Q1 incident could have had “very serious outcome”

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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The Brazilian Grand Prix stewards have warned that the collision between Romain Grosjean and Pedro de la Rosa in Q1 could have had a “very serious outcome”.

However they ruled it was a racing incident and imposed no penalty on either driver. The stewards issued the following explanation:

“The driver of car 22 [Pedro de la Rosa] felt that he was following his normal line, was aware that car 10 was behind him and was aware of the speed delta.

“The driver of car 10 [Grosjean] believed he had been seen by the driver of car 22 and that car 22 was moving aside to the right to allow him through.

“Accordingly the stewards consider this a driving incident due to the nature of the track but have advised the drivers, and the drivers agree, that this could have resulted in a very serious outcome.”

De la Rosa blamed Grosjean for the collision, saying: “I was on a flying lap when I was hit by another car.

“It was a dangerous manoeuvre because I couldn’t move aside given the track conditions. As a consequence of the impact, the rear suspension bent and also punctured the rear tyre.”

He added: “I really hope the car is not badly damaged because the race is tomorrow and I want to be able to do my best here in order to finish the season on a good note.”

Grosjean was similarly critical of de la Rosa: “I stayed behind Pedro during his flying lap to not disturb his time, but then when we got to the straight I tried to get past and he just didn’t see me. I braked as much as I could but it was too late; he moved across, there was contact which broke my front wing and that was my afternoon ruined.

“To be honest I’m pretty upset about it; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless.”

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Q1 incident could have had “very serious outcome””

  1. It was Hamilton’s fault

    1. will people ever stop with this?

      1. will stewards ever stop with this?

    2. Love it!

  2. welcome back Romain!!

  3. Do we need more warnings? Please remove that grandstand and put some runoffs! That corner is the Tamburello of the 21st century, IMO.

    1. @carlitox – I don’t think it’s the problem with a lack of run-off really, it’s more due to the fact it is accepted that drivers are allowed to cut across the pit entry. That is the dangerous part in my opinion which could be solved easily – it will be solved if new pit facilities are constructed which I believe they are due to be in conjunction with a contract renewal.

      Honestly I think removing that grandstand would cause more problems than it would solve, and it wouldn’t be very popular with the Brazillian fans!

      1. Yeah I also agree with you. Another great solution would be moving the start/finish line to the Reta Oposta (the straight after Senna’s S). That way drivers can take the corner as they like, without cars pitting in their way. But that requires a lot of work and money, things that I’m not sure the track owners have.

    2. It’s just like ovals, walls next to the track in a flat-out bend. Not the best for safety.

      1. Why change the track, the drivers know what it’s like. Brazil has been on the race calender for years .

        1. Because that particular spot is dangerous?

  4. The HRT drivers were crazy during the Q1 today! Fighting with Glock first, then PDLR not letting enough space to Romain Grosjean, who clearly has a fastest car. And when Maldonado passed the HRT by the right he was so close from the wall!
    It’s annoying that Narain and Pedro could not get any penalty (because they are always on the back of the grid!) and I think it’s a real problem.

    1. Just because Gorsjean has a faster car doesn’t mean de la Rosa has to let him past. Pedro has every right to set a hot lap, if Gorsjean comes across him then Romain can either back off or overtake him sensibly.

      1. I agree to some extent, but let’s face it, the usual reason that drivers don’t allow others in front of them, is because they don’t want to be impeded on their next lap. However, the Lotus is A LOT faster than the HRT and by the time turn 1 came around, the Lotus would have passed the HRT and would quickly pull a gap, leaving Pedro to continue his run with little to no time loss at all.

        In my mind, De La Rosa was at fault here more so than Grosjean. Not to mention that De La Rosa wouldn’t have had to move over much further to allow Grosjean through, whereas it would have been more dangerous for the Lotus to try and overtake on the outside, where it was slippery.

        1. De La Rosa, was at no way in fault.

          De La Rosa is in no way required by the rules to move over. De La Rosa did not cut him off. And did nothing wrong.

          1. Yes he did

    2. Grosjean went to overtake in a gap that was always going to close, that’s why Maldonado went around the outside.

      I presume from your avatar you would probably blame the HRT whatever he did, but in my opinion he was on a timed lap and he had every right to stay on the racing line.

      Fast as he is, Grosjean just makes bad decisions.

      1. Fast as he is, Grosjean just makes bad decisions.


      2. Indeed. It’s bit weak to call this a racing incident when it’s clear that Grosjean simply took a ridiculous and completely unnecessary risk.

  5. I wonder if HRT can afford to fix De La Rosa’s car!

    1. Pedro was in a “flying lap”, no less….

  6. Looked like another reckless and ill-thought-through move by Grosjean to me. Only a matter of time before he causes another big accident.

    1. Exactly, he could’ve just gone round the outside as Schumacher? did. It was a collision that shouldn’t have happened.

      1. I agree. De la Rosa was on a hot lap & all the drivers take that line when they’re on fast laps. It was stupid of Grosjean to stick his nose in there, as if expecting Pedro to just move over or evaporate into thin air. It seems as if he uses every bit of his brain for going fast, & then there’s nothing left in the way of common sense. Quick or crash.

      2. *Maldonado

    2. Couldn’t agree more….

  7. I agree with the stewards here. Racing incident at best. De La Rosa was on a hot lap, yes, but Grosjean was faster than him by virtue of being in the E20…and he couldn’t be expected to compromise a hot lap himself.

    Just the way it goes sometimes!

    1. @andrewtanner I agree. The phrase “racing incident” doesn’t get used enough in sorting out collisions like this in my view. This was clearly one of them.

      1. @keithcollantine

        The phrase “racing incident” doesn’t get used enough in sorting out collisions like this in my view.

        I certainly agree with that.

        I watch a lot of motorcycle racing and it’s common to see incidents, often much worse than incidents we see resulting in penalties in F1, being regarded as a racing incident and in most cases the riders, teams and stewards just get on with it with only serious or intentional incidents resulting in penalties.

        It’s getting to the point now that almost any incident in F1 results in the drivers shouting on the radio and the stewards handing out penalties. A bit more common sense, as we’ve seen with this incident, would be very welcome.

      2. I realy don`t agree. DLR had to respect GRO as he was alongside.

        1. @klaus-pedersen I don’t agree at all that Grosjean was alongside him, his front wing touched de la Rosa’s rear wheel.

      3. Exactly that. I think its good that most incidents are investigated, more than is done now. But I hate seeing a “incident between car x and car y being investigated” with the knowledge that inevitable one is getting a penalty each time.

        I do get the feeling that in the last couple of races there have been more cases where stewards decided this way and I hope the “racing incident” verdict is getting back to prominence.

        Both drivers could have done, and in hindsight should have done, something a bit different. Luckily both reacted fast enough to avoid a more serious accident. And both had their own qualifying effort suffer from it, so they penalized themselves enough.

    2. The question is, why did Grosjean decide to overtake by dodging down the inside of the HRT?

      If it is “Accepted practice” to cut the pit entry, and go as close to the wall as possible, why would Grosjean try and stick his car into a narrowing gap, right at the point where the other car always moves across?

      Racing incident it may be, but that doesn’t make the move any less stupid. Like Lewis in Montreal, if you’re convinced you’re that much faster, you can overtake on either side. Overtaking into a narrowing gap isn’t ballsy, or evidence of a fast driver, it’s indicative of a lack of thinking.

      “I want to go into that gap, the car in front should just disappear” isn’t racing logic in my mind.

      1. After watching the footage I don’t think it was possible for Grosjean to overtake on the outside line – at least without having to lift. As De la Rosa was doing a fast lap, while Grosjean was starting a fast lap, it was just a matter of bad timing. He didn’t need to be so close to the horribly slow car.

    3. @andrewtanner I completely agree. Watching Grosjean’s onboard I probably would have gone for the gap as well, instinctively. Pedro was wavering a little before the apex, hesitant to commit 100% to the racing line but obviously decided to put his hot lap ahead of letting Grosjean through (which at the end of Q1 was fair enough). At that point I imagine Pedro assumed Grosjean wasn’t going to go for that small gap and so he took the racing line. Pinning blame on one driver over another would’ve been foolish.

  8. Every time I see the onboard of these guys cutting the pit lane entry at this circuit I shudder. That pit wall will claim someone one day. Scary.

    1. I agree. It wouldn’t take much for a car to slam head on with the start of the pit wall.

  9. It’s true that they were both on their fast lap, but Grosjean moved to the left before, I think he expected De La Rosa to move a little bit to the right (the time loss would have been close to zero in doing so). There were no corners until the end of the lap, so that was an accident that could have been avoided, no doubt. I don’t think that Grosjean was to blame, he chose his line quite early, but De La Rosa didn’t seem to notice it.

  10. Some pretty stupid assumptions being made by the driver of car 10, but the right decision for me. Could have been a nasty accident for Grosjean with his front wing under his wheels like that – like Heidfeld’s in Canada last year but at much higher speed.

    Good thing they didn’t decide to punish de la Rosa. What could they give him that would make any difference? Go to the back of the grid – ah, he’s there already. A penalty at his next grand prix, or suspended ban? Nope.

  11. Racing incident nothing more, nothing less. There is no blame with either Pedro or Grosjean. I think they should take a decent look at cutting over the pit entry like that. That’s simply madness, one day someone is going to slightly touch that barrier and go straight on into the barrier on the other side and that won’t be a pretty sight.

    Pedro has always been a fair driver, he has any right to get a flying lap in on the dry patch as any other.

    1. Pedro has always been a fair driver, he has any right to get a flying lap in on the dry patch as any other.

      Which is why in my opinion Grosjean was at fault for the collision between the two cars.

      I admire being non-confrontational and saying this was a racing incident (lord knows how many times I have argued against less needless steward interventions in the past!!), but to me I completely disagree with this point of view – Grosjean made a very poor decision that could have ended in disaster.

  12. In my opinion, this was not a racing incident. I saw De la Rosa on the usual racing line, and Grosjean caused a collision by trying to go around the inside where there was no space. He would have had ample opportunity to either use the lots more room available to him around the outside of De la Rosa, or he should have waited for the straight run up to Turn 1 to make his pass.

    Especially for a driver who has had enough gaffes and mistakes causing collisions this year, I can’t accept he escapes with what I see as a lenient decision.

    His team could yet have scored quite a few more points this year, if they could rely on him to be precise and consistent in his performances. Clearly, he is not.

  13. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    25th November 2012, 4:18

    Ugh, Grosjean is always trying to blame it on the other driver. So annoying.

    I wish he would just man up and admit he caused that collision.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      25th November 2012, 4:19

      I think that it was a racing incident, but Romain could have done a lot more to prevent it. He played a much larger role in the incident.

  14. “To be honest I’m pretty upset about it; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless.”

    Every driver has a right to set the fastest time that he can, whether he is in a Red Bull or a HRT. As the first driver on the road, Pedro de la Rosa had the right to choose his racing line through Arquibancadas; as the second driver, Romain Grosjean had to take the next-best alternative, however much that might have cost him in time. He has no right to expect that a driver will yield to him and compromise their own lap simply because Grosjean is faster. The difference in speed between a Lotus and a HRT might be significant, but I think it sets a dangerous precedent. If de la Rosa is expected to get out of the way of a faster car while he is on his flying lap, then what is to stop Grosjean from expecting – or demanding – that a Sauber or a Williams do the same when he is faster than them?

    If Grosjean encounters a slower car at one of the fastest (and arguably most dangerous) parts of the circuit (or of any circuit, for that matter) and that car is on a flying lap, then the burden of responsibility should rest with him. If that compromises his own flying lap, then that is his problem – he should have timed his run better so as to avoid de la Rosa.

    1. Indeed. Grosjean would (should) have gotten a penalty for “impeding a driver in his flying lap” if he actually had made the move stick. I really can;t imagine how this can be classified as a racing incident or go unpunished.

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