Gasly race ban controversy

Pierre Gasly has been on the edge of a race ban since he collected 2 points for speeding past an on track recovery vehicle at the 2022 Japanese GP. The precarious nature of this position was in sharp focus with the stewards as Gasly caused a red flag late during the 2023 Australian GP.

The rules that see the French driver sitting on 10 points, just 2 shy of a race ban, have been re-written for this season to only include ‘dangerous driving’ incidents though Gasly has not benefited retrospectively.



Gasly close to race ban

3 of Pierre’s points were not for ‘dangerous driving’ but for falling more than 10 lengths behind the safety car and repeatedly exceeding of track limits. These transgressions no longer attract points from the stewards but Gasly remains in jeopardy until he drops points the day after round 6 at the Emila-Romagne GP.

The stewards were called upon to adjudicate whether Gasly should be penalised for causing the final red flag at the Australian GP.

The race had been red flagged on lap 54 as the shards of the shattered wheel rim from Kevin Magnussen’s Haas covered part of the circuit.



Pierre causes big shunt

At the restart, Gasly misjudged his braking into turn 1 because of cold tyres and brakes and lurched across the grass rejoining the circuit at turn 2.

Replays demonstrate Gasly is looking left at the cars which have passed him on not to the right where his team mate Esteban Ocon is closing quickly.

Pierre then drifted across the track taking out the much quicker Ocon forcing another red flag as debris from the pair of Alpine’s covered the track.

F1 weekend format to change



Alpine boss says ‘no blame’

Team boss Otma Szafnauer said “As far as trying to blame one or the other, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.” According to The Race.

“The right thing to do is learn from it. But there’s so much chaos there and you’ve got to make quick decisions.

“If you look at the onboard and the replay, [Yuki] Tsunoda gets through, Esteban tries to follow him, you don’t know where Pierre’s going to go and Pierre doesn’t know who’s there.

“So he’s just trying to get onto the racing line. It’s not like he’s looking in the mirror seeing somebody and saying, ‘Well, I’m going to block them’.



Gasly looking the other way

“He’s looking the other way, getting on the racing line thinking no-one’s there.”

“Pierre rejoins and can’t accelerate because he’s got grass on his rear tyres,”

“So the acceleration isn’t as much as the acceleration of those behind him. And he’s got one car that goes past on the right, another one that’s trying to go past on the right, and another one that’s going past on the left.

“So whatever you do, you’re going to hit somebody when they’re trying to overtake you.

“If the guys behind lift and allow you to accelerate, you have no issues. But unfortunately, they don’t lift.”




Alpine’s convoluted explanation

The Alpine boss concluded that it was a “racing incident” and that both drivers were responsible and revealed they both apologised.

Yet this highly convoluted account from Szafnauer smacks of praxis – post rationalisation of a previous event. 

And Ocon’s comments make it clear he believes it was Gasly who was at fault and that Pierre made the apology.

injured spectator at Australian GP



Ocon sees Gasly at fault

“After the chaotic restart it could have been anyone I collided with – a lot of cars were going off,” said Ocon.

“It ended up being Pierre not leaving me much space but no hard feelings. He came and apologised and, as I say, it could have been anyone.”

Whilst it is clear Gasly did not deliberately try to block anyone as Szafnauer observes, he was negligent in how he returned to the track which caused the entire incident – which in turn was in fact dangerous.

Massi reinstatement discussed in Melbourne



Alpine close ranks with stewards

However, there’s a hint that because its a blue on blue incident (same drivers within a team) that Alpine didn’t want to make a fuss of the incident in front of the stewards.

The stewards eventually determined this was “a first lap racing incident” and noted both drivers “recognised and accepted this as such. In the circumstances, we took no further action.”

Of course Formula One teams often close ranks when there’s an incident involving both of their drivers, but with the Gasly points scenario, it was even more vital that Ocon did his duty in playing the matter down.



Sainz penalty now puzzling

This may have been the end of the matter but Gasly’s avoidance of sanction by the stewards must be set alongside their ruling on Carlos Sainz.

The Ferrari driver was handed with a 5 second penalty that dropped him from 4th to 12th and out of the points and smacked with 2 penalty points for tagging Alonso in what is easily argued “a first lap racing incident.”

The stewards did indeed accept it was a first lap ‘incident’ but determined “there was sufficient gap for Sainz to take steps to avoid the collision and failed to do so.”

Perez accuses “dangerous” race control



Gasly lucky to escape sanction

But the same could be easily observed of Gasly who failed to take account of the speed differential between himself and others around him, didn’t check his mirrors or leave space for another car emerging on his right hand side.

The stewards would have been all to clearly aware of the media attention they would receive had they effectively banned Gasly from competing in the next race in Baku.

So it appears a contrite Alpine submission from both drivers and the team manager together with the inevitable global media scrutiny the stewards would incur, saved the Pierre Gasly from sanction.

READ MORE: Sky Fake quotes in Alonso/Hamilton stand off

One response to “Gasly race ban controversy

  1. The real scandals when the FIA refuse to clear penalties who were not for dangerous driving.
    It is said, other teams didn’t want the clearing and FIA bowed.
    So gentleman spirit or so sh.t

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