Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Gasly given penalty point for “very silly” grid error

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly has been given a penalty point on his licence for failing to line up on the starting grid correctly ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

His onboard camera showed Gasly was in front of the grid hatchings when he started the race from 12th place.

The AlphaTauri driver was given a five-second time penalty for the infringement during the race. He recovered to take the final point for tenth place.

He apologised to his team on the radio after taking the chequered flag. “I’m sorry for the penalty,” said Gasly. “I thought I was fine but that’s very silly.”

Gasly’s penalty point is his first of the current 12-month period.

He said he had “mixed feelings” about the race. “I think in the race I made a good recovery but we’re really lacking pace compared to the first two rounds, which is frustrating.

“I’m upset with myself for making the mistake on the grid, it’s a very silly penalty to get and it made my life harder. That being said, I had some good battles in the race and managed to pass a few cars to make it into 10th place.

“The car definitely has potential, we just haven’t made it work consistently in all corners around the lap yet. We’re going to work hard now ahead of Monaco and I trust in the team to make some steps forward in the next few races.”

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2021 Spanish 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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20 comments on “Gasly given penalty point for “very silly” grid error”

  1. Is this really worth a penalty point?

  2. He was lucky to get even a single point after such a lackluster race.

  3. ColdFly (@)
    9th May 2021, 16:14

    Seriously?
    I thought those penalty point were for dangerous behaviour.

    1. Didn’t you see how dangerous it was?!

      *wink*

  4. Jockey Ewing
    9th May 2021, 17:27

    Both Kimi and Gasly had to serve a time penalty too, so at least it is consistent. Maybe the penalty point is there because some advantage could come from improperly parking into the grid slot. Or I don’t know, the penalty point is awarded because if one stops there at an “uncomfortable” angle, that can increase the chance of a pile-up at the start of the race?
    If there are no additinal dangers (so stopped sufficiently parallel to the grid slot), then I would only award a ime or drive through penalty. Although the strictess is probalby not coincidental, as especially formerly the cars clutch were not really built to start and stop multiple times at a race, and if someone lines up very badly, then maybe it is the best to have another formation lap, so theoretically it still could harm all entrants.

  5. Another point highlighting the stupidity of most license point penalties.

    On Gasly’s side – not sure why he didn’t reverse into correct position.

    1. Pretty sure reversing on the grid is a ‘no-no’

      1. Come to think of it, didn’t Kimi or someone do it a few years ago? Or am I imagining it? A quick google just gives you all results for the other type of ‘reverse grid’.

        1. @bernasaurus I think Fisichella in the early 2000s went to the wrong grid slot then tried to reverse to the correct one… Otherwise, I remember at the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix Massa had literally half his car in front of his grid slot, but somehow got away without a penalty.

        2. Jockey Ewing
          9th May 2021, 22:59

          One of Kimi’s still unexpired penalty points was “awarded” for a similar reason (2020 Hungarian GP).
          https://www.racefans.net/2020/07/19/raikkonen-given-penalty-point-for-failing-to-line-up-in-last-place-correctly/

        3. Jockey Ewing
          9th May 2021, 23:22

          I don’t know why it is a penalty point.
          One of my guesses is ( especially as Kimi recieved the same 1points + 5secs ) :
          It is maybe a consistent (at least) appliance of a quite much legacy rule?

          So what happens if someone not manages to take one’s own grid slot in a sufficently parallel way with the slot?
          It maybe causes some danger, a bit more likely pile up at the start. Probably this is why the point is awarded.
          I don’t know whether the clutches are much better (durability-wise) than those were some decades before, but around the Schumacher-era most teams had a cluch which barely lasted longer than a few starts. So if there were multiple race restarts and pit stops, there was a quite high risk that they will DNF instead for succcesfully restarting.
          So what do they do if someone takes the grid slot in a dangerously unparallel way? Do they have another formation lap then? Is is still harmful for the clutches? Because if yes, then the sinner harms the while field’s machinery, and the point is quite deserved. And a dangerously “unparallel parking” can cause trouble at starts.

          But for sure, I would rethink this rule, and I would make it more clear and explicit.

          1. Jockey Ewing
            9th May 2021, 23:25

            Hey Mr. Jock, the penalty points system is not so old, so this rule maybe has nothing to do with those clutches.

          2. Jockey Ewing
            9th May 2021, 23:30

            + At some venues, where the main straight is not very long, and/or even bending a bit, like at Imola, one can have advantages via occupying the grid slot in a not completely parallel way. So if it is not clearly subscribed in the rules, I would clarify that as well.

        4. Michael Schumacher, US GP 2002

      2. Tsunoda literally reversed on the grid on his first ever race. Nobody batted an eyelash, even f1 official instagram account published the video praising him, how “the rookie calmly managed to take care of that problem” or something like that. So idk. Who even knows anymore.

        Reply moderated
      3. Yuki did it during the Bahrain Grand Prix. Thought no warning, so allowed I guess.

  6. Neil (@neilosjames)
    9th May 2021, 18:19

    Sigh, another silly penalty point.

    Obviously it’s incredibly unlikely to ever happen, but imagine someone getting a race ban and losing the championship because they parked their car a few inches from where they were meant to…

  7. I was under the impression that the race engineer would help the driver to not overshoot the line. Silly mistake. But penalty point was not needed and shows how stupid F1 is becoming.

  8. Gasly making silly mistakes lately

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