination of more qualities than pure pace. I used to think of Raikkonen as a fast fast driver, in the right car and conditions he was untouchable (2005 for instance). However this season I have been so impressed by how he has managed to keep out of trouble. He has had to use incredible reflex reactions to avoid crashes (Monaco springs to mind) – and all of this from a supposedly old, “bored” (must we keep using this word for him!) driver, a man who has been accused of drifting off in the past (something he certainly did at the first corner in Melbourne in 2007 when he was leading by a country mile.

      So my point is that the discrepancy between Grosjean and Raikkonen in terms of points is fitting. Grosjean can drive quickly, especially in qualifying. But Raikkonen has often been the fastest man on the track on race day, and his skill, an generally calm approach to driving has enabled him to keep out of trouble throughout the season.

    3. mark tidman says:

      Well said i couldnt agree more.

    4. Nathhulal says:

      Let them start from Pit Lane for the next 5 races so that others could safely race.
      >> Will that really assure incident free race start? Last year Bruno Senna collided with Jaime Alguersueri on the first corner at Spa.

      The stewards have time and again demonstrated, they are more reactive and purely hand out penalties on basis of the outcome of the incident rather than evaluating the root cause that trigger an on track incident and it seems the fans too are reacting, rather than looking at root cause.

      Has anyone even looked at the fact the layout and nature of track contribute to first corner racing incidents. Where is a driver supposed to go on race start but towards right, when T1 is a right handed corner. The first corner in Spa is right hander, chicane for that and a downhill from the grid, this is not the first time there has been incident on that corner. same goes for T1 in Monza or T1 at Indianapolis.

      If there was one incident that had to be reviewed at the driver handed penalty was Schumacher’s move on Vettel. Schumacher knew that he was headed to pitlane, so what was the point in fighting Vettel to the last corner?

      I am sure if there was an incident and Vettel had DNF due to Schumacher clearly coming in his way, Stewards would have penalized Schumi, but since Vettel was lucky not to crash, Schumi was let go for a clear intentional infringement.

      Stewarding in F1 is rubbish, that’s all I can say.

      1. jv says:

        They were racing for position and Schumacher had the lead so it was Vettel’s obligation to stay clear. Vettel kept making his passing move right there even though he knew the entrance to pit lane was there and there was the risk that a driver would be heading in. Hard to pin that on Schumacher.

      2. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

        Dead on. Nothing at that stage to suggest that the two we’re on different strategies, in which case, being first intro the pits would have been important. Also, what happened to racing every corner… Hard and fair… Which is all Schumi was doing.

  23. RedChimp says:

    I fully support the FIA taking a tough stance on this. Both Maldonando & Grosjean appear to have the raw talent & speed to be top F1 drivers but both seem to lack discipline! Getting involved in as many issues as the two of them have is ridiculous.
    I must say I’m a little exasperated by the fact that Maldonando seems to be secure in his drive thanks to the amount of money he beings to the team. Surely after the two seasons he has had any other driver would be at risk of being jettisoned from the team? Yet since he has millions at his disposal he remains. Fines, penalties and a few stern words from Sir Frank haven’t made him buck up his ideas, maybe feeling his job was on the line would sort him out!

    1. mayhemfunkster says:

      The PDVSA contract states Williams should emply a Venezuelan driver. There are one or two near F1… Pastor isn’t 100% safe at Williams therefore.

      Well, that’s what I am clinging to!

  24. Joe B says:

    James, do you have any opinion on how much the testing ban is affecting the approach of young drivers? Testing and racing are two different things, but if we’re talking about a lack of awareness, and if there’s any truth in what Domenicali says, perhaps more opportunities should be available to test and train young drivers throughout the season?

    As an aside, a race ban has been a long time coming. Whether Grosjean is the right man to take it, I don’t know (Maldonado in Valencia springs instantly to mind), but some of the drivers do need calming down. Perez has shown you can be young, quick and hungry without being wreckless.

    1. James Allen says:

      It must be having some effect, but I don’t think it has anything to do with this issue.

      If you watch some of the behaviour in GP2 and GP3, you can see his point. Desperation in the air, definitely

  25. Chris says:

    Funny how Alonso shifted the blame onto Grosjean for earlier incidents.

    Melbourne – stupid Maldonado move takes out Grosjean.
    Monaco – ALONSO moved over on Grosjean and caused the start crash.

    Alonso’s startline move at Monaco was similar to Grosjean yesterday – neither driver looked around them on a tight bit of track.

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      agreed. As Eric Bullier has said, GRO was involved in 7 first lap incidents, not caused 7 first lap incidents.

  26. Alessandro says:

    At long last they understood that drivers such as Grosjean should be punished if not banned from f1 champishion for their irresponsible behaviour and the harm they cause to serious drivers such Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton etc. fighting for the championship.
    Not one race ban: Grosejean should have been banned till the end of the season.

  27. Pedro says:

    If grosjean really thinks he was ahead and had room, there should be no place in F1 for someone that incompetent and downright stupid.

    He was a meter or two ahead of Lewis, so close he had his front wheel between Hamilton’s wheels… even if they were racing alone, how on earth could he make the corner, let alone win it, as Lewis had the inside line ?

    His overoptimism is staggering, and frightening, there is no excuse, he simply lacks the grey matter to be an F1 driver.

    Maldonado, likewise, can be fast, but, is severely lacking in any other department. Vettel likes to feint at other drivers, legal if very aggressive, Maldo just rams them like a retarded thug.

    Finally, why is alonso mentioning Lewis as being aggressive ? Seems he is starting to get rattled, knowing that his lucky points lead is going to evaporate quicker than a Sahara puddle.

    1. Angelina says:

      +1 Pedro.
      I completely agree.

  28. Jimbo says:

    Grosjean is undoubtedly impetuous and (relatively) inexperienced and here he has made a pretty big error of judgement for which he has been punished appropriately. Hopefully it will be the wake up call he needs to up his game a little.

    Maldonado, on the other hand, just seems to me to be arrogant and aggressive and how on Earth he wasn’t banned after his ridiculous (and deliberate) move on Perez at Monaco or the similar one on Hamilton at Spa last year is a mystery to me. He does not deserve to be on the grid and I take absolutely no pleasure in watching a sport that I love being abused by people who clearly have no respect for others.

    Great result for Jenson!!!

    1. Elie says:

      +1 Jimbo Been saying it since Valencia

  29. it’s a pity as well that there are several good young drivers out there, Alguesuari could be one, who a dropped, or never make it, to make way for these pay drivers. It is wrecking it as a sport completely.

    No other sport that I can think of does the same – is there a pay footballer? Is F1 a sport? If it was then the money that a pay driver brings (without enough talent) would not be worth the consequences

  30. Dmitry says:

    I say: “At last!”
    And add: “Why did not Maldonado receive such a penalty?”
    Because when he crashes into someone in Monza… well, let’s just hope it will end up only with safety car.

    Of course it is always easy to be critical of a driver making a mistake (and taking out someone), but let’s be honest it’s because either they can’t drive or something bothers them to the point where they lose concentration required for top performance (like Lewis last year). Unfortunately (for them) the only method to “fix” their mental state is to prevent them from racing and sort all their issues (Lewis was helped by end of Season, he managed to rebuild everything he needed to rebuild, and this year he is great… albeit a bit unlucky).

    So I fully agree with stewards, though I would have given 2-3 race ban… and to both Roman and Pastor)… and with a probation period of 2 races…
    I really do hope this ban will server Roman right and he will be able to finish the season well.

    Now, I’ll wait for Pastor’s crash in Monza and his subsequent ban, and then I will be happy.

    P.S. Yes, I know I am harsh, but I don’t care.

  31. waz says:

    Hi James –

    I dont follow any specific driver, but how can the stewards do this to RG when MSC has been causing all sorts of carnage for the past two years? Seems a very inconsistent?

    1. Aaron James says:

      “MSC has been causing all sorts of carnage”.

      If I’m not mistaken, MSC has only had one crash with another car all season, and that was in Spain with Senna.

  32. Grabsplatter says:

    The tendancy for cars to get launched across the tops of other cars grows ever more worrying. Yesterday was a couple of inches from being the death of Alonso, and Kobayashi wasn’t too far from being slapped round the side of the head by a flying MacLaren. With the distance these cars can travel in a second, we were a split second away from two fatalities in one corner. How many more times can F1 dodge bullets?

    Now, Grosjean was obviously in the wrong, but to see cars sliding over eachother is something that only started fairly recently (I think the first time was Coulthard being launched over someone in one his last GPs). Surely the FIA have to realise that they need to look at why this has started happening, and why it is now happening so often. Maybe some part of the regulations can be tweaked to prevent this happening again. Something changed to make this possible, it needs to be changed back. It’s all very well making F1 a closed cockpit formula, but that just deals with a symptom, not the cause.

    By the way, I initially thought Hamilton was partly to blame for not slowing after the initial contact, but looking at replays, his nose seems to have become hooked up on the back of the Lotus, taking the front wheels off the ground, thus making any decent braking impossible. Anyone else notice this?

  33. Grabsplatter says:

    By the way, is it not a trifle unfair on Grosjean that he gets a race ban, but Maldonado still hasn’t? Surely Maldonado’s track record is worse.

    1. Glennb says:

      Grosjean took out 2 title contenders. Apparently this is taken into consideration when the stewards make their decision. It’s not so much WHAT you did but WHO you did it to. Had he taken out say Rosberg & Perez, he would have received a grid penalty in Monza.
      That’s the way I see it…

    2. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      MAL should have been given a race ban simply for for his jump start and stupid collision with Glock, and possibly cos his jump start may have had something to do with the first lap crash snaking everyone at the start, and also becasue of his rekless history. GRO was def to blame for the 1st lap crash and deserves his 1 race ban and $50k Euro fine, but at least just a race ban for MAL would have fit the bill I would’ve thought.

  34. Tom in adelaide says:

    Nice work with the Youtube link James. Fantastic footage!

    I’d love to know how much Grosjean cost team Sauber in terms of damaged cars and lost prize winnings at season end.

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      I was dissappointed when KOB and PER’s races were taken out… We still had a great race, but I feel we were robbed of even a greater race.

  35. Rishi says:

    I don’t know it’s a tricky one…the thing that struck me about the first corner shunt at Spa was that it was rare to have one of that size these days in F1, particularly affecting top drivers.

    I think it’s worth investigating Eric Boullier’s point – one can be in a fair few start accidents but not always be at fault for them. What happened in the other accidents he was involved in? Spa was blatantly his fault and his move across was very aggressive so maybe a one-race ban was not unjustified given the danger it caused.

    It’s also worth remembering two other points: Maldonado has – rightly – had a lot of penalties already this year so it’s not as if he’s not being punished enough, or adversely enough. But the one possible positive of a race ban for him is that it may mean he’s not trying too hard to overcompensate for the penalty at the next race, so there is no ‘spillovers’ of overdriving. That is the one context I think it will work in this case.

    Secondly, if you look at races in the junior formulae the results are nearly always changed because of retrospective penalties. Again, I don’t think the issue is that sanctions are not already being imposed, or that they are not strong enough because they can impact your points haul, championship standing hopes etc..

    My conclusion therefore would be that driver bans are definitely worth having on the table (particularly if having caused a dangerous accident, or to avoid ‘spillovers’), but the issue is not that the penalties available are hitherto insufficient. We’ve got to remember that motor racing is not easy, the margins when racing wheel-to-wheel are sometimes very fine, and therefore it is not advisable to have Domenicali’s prescription of ‘inflexibility’ because these things should be taken on a case-by-case basis. Driver bans can also cause a hassle for teams, particularly if a test driver is otherwise disposed.

    We also need to remember that some tracks are more conducive to startline shunts than others. It is more risky moving across the track at somewhere like Spa (narrow pitstraight) than Malaysia, for example, which has a wider one. Drivers need to show more common sense here, but are often so overloaded with other concerns over a race weekend that they may forget this, therefore it should be stressed at drivers’ briefings, as well as team qualifying debriefs.

    This leads to a second conclusion, which is that we should focus on preventative measures by making drivers aware of risks at certain tracks, rather than by imposing possibly draconian ‘blanket bans’.

  36. Kenny says:

    Shows you the kind of mentality Alonso has to give that account in such detail and even have the facts and figures on Grosjean’s incidences at starts!
    It is good that the FIA are stamping it out and it does send a message to lower Formula categories too, but surely the other drivers must be thinking about one coming soon for Maldonado as well with his repeated incidences? Their reason for Grosjean’s ban written on the paper was appalling…Someone in the language department needs to have a word with them and it’s not the first time that they’ve done this because that’s how you get those “jokes” of the governing body “helping” certain teams over others.

  37. Mike jackson says:

    Hi James
    Just wondering, who pays the many thousands of $ in repair bills in instances like this? Do lotus? Or do they have car insurance? Bet their premiums will be lower next week with no grosjean on the grid!
    It seems harsh that mclaren etc have to foot the massive bills!
    Keep up the good work

  38. Owen Brooker says:

    There were two other incidents to be investigated by the stewards – Shumacher entering the pits, and Webber leaving his pit box. Both could have resulted in accidents but the results of the Stewards enquiries have not been reported. Knowing why these incidents were acceptable to the Stewards is just as important as knowing what is unacceptable.

  39. AlexD says:

    James, I honestly think that for safety reasons there should be a penalty for Maldonado and Grosjean to start 5 races from pit lane. This way they will allow others to safely survive the start of the race.

  40. Magic says:

    I can’t understand how Grosjean gets a one race ban and Maldonardo, who you can make a case for triggering this incident via the false start gets yet another slap on the wrist and a lose change fine for his sponsors to pay up. It’s not just that he’s a numpty on occasion, its the malicious streak with it that makes him a danger to the other drivers.

    I fully support the penalty against Grosjean, I just wish the FIA could be more event handed. Maldonardo deserves a ban also.

    1. Charlie says:

      It’s certainly frustrating that the seemgly more ‘malicious’ driver has gotten off lightly given his track reccord…
      …but as I understand it the race stewards would be pushing their own authority if their rulings took too much account of issues / incidents beyond their own track, so:
      Gro – ban for a dangerous move that caused a nasty accident
      Mal – grid drop for a jump start, and another for a ‘bump’

      The questions that remain are ‘who’s job is it to police ongoing issues and behavior?’
      The FIA? The driver’s association?
      And ‘why does it at least look like they are failing to do so?’

      1. Magic says:

        A fair point – the stewards can only deal with the incidents for that event. There needs to be another body who can deal with ongoing issues.

        The FIA should act against Maldonado. The threat of losing his superlicense should be enough motivation to get help with his aggression problem.

  41. David Goss says:

    James

    I’d be interested to hear under what circumstances the FIA might revoke a driver’s super license – is there a process like a certain number of disciplinary actions or can they do it at their discretion?

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll look into that

    2. jv says:

      They can do that at their discretion and for things that have nothing to do with racing. A speeding ticket for example can lose your your Super License.

  42. DMyers says:

    Definitely the right decision by the FIA, and not before time either. Driving standards do need to be looked at, and seriously – particularly in GP2. James Calado, for example, drove Razia off the road on at Kemmel on Sunday morning, which resulted in a big spin which also affected Valsecchi, who hit the barriers trying to avoid Razia’s car. Nothing seems to have been done about that. And on Saturday, Canamasas (I think) drove someone into the wall and then only received a three place grid penalty! The affected driver could have been sent vaulting over the wall if he had kept his right foot in, which would have almost certainly resulted in a fatality. Thankfully this did not happen. I’m all for robust defending, but such reckless driving needs to be taken seriously and the rules should be enforced.

  43. Jonno says:

    I think its a good thing – some toughness is needed (though if they’re starting to ban people quite how Maldonado hasn’t been the first to get one I’ll never know).

    Thank goodness it was Kimi this year and Webber last year who tried to overtake in Eau Rouge and not one of these younger guns – the mess that would be made when they bodged it would be horrifying, until they learn a bit of respect and realise that they’re driving 200 mph missiles, and not carts anymore.

  44. S2K says:

    It was a tough decision by the FIA and I personally disagree with it. Why? Because it was a pure racing incident. That’s all. Indeed, Grosjean and Maldonado are perhaps slightly dangerous drivers then the rest there but at the end of the day it is racing and the drivers are taking this risk. The fact that they all are cool about the incident proves just that. How many other racing incidents have been provoked not only this year but in the past too? Remember the title in 1989 was decided by a racing incident. Michael Schumacher was taken out three times in the first corner in three successive races during 2000 and I don’t remember any penalties and suspensions. Or, who keeps counting in many collisions have Hamilton and Massa been involved over the years? Why are FIA playing the same role as the policeman plays on the streets? Let the drivers race because that’s why they are there for, paid for and that’s why the fan are paying … to see them race and take risks.

  45. Paul says:

    The accident, in my view, is yet more evidence that some kind of canopy is required to protect drivers’ heads.

    Something like a horizontal u-shape bar just above the top of the helmet level, with a polycarbonate windshield in front of the driver. This would mean no pillars in the critical view around the car and still open at the sides and top. Best combination of stopping heavy objects like cars and wheels, as well as small high speed objects as in the Massa accident.

    We really need to see this before a driver is killed and not after. Alonso was lucky, that shunt could easily have been fatal.

  46. Craig Jones says:

    Speaking to a lot of people (especially occasional viewers) I think it needs to be stressed more that this punishment for Grosgean is for repeated offences not just the one incident.

    The main point to take away from this article is Hamilton’s reaction to the incident vs Alonso’s. Alonso’s response is measured, calm and acknowledges that drivers are in a difficult position and making split second decisions.

    Lewis on the otherhand once again comes across as a child throwing his toys our the pram. His response to Romain when he got out of the car, his refusal to talk about the incident properly on the BBC interview, and linked to this his tweets earlier in the weekend.

    Again as an isolated incident you’d just say no problem he had an awful weekend. . . . .but with his past tantrums and whining?! I thought he’d matured a lot at the start of the season but he’s slipped into his old ways again. Hope he can turn it around.

    1. caringforapathy says:

      Ummm, at the time Alonso probably just knew that cars were flying over him from behind and so he was likely just generalizing at the time, while Lewis had a front row view of Grosjean’s actions, and how it all unfolded. Alsonso has managed to sail through the season so far, with most luck being in his favor, while Lewis has had the luck go against him as well as having people crash into him and take him out of races due to no fault of his own. Sure, they’re F1 drivers, but they’re also humans with reactions and I have no problem with the way Lewis acted when he got out of the car – I’m glad to see drivers holding other drivers accountable. It’s the only way things are going to change.

      1. Elie says:

        Absolutely !!when you have first hand view of what happened & you are the one taken out first. Further, because Lewis had the best ( read worst) view of it.. He must have known how much danger Fernando and others were in !!
        So in Fact I think Fernandos calm inference of Lewis really speaks of HIS impetuousness coming out not Lewis -acted as any racer would or should in his situation.. I think I would have had a few more choice words !!

  47. Shah Alam says:

    Lewis was a crash magnet in the early part of 2011 with massa.

    When a car is uncompetitive drivers want to take any and every opportunity.

    Gorjean and Maldonado forget it was a 44 lap race not a one lap race.

    Schumacher, Button, Alonso and Kimi are shining examples of how its done.

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      “Button, Alonso, Kimi, Kobayashi and Webber are shining examples of how its done.”

      Edited for ya, definately cannot include Shuey in that list. lol

      1. Anil says:

        Actually schumacher is one of the best examples of a driver making the most out of opportunites, he almost won championships in far from the best machinary as a result of it.

        Alonso in 2010 is another great example.

      2. DanWilliams from Aust says:

        Sure, Shuey does as well, but the reason Shuey is not a ‘shinning example’ I believe is becasue a lot of his moves were dirty and dangerous, hence why he’s been in so much trouble in the past (remember his championship disqualification, etc).

        No doubt he can drive and he thinks fast but his moves are not always clean, respectful, and good sportsman like towards his competitors.

        Most of the driver’s mentioned above are ‘hard but fair’ in their style, whereas Shuey is much more hard than he is fair..

  48. ArJay says:

    ‘Closed cockpits’ just around the corner…?
    Then partially enclosed wheels further down the line…?

    No matter, LMP has them already and it’s a more innovative formula than F1

  49. YannisJP says:

    As it has been evident, there are some drivers on the grid that provoke many more incidents than others. Even if those incidents mostly do not result in major accidents, cumulatively these could be stamped as potentially “dangerous” drivers, as a seemingly minor mistake involving another driver – especially during the start of a race – can potentially lead to a serious accident with unforeseeable consequences. This became clear with the last accident at the Belgian GP.
    So my proposal is the following: apart from the penalty imposed for causing a particular incident, why not introduce at the same time a point system, in which the driver responsible for it would collect some points according to the severity of or the (potential) outcome of this incident. Then if a driver reaches a predefined number of points, he should get a penalty of one race ban. For example, Grosjean could be further penalized for his actions in the Belgian GP with five points, Maldonado with two etc., and if the driver reaches a number of (let’s assume) nine points, then punish him with the penalty of one race ban (of course such a point-system can be adapted accordingly). This system bears a similarity with the two separate yellow cards in football, although it is in my opinion more refined and adapted to the characteristics of formula racing.

  50. Guillermo says:

    This sort of on-track behaviour seems to be common of the GP2 generation, which even includes more experienced GP2 graduates such as Massa, Rosberg and (as much as it pains me to admit it) Lewis. Although it is clear that Lewis was blameless yesterday.

    They are simply not afraid of making contact, so they place their cars in vulnerable positions whether defending or attacking.

    Watching guys like Kimi race is a joy because of his precision and the way he anticipates the movements of his rivals.

    That seems to be skill that is really missing from the young drivers.

  51. Sri says:

    The stewards said that the punishment was for “eliminating the Championship contenders in the race”. Now since when has this become a criterion to give harsher penalties? So will the penalties differ if you eliminate Caterham/Marussia drivers and those in the front? This is a very very poor judgement. If they wanted to be fair, they should have said his consistent first-lap incidents in the season should be the reason for this harsher penalty of a ban. Also was this ban because the crash turned out to be dangerous for Alonso (or any driver for that matter)? I think Grosjean could have gotten away with a lighter penalty if his car had not flown but just eliminated the 4 other drivers by hitting at the ground level. That means the penalties are being given not for the cause of the crash but rather based on the consequences of it – which is somewhat flimsy (saying eliminating the Championship contenders adds to this evidence). I think the stewards need to be trained a bit more in law just like the new drivers need to be trained how to drive.

    Also when having decided giving this ban, they should have handed one to Maldonado also (don’t know why his glorious history is not being rewarded) – this way everyone would think the two consistent performers in the season have been given some food for thought. Grosjean at least accepted his mistakes and apologized for this incident. When did you see Maldonado ever express any regret for any incident that he got involved? And he still gets away lightly. In fact Grosjean’s mistakes on the face of it don’t appear to be like “I-would-not-allow-you-to-get-away” attitude that Maldonado displays on the track. Yet the softer and nicer guy who does make mistakes is given a ban where as the real bully is still given grid-penalties. Three in a single race, must be some sense of record begging for a ban to say the least (given history and lack of any remorse from the driver)!

    Lastly, I think Alonso and Raikkonen along with Button who are all drivers of early 2000s always somehow escape these entaglements because they yield when needed ass they see the bigger picture of the race and not just one corner. They take less risks as they know they can get back later in the race. The same cannot be said of all the new drivers of later 2000s with varying degrees of impatience (Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Maldonado, Koboyashi). It appears that this trait of seeing the bigger picture and being patient is not easy to acquire.

  52. AndyRat says:

    James, if Lotus don’t pick d’Ambrosio for Monza, just what is the point of anybody signing up to be a reserve driver?

    1. Edouard Valentino says:

      Marc Gene could ask the same question when Ferrari opted for Mika Salo to partner Irvine when Michael was injured during the 1999 season.

      1. Robert Gunning says:

        It was Luca Badoer. Gene was driving for Minardi at the time.

      2. Edouard Valentino says:

        I stand corrected, indeed it was Badoer. Good knowledge!

  53. Nikki says:

    While I don’t think the ban itself is unduly harsh, I do think the reasoning is absolutely ridiculous.

    To give someone a one-race ban for taking out championship contenders is just baffling, and it completely misses the point that he almost took Alonso’s head off. The reasoning for the ban that the stewards have given completely trivialises the accident. It’s like banning someone for running championship contenders into the gravel. He could have killed someone, and that should be recognised in the reasoning for the ban, otherwise – what on earth is the point? I can barely remember the last time someone was given a ban, but I can remember plenty of times when championship contenders have been taken out by midfielders/backmarkers. Where’s the consistency?

    It’s completely ridiculous, and if Grosjean is getting a ban, Maldonado should without doubt be getting one too. If either of them is a liability, it’s Maldonado, who has deliberately crashed into a rival and got nothing more than a slapped wrist! While I take Alonso’s point, Grosjean’s involvement in 7 out of 12 start race collisions does not automatically mean he was responsible for all of them.

    I am a HUGE Alonso fan, and yesterday was bitterly disappointing, but I feel sorry for Grosjean and the reason he has been given for what will be quite a blot on his copybook. As an aside, I also think it takes a special kind of Formula One driver to make a mistake and then unreservedly apologise for it. I think he should be banned for the next race, it’s about time F1 cracked down on this sort of GP2 nonsense, but he should be banned for the right reasons.

    1. Elie says:

      Yeah well said!- ridiculous to say he effected champion contenders and not wrecklessly caused a potentially fatal accident does the world of damage to the image of the sport !

  54. Wade Parmino says:

    I thought Hamilton was going to attack RG as he was approaching him.

    I hope this doesn’t cause Grosjean to become too timid a driver in future. Drivers should be allowed to push the limits. So long as there is no deliberate malice. F1 needs RG and PM; these two drivers will be major contenders in a few years time.

    I know Ayrton Senna was disqualified a few times in his day but was he ever banned from a race?

  55. Matt W says:

    It seems to me the FIA are partially to blame for a lot of this. Why weren’t suspended bans handed out after Monaco for instance where Grosjean did exactly the same thing to Schumacher? If memory serves me right he also took Schumacher out at Bahrain?

    Had he have been given a suspended ban then (as Villenueve was in 1997 for ignoring yellow flags), he may have altered his driving for the rest of the season. Not excusing what he did, but it is unacceptable to leave him without a sanction or warning and then suddenly slap a race ban for a turn 1 incident.

    It was also unacceptable for the stewards to cite eliminating the championship contenders as a reason for the penalty. Does the safety of all drivers not superseed the entertainment of the championship? Why does it matter which drivers were hit?

    The way this has been done will inevitably lead to calls for sanctions after crashes at starts in the future, and even more inevitably, contradictory punishments being dished out.

    I have been saying for ages that the FIA need to get a grip with the officiating of the sport and run things professionally. Indycar are able to make fair decisions within laps (on an oval too) with much less technology and much less controversy.

    Todt was elected saying this was one of his goals but very little has changed since his election aside from a celebrity stewards each week. They need to remove the politics and put in place a consistent and open system that is fair from race to race.

    1. Geee says:

      Completely agree.

      Regarding Todt setting out to even the ground with the stewarding at races, I believe his intentions were & still are for the better of the sport. However as pleasing as it is to have former F1 drivers taking part in the decision making, inconsistency in the punishments handed out are still as evident as ever.

      Why not have a permanent group of former F1 drivers stewarding the whole season at every race, rather than adding a different one to the mix for each event?

      1. Elie says:

        Completely disagree ! If you look at Monaco Alonso moved over on Grosjean at the start in the fight to the first turn and this squeezed him to Schumacher (poor Schumi he would never do that would he– oh yes he would !!)

  56. AdrianP says:

    I actually initially thought the 1-race-ban penalty was a bit harsh. There have been numerous such squeezes at the start, especially in the post-Schumacher era, who made the startline chop almost a trademark. To pick a example more or less at random, Vettel on Button in at the start in Suzuka 2011 was just as bad and I’m sure there have been numerous other instances.

    The consequences however were a very dangerous accident, but there is a large amount of randomness in the consequences – at other times, both cars may have continued, at yet other times one or both of the cars involved in the incident may have been damaged without involving any other cars.

    It is unfortunate for Grosjean that he seems to have quite a lot of form in startline incidents (not to mention wiping out the other Maclaren on the first lap at Spa in 2009…) and presumably that factored into the punishment.

    The start is obviously pretty much the most dangerous part of the race, so it is right that the stewards should be very rigorously policing dangerous manoeuvres at the start, but similar punishments should be handed out for similar dangerous driving *irrespective of the size of the accident caused* – otherwise the message becomes, ‘it’s ok if you get away with it, you’ll only get punished if you don’t’.

    So a heavy punishment for Grosjean is probably quite a welcome signal, but the stewards should be careful to penalise other dangerous driving at the start even if there are no horrific consequences.

    On a slightly different but related note, I wonder whether there might be merit in introducing a more sophisticated – ‘caution’ type system. There are certain drivers (I’m thinking of Maldonado, perhaps Grosjean, perhaps even Hamilton and Schumacher – (I’m sure others will come up with different names)) who seem to find themselves very regularly up involved in questionable incidents. Maybe there could be a penalty points system (like on the driving licence in the UK) where a certain number of significant but perhaps not so major infringements results in a race ban.

  57. Rafael says:

    Grosjean deserves this penalty. Since returning to F1 this year, he has reminded me of Jarno Trulli during his heyday: fantastic in qualifying but often very ragged and inconsistent in the race.

    And if Grosjean is a modern day Trulli, then Pastor Maldonado is somewhat a less polished more crash-prone version of Juan Pablo Montoya: has a lot of raw talent, very quick but has a penchant for running into other drivers; that is IF he’s not stuffing his machinery in the wall or “beaching” it in the run-off areas (not much gravel traps these days).

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      MAL cannot be likened to Montoya.

      MAL cannot control his car when he is emotional, fast when he’s calm, but the moment he gets angry or whatever his car control goes out the window and he becomes reckless and dangerous.

      Montoya can be likened to Villeneuve Jnr, both massively fiesty, gutsy, and aggresive on track, but almost always in control. Yes they were prone to a few more accidents then the average driver but that was because they were driving on the car’s knife edge of performance all the time, therefore leaving themself no room/buffer for error.

      I would much rather see a car driven on the edge of performance like Montoya and crash every now and then then see a car driven on the edge of the driver’s emotions and crash whenver he’s emotionally unstable…

  58. ruthvin says:

    i think lot of people here are forgetting the number of crashes Hamilton has caused. i forgot which race it was, but hamilton cut a chicane and overtook raikkonen and then ultimately crashed into raikkonen . i dont remember hamilton being penalised for taking out a top contender. nor did raikkonen point at hamilton and make any actions.WE all know the Hamilton crash department in FIA. so its presumptuous to make such statements that grojean ban was fair. Rookie drivers have caused lots of crashes and hamilton must be reminded of some of his own. correct if im wrong james…..

  59. Mary says:

    I am all for the race ban, as i think it will send a much needed warning message to all drivers about saftey.
    However, I am a bit uncomfortable with the wording of the FIA’s reasons for the ban ‘taking out leading championship contender’ sounds very subjective and leaves me asking same punishment would have been metted out if Grojsean had hit Glock and Pic instead.
    Punishments should’t be subjective and this one sounds like it was dished out because Alondo was affected.

  60. Purch says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can find a copy of the official stewards report relating to the Grojean ruling after the Belgian Grand Prix?

    Most certainly Grosjean was to blame for the incident; but I think his post race apology and comments on the incident showed great maturity.

    I have read elsewhere however that the stewards report mentioned that he “eliminated leading championship contenders from the race”. If true this shows a level of bias that is completely unnecessary and sets a very dangerous precedent. The message as I read it is: don’t mess with drivers in the championship running (even my mistake) or you’ll get a race ban. I find this very disturbing, but I am happy to be corrected.

    1. James Allen says:

      Offence
      10 Romain Grosjean Lotus F1 Team
      14:08 Race
      Caused a Collision.
      Breach of Article 16.1(d) and Article 20.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 2(e) of
      Chapter IV Appendix L of the FIA International Sporting Code.
      Decision
      A one Event suspension and a fine of € 50,000 in accordance with Article 18.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.
      Reason
      The Stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the Race. The Stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty.

      1. TheGreatTeflonso says:

        I just think for the next two races they should let Maldonado and Grosjean start from the pit lane. Have Maldonado start in front of Grosjean so he can feel a little jittery for a change. They could take each other out and learn while the race continues safely. By the way James, the sound on my TV wasn’t working so for once I thought I could listen to you on the radio… I was genuinely excited but alas we are not allowed to listen to 5 in Singapore.

      2. Baghetti says:

        For GBP 5/month you can get yourself a UK IP-address and listen to 5 wherever you are

      3. Purch says:

        Thank you James. That confirms what I have previously read.

        Whilst a penalty was definitely called for (and we can argue whether or not the one dished out was too harsh or not until the cows come home), I am not at all impressed by the wording. Reading between the lines, if it was a Marussia, an HRT and a Caterham that were eliminated from the race at Turn 1 then it wouldn’t be as serious; which of course is complete rubbish.

        They should have left that sentence regarding “leading championship contenders” out altogether. Does anyone else smell a hint of bias?

    2. Rachel says:

      See this tweet from @F1Kate https://twitter.com/F1Kate/status/242287886651777024/photo/1

      It has photo of report. Or the FIA website has ‘news’ versions of the decisions

      http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/articles/belgium/Pages/sunday-1.aspx

    3. AlexD says:

      Post race apology will not give points back to Alonso, Hamilton or Perez. Two of them fighting for the championship.

      1. Simmo says:

        No, but it’s also about attitude – something Maldonado lacks (a good one that is).

    4. Liam in Sydney says:

      Quid pro quo. If you as a driver stay out of someone else’s championship fight when you are not currently contesting, then that same competitor will not ruin your championship fight if you later find yourself in one. The moral of the story?… think about the future.

  61. Phil says:

    James,

    How come the cars were not directed through the pit lane during the Safety Car period?? With all of the debris they had to go through and the high speed nature of the circuit, surely that was why that particular rule was implemented.

  62. Onko says:

    Mr Allen,I thank you for the opportunity to
    express one thoughts.
    Grosjean should have been suspended from F1 grid after the third crash,the bigest culprit
    is Maldonado unfortunately he has not made the grade and one doubt if he ever will.
    However I truly believe the mamagement of the
    Williams/Lotus teams onus rest squarely at their feet,failure to brief their drivers
    duty of care thus fine of € million for first
    offence € 10, million for second and for third
    suspenssion for the rest of season,should this
    be applied in some form there would be no need for inclosed cocpit for drivers but the professionasm and good racing.

  63. Kevin says:

    Has this been an issue in the past? Could some trivia buff clear that up for me?

    If it has not been an issue then we need to ask why?
    - do current F1 cars accelerate too fast for rookie drivers to adjust?
    - does the feeder series properly teach the nessary skills?
    - is it coincidence that both drivers in question bring large advertising revenue?
    - are the drivers under too much pressure to perform?
    - are the current cars too fast for standing starts?
    - are the spaces between grid spots not large enough?

    Any ideas?

  64. Rob the Gardener says:

    Obviously many of the accidents we have seen this year appear to have inexperience as a major factor. Let me throw this thought into the mix. Not too long ago there was mid season testing and even extra teams with two extra drivers testing cars. All the extra testing would have given drivers many miles in the cars and more experience before getting in an actual race. Gone are the days of racing on Sunday and being back in the car testing on Tuesday. From what I understand many drivers would have been doing race distances several times a week.

    Maybe despite the financial cost, it’s time to bring it back, before there is an even greater cost.

  65. Ian C. says:

    One of the areas that has to be looked at is the FIA test ban. Drivers today get almost no time in an F1 car other than during a race week-end. Most of their testing time comes from driving a simulator, which may be similar isn’t the real thing and probably gives them a false sense of their skill in an F1 car.

  66. Aaron James says:

    Maldonado makes Yuji Ide look competent…that said Ide got stripped of his licence for barrel rolling Albers rather than lots of crashes…

    Also, how slow does Karthikeyan need to be before he’s picked up on? Nothing against the guy, but he was 1.9 seconds off his team mate in qualifying. Either he’s going snails pace, or De La Rosa is screaming that car.

  67. Mark V says:

    I have no data to back my observation up but it seems that there are a lot more crashes and multi-car crashes at the starts of GPs compared to (moving) restarts. With jumped starts, stalled cars, spinning tires, missed gear changes and other variables that almost inevitably jumble the cars and cause chaos from stationary starts, perhaps it is also time to look at making the starts be moving in the interest of safety?

    1. Simmo says:

      If the did that around (my guess) 50% of fans won’t watch, because it eliminates all fun and excitement at the start. Bernie wouldn’t have that.

      1. Mark V says:

        50% of fans watch F1 for just the start? I find that estimate to be excessive, if not missing the point. Of course some fans watch F1 because of the potential for mayhem and accidents, but that has never changed. Don’t forget how many drivers were killed in the 50′s,60′s and 70′s because it was feared that taking more safety measures would take the excitement out of the sport.

      2. Simmo says:

        Ok, I massively exaggerated it. But half the excitement is in the start :)

  68. Charlie says:

    As a Lotus/Grosjean fan I completely agree with the ban, and I hope that it calms him down. Its so frustrating as hes a talented and fast racing driver but he seems way too aggressive at the beginning of the race, its almost like he drives like hes playing a video game and doesn’t think of the bigger picture of the race.

  69. Matt says:

    I don’t agree with any of the race stewards punishments during the F1 Belgian Grand Prix weekend or how subjective their decisions were. I agree with Niki Lauda that GrosJean’s punishment should have been a two-race ban and the $50,000 fine come out of his pockets.
    You me, it seems as the race stewards only punished Grosjean because the crash “eliminated the leading championship contenders”. Is that to say if Grosjean would have crashed in a HRT car than he wouldn’t have gotten a one-race ban?
    Grosjean’s one-race ban should not have been based on which drivers he eliminated. It should have been based on his history of seven first lap accidents in 12 races , the potential danger of the crash, and how many cars got eliminated. If you look at a slow-motion replay of the crash from Alonso’s in-car camera, Grosjean lef
    -rear tire came within only a few inches of Alonso’s head.
    This was Sauber’s best qualifying positions of the season. Both cars were eliminated because of Grosjean’s mistake. These points are worth million of dollars for the teams. Last I looked, Sauber is not Ferrari, McLaren, or Red Bull. They need every penny they can g
    The race stewards decision to only punish Mr Crash himself, Maldonado, only three places, instead of the usually 5, because “Hulkenburg was still able to make it into Q2″ was another subjective decision by them. If a driver blocks another driver in qualifying, it should be an automatic 5 grid place penalty. It shouldn’t matter if the driver made it into the next round of qualifying or not.
    Maybe if Maldonado was in his proper grid penalty position, none of this would have happened. Grosjean did mentioned that Maldonado jumping the start was a distraction.
    Maldonado should have also gotten a one-race ban. How many accidents have he been involved in this season? He received three penalties this weekend and will start the Monza Grand Prix race next weekend with a 10 grid penalty already.

  70. caringforapathy says:

    I thought the same thought as others – that Maldonado’s jump start was the catalyst for the first turn mayhem. Alonso made mention of him being in P3 or P2 when the lights were still red, so it seems to me that the other drivers were thrown off by his ridiculous jump start as well. How that yahoo will be driving in Monza while Grosjean watches from the sidelines is beyond me.

    I don’t care how much money Maldonado is bringing in with sponsors, I think he is doing more harm than good for Williams, and F1. Think of how much money could be going to development rather than building 2-3 cars for Pastor every weekend, and how fast the Williams looks, if only it was in the hands of a driver that could make it to the end of a race. Morale must be low in the Williams garage – I can’t imagine putting the hours and effort in that the mechanics do, just to watch Mr. Deep Pockets take it out and crash your work over and over again.

    1. Simmo says:

      I completely agree.

    2. Elie says:

      Yeah a bit like that sadly..I’m still dreaming about what Kimi could have done in that team ! You would think Romain would have learned from Kimis starts by now !

  71. Daniel MA says:

    I can’t wait to see what Jerome is capable of in a competitive car.

    1. olivier says:

      +1

      He outperformed Glock on several occasions in his rookie year.

  72. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

    How difficult, really, would it be to implement a disciplinary points system in F1? For example, punishments continue to be melted out as they currently are, but, in addition to in-race or next-race penalties. The following points are attributed….

    3 for jump-starting
    5 for causing a collision
    7 for causing a collision that leads to the direct retirement of the driver that was crashed into.
    5 for changing line more than once when defending position.
    5 for speeding in the pit lane or unsafe release

    You reach ten points, you have a 5-place grid penalty at the next race. When you reach 15-20 points, it’s a ten-place penalty. 25 points and it’s ten-place penalty or black flag for the next race. 30 points and it’s a black flag for the driver and no option for the team to replace that driver. Next step and it’s deduction of WDC and WCC points.

    The above are all just examples, but, at least there are some longer-term consequences for continued abuse of the rules. Let’s face it, Maldonado could and should have been excluded from a race based on what he did to Perez at Monaco and Hamilton at Valencia. But, on each ocassion, they’re treated as isolated incidents so no real consequence and no real deterrent to change ways.

    Really, how difficult would it to be implement something like this? Has it been proposed before?

    1. Simmo says:

      I agree with that. You should e-mail the FIA and tell them of your fool-proof idea ;)

  73. Luca says:

    Now I have read the feedback, you can now officially update your headline to read “Penalty was coming, say driver AND fans …” with the sidebar “Williams and Renault can count themselves lucky”.

    Kudos to Alonso for the incredibly lucid response to the incident. He must have been flush with adrenalin when he was asked for his point of view. Amazingly poised and clear.

    1. James Allen says:

      It was around 4-15pm in Spa, so a couple of hours after he was hit by “what felt like a train”

  74. Mark Vincent says:

    Can a driver have too much support from their mentors? Eric Boullier is RG’s manager as well as his Team Principle. I seem to recall a comment from EB at the start of the season that RG should not worry about crashing too much, just drive fast. I would hate for a return to the morbid days of the 60s, 70s and 80s but maybe Stirling Moss has a point when he bemoans the “safety” of modern F1 which leads to astonishingly stupid behaviour by young drivers.

  75. Pierre of Spa Francochamp says:

    James, I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the many stories that locals in the village bars tell about demons ….

    apparently every 2 or 3 years they strike to wreck the race.

    Sunday, these demons and voices got hold of Maldo and said, “Don’t be a fool, watching lights. Go! Go now!”

    Then they went and whispered to Grosjean, ” Hamilton is not beside you here, on the right. There is empty space. Move in there quick or you’ll be the last to reach la source..”

    Those boys need exorcism, not punishment

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      haha :)

    2. Heinz says:

      Sounds feasible !

  76. Aintree 1957 says:

    This may sound like blasphemy.
    I understand that the massed starts have always been an integral part of Grand Prix and Formula 1 racing, but seeing innocent contenders having their opportunities for finishing positions that reflect their and their car’s potential wiped out at the start of race after race seems plain stupid to me.
    Is it not time that the FIA considered rolling starts behind a pace car?
    It would not only be more fair to the teams which have spent tens of millions to achieve their places on the grid, but would also give the possibility of seeing all the drivers racing to the end, instead of the just thefortunate few that have escaped the first corner carnage.

  77. Steve W says:

    It’s clear grid penalties for causing collisions isn’t having the desired affect, as it doesn’t seem to deter drivers from making the same mistakes again in future. If anything, Grosjean and Maldonado’s on track behaviour has been getting worse rather than better over the course of the season. Therefore I think it was time for a more severe stance to be taken by the stewards. A race ban will hit Grosjean hard, and hopefully help him to clean his act up. I only hope this also serves as a warning to Maldonado, who can consider himself very fortunate not to have received a ban this season after some outrageous incidents, the collision with Perez at Monaco alone should have seen him banned for several races.

    The last driver to be banned for causing a collision was Mika Hakkinen back in 1994, in remarkably similar circumstances to that of Grosjean today. Hakkinen too was regarded as a fast but wild driver, and after a number of first corner incidents, he was eventually given a 1 race ban for triggering a multi car pileup at the start of the German Grand Prix. After returning from the ban, Hakkinen notably cleaned his act up, the first lap shunts became a thing of the past, and obviously 2 world titles followed. Lets hope the ban proves to be the making of Grosjean like it was with Hakkinen.

  78. Simmo says:

    I don’t get where this idea of Grosjean and Maldonado being similarly aggressive came from…

    The difference between Maldonado and Grosjean is Maldonado is pure arrogant and deliberately crashes, or defends too aggressively. Later, when interviewed, he blames car, tyres, and other drivers.

    Whereas Grosjean is just too keen at the start and gets into trouble that way. But Grosjean takes responsibility, apologises, takes the penalty, and will probably learn from his mistakes.

    Also, to say that Grosjean has been in seven start accidents is true, but your forgetting that Australia was Maldonado’s arrogance, Grosjean left loads of space.

    But, yes, the penalty was fair. He did the same in Monaco, and now he pays the price…

    1. James Allen says:

      They both have an under developed sense of risk

  79. F12012 says:

    If grosjean deserves a one race ban, then Maldonado deserved a two or three race ban, especially after the incidents at spa last year with Hamilton and Perez in monaco this year, but then again maybe that would affect Williams sponsorship

  80. Geenimetsuri says:

    Perhaps they should consider implementing some kind of merit-system, so that not all the new drivers in F1 are “rich kids” who did “only OK” in junior classes.

    Perhaps some kind of draft, where teams can pick a driver for themselves…?

    I don’t know…F1 is getting to be too commercial, too safe and too strict about mechanical rules. Where’s the creativity and exciting racing? Now it’s push-the-button-to-overtake-once-per-lap “racing”.

  81. I still think this penalty is a bit too harsh. Grosjean clearly needs to develop his spatial awareness, but none of his accidents were caused by him being too aggressive or ambitious. The DNFs alone are enough motivation for him to improve on that front.

    Maldonado is a different kettle of fish, as some of his tangles since entering on F1 have been bordering on thuggish. The FIA should’ve given him a suspended one-race ban already, as with Bottas going well on Friday the threat of missing a race would surely see him cool his jets.

    As things stand, Grosjean will be working hard on how to position his car during the race start (as he doubtless would have without the penalty) and Maldonado will probably get into another scrape before the FIA dish out the same penalty to him. The governing body isn’t making very effective use of the tools available, in my opinion.

  82. Lazystig says:

    I have to agree with the comments highlighting that Grojean’s (‘harsh’) penalty appears to have been applied because ‘genuine championship contenders’ were affected by his misendeavours.
    I hope that this is not the case. But it’s fine if it is the catalyst for sterner action, by the stewards, in the future.

    But it’s not just about who is affected, it should about what could have happened; too many times, in recent years, have we seen dangerous behaviour go unpunished, because no (or little) harm actually occurred: i.e. moving too late to defend a position is a reoccurring situation that seemingly goes unnoticed by those who should take notice!

    I really don’t want to see lots of intervention; above all else, a racing driver should feel free to ‘have a go’. But, in a kind of contradition to football becoming about ‘playing for the foul’, Stefano Domenicali’s comments remind me that motor racing seems to becoming about ‘getting away with the foul’! It’s pointless to debate why and who is responsible for this, we just need to remember that the risks are much greater in motor sport.
    What is it going to take to make those in control be seen to take driving standards seriously, throughout the sport?

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