Pierre Gasly's destroyed left-rear tyre, 2021 Styrian Grand Prix

No need to investigate collision between Leclerc and Gasly – Masi

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says there was no need to investigate the contact between Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly which ended the AlphaTauri driver’s race.

The pair made contact as they accelerated away from turn one on the first lap of the race. As Gasly drew ahead of the Ferrari, Leclerc moved in behind him, but struck Gasly’s left-rear tyre. That caused a puncture and subsequent damage which ended Gasly race.

The AlphaTauri driver was involved in further contact at turn three with Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi. Masi said the contact between Gasly and Leclerc was “looked at as part of the lead-up” to that subsequent incident.

The contact “was deemed one of those that was a first lap-type matter and, considering the whole situation, it was noted but no further investigation was necessary.”

Leclerc had an eventful race which included further contact with Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. He believes the Gasly incident occured because the pair chose the same moment to position themselves behind other rivals.

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“Basically, I was on the left of Pierre, I think he was trying to take the slipstream of the guys that were slightly to his left, went to the left at the same time that I was trying to get behind him and we just got surprised, both of us, and we had contact. Very small contact, but then had big consequences for both of us.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
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Leclerc damaged his front wing in the incident and had to pit for a replacement, but went on to finish seventh.

Gasly said a penalty for his rival would have made no difference to his race. “At the end of the day I don’t really care because our race was over already so it’s not going to change anything whether there is a penalty or not.

“But obviously I’m very disappointed because the car was good all weekend, we had a great quali and I think there was a good opportunity to score big points.”

“I’ve done one lap on four tyres and then the rest of the lap I was either on three or two,” he added. “It was a small contact with Charles and then the tyre blew up and that was it. Very frustrating.”

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42 comments on “No need to investigate collision between Leclerc and Gasly – Masi”

  1. Another feather in the cap for incompetance and arrogance of Masi.

    1. Why? First lap incidents were often left as “racing incidents” by Whiting.

      I’m not a fan of Masi, but claiming any decision he makes is wrong without considering the decision objectively is rather immature.

      1. This was not just a first lap incident. They were going up a strait and leclerc totally misjudged the size of his car and again ruined someone elses race

  2. “Basically, I was on the left of Pierre, I think he was trying to take the slipstream of the guys that were slightly to his left”

    This is such a lie, Gasly just drives normally. Penalty aside, I’m not sure why we haven’t heard an apology yet from Leclerc.

    1. @john-h Gasly did move slightly to the left just before Leclerc hit him. I’m not saying that Leclerc was totally blameless, because he does hold about 70-75% of the blame in my view, but I don’t think Gasly can be totally absolved of blame either. I think it’s just a busy racetrack, lap 1 racing incident. I don’t think a penalty would have made much difference to Leclerc’s race at the end of the day either, as he finished 15 seconds ahead of Stroll who was the next car behind him.

      1. The circuit bends to the left, I don’t mean just normal steering @randommallard, I mean what Leclerc suggested.

        I really like the guy, but the point of penalties is longer term so he doesn’t do it again. I’m afraid Leclerc does have a tendency to crash on the first lap and ruin the race for other drivers.

        1. @john-h Gasly is turning to the left as the circuit is still turning to the right. It can be seen at just after 1 minute 25 here, just after both rejoin the track.

          I’m with you with your second point though. He does seem like a nice guy and I doubt that he’s deliberately taking people out, but he can just be a bit too aggressive. It feels like he’s going through the same phase Verstappen went through in early 2018, and Hamilton in 2010/2011, where they are getting into incidents but (hopefully) learning and maturing from them.

          I don’t think a penalty for Leclerc would necessarily stop him doing it again though, because a 5 or 10 second penalty (which is what he probably would have got) wouldn’t have changed his finishing position. With hindsight and a contextualised view of the wider race, the best option imo would have been a reprimand and 2 penalty points, as if these start to accumulate then he gets in a bit more trouble, so that gives him the incentive to not do it again.

          1. Thank you for the video link. Leclerc is definitely steering right at the moment that he punctures Gasly’s tyre. I don’t think Gasly can go any further right thanks to Alonso being there. He also looks to have his steering straight.

            The T1 contact was definitely unavoidable contact. After Alonso got up the inside, there was nowhere for Gasly to go, so even less room for Leclerc.

            Ironically it was a good move into T1 by Alonso that gains him 2 places, only for both Gasly and Leclerc to both re-pass him after both running wide of the kerbs.

          2. I disagree, I think it clearly shows it’s 100% on LEC, he misjudged it. Look at the room on the left for LEC. It’s stays constant, GAS was not moving to the left at all.

          3. @baasbas @eurobrun
            Gasly moved slightly more than Leclerc, so if anything, he cut across Leclerc’s path, but overall 50/50, so both partly at fault for eventual contact.

          4. @eurobrun Gasly definitely has left steering lock on at 1.26 on the video I attached. It is probably about equivalent to the amount of right steering lock seen on Leclerc’s car just before the puncture (albeit the camera angle will make a difference, potentially slightly exaggerating left steering inputs and devaluing rightward ones. Race Control have the full telemetry available to them and they could have been using this to make their decision). You can also see from Fernando’s onboard that the gap from Gasly to the edge of the track doesn’t close as much as it should if Gasly had been on a straight course.

            I’ll reiterate what I said above: I like both drivers, I like but don’t support either team (although I prefer AT over Ferrari personally), and think about 75% of the blame lies on Leclerc. I think it is very rare for one driver to be 100% at fault for a collision, and personally don’t feel it did on this occasion either. Leclerc did misjudge his move, there is no denying that, but I don’t think it is penalty-worthy. A reprimand and a couple of penalty points should have been the right outcome imo.

            You may have also stumbled into another factor the stewards may or may not have taken into account, in that both Gasly and Leclerc went off the track. That likely had quite a large contribution in how the accident played out, and one could argue that Gasly was a bit too eager to get back on the track, while Leclerc waited a bit longer to rejoin down the MotoGP rejoin road.

            @jerejj While I do think Gasly moved, I don’t think it’s possible to say he moved more than Leclerc. Charles made a big miscalculation, and payed the price in losing his front wing. Again, you put further down that Leclerc couldn’t go further left. Again, despite my arguments above, I can’t say this is strictly true. There is quite a lot (at least 1 metre) of room to Leclerc’s left that he could have gone into.

  3. For once Michael, I agree with you here. It was a classic ‘busy racetrack lap 1’ racing incident in my view.

    1. I dont agree. Leclerc basically ended Gasly’s race here due to a driver error of Leclerc

  4. Hypocritical nonsense of the first degree.
    Masi you should be replaced. This isn’t the first inconsistency in Stewarding decisions this year already.
    To 100% add insult to injury. CL as DOTD. OUTRAGEOUS.

    1. @wildbiker I don’t understand why people keep talking about Masi when talking about Stewarding. Masi isn’t a steward, he is the race director. Yes Masi can note an incident to be raised by the stewards, but the stewards are also allowed to investigate incidents noted by themselves. Article 38.2 a) states that:

      It shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide if any driver involved in an Incident
      should be penalised.

      Therefore, Masi has no say over what penalties should be handed out (or at least he shouldn’t, and I can’t find any evidence that he is involved when he shouldn’t be). It just so happens that he is the media mouthpiece for the FIA at a race weekend.

      1. @randommallard whoa whoa let’s not let facts get in the way of ideology!

    2. @wildbiker
      Also DOTD is decided by the fans and unless it is someone ridiculous (like when Haryanto won it a few times based on votes alone), it’ll stand.
      So maybe you should be directing that part of your complaint at F1’s fanbase.

    3. Enraged? Take a look at all of these unacceptable incidents and untrustable lies:
      – Monaco 2019, marshals on close proximity to the cars. (Just a dangerous incident)
      – Mugello 2020, Safety Car debacle. (I don’t need to describe this one)
      – Imola 2020, stewards on close proximity to the cars. (Dangerous incident)
      – Turkey 2020, qualifying restarted while the crane is out on the track. (VERY DANGEROUS)
      – Bahrain 2020, marshal crossing the track on close proximity. (Seriously, we don’t hear “we got a brave marshal on the track” anymore)
      – Imola 2021, Vettel and Stroll’s penalty decided too late. (Untrustable lies, by the way Vettel was only mentioned)
      – F2 Monaco 2021, Deledda allowed to take part in the race. (Untrustable lies)
      – Azerbaijan 2021, didn’t red flag Stroll’s crash and red-flagged Verstappen’s crash too late. (VERY DANGEROUS)
      – Styria 2021, decided not to investigate the tyre clipping incident. (Untrustable lies)

      One more incident and the outcome will be 100% clear. Or should I just give him a break?

      1. I think you need to give him a bit of a break Dave. Anything involved with how a session is run (SCs, red flags, vehicles on track, letting backmarkers through while Marshalls are still cleaning etc) is Masi’s fault. I can’t deny that.

        On the other hand, some of these cannot be blamed entirely (or in some cases, at all) on Masi. He isn’t the race director for F2, so had no say in Deledda racing. He was simply the FIA’s mouthpiece as the F2 Race Director Bob Kettleboro seems to want to keep a low profile. Anything related to penalties (Imola 2021 and Styria 2021) has to be put down to the stewards. They decide the penalties (and it is them who took so long in Imola), and the stewards have the power to note and investigate incidents at their own wish (they don’t have to be noted by Masi to be investigated). My final point is that not everything dangerous is necessarily Masi’s fault. I highly doubt the marshall in Bahrain was told to run across the track, I expect he chose to of his own accord (and after the first fire of that race, I’m not surprised the adrenaline kicked in a bit).

        However, his record of incidents he does have power over is frightening, and the FIA should be working their hardest to find a suitable replacement.

      2. I’m gonna give him a break and extend the Dismissal Counter to five. Six more incidents for now. And if Kettleboro made the explanation on the F2 one and not Masi, I wouldn’t have listed the F2 one here.

  5. Charles Leclerc is managed by Nicolas Todt. There really is no further explanation needed when he’s not penalised for his mistakes.

    1. @armchairexpert
      You do realise that Jean Todt isn’t a steward right? As Article 38.2 a) of the regulations state, it is the stewards who decide whether a penalty should be given.
      Also look at the other drivers Nicolas Todt has managed – Maldonado, Kvyat and Massa – or are you arguing that they also didn’t receive appropriate penalties for their mistakes?
      Therefore your ‘theory’ is nothing but a load of conspiratorial nonsense. You only need to go back to Sakhir last year for Leclerc receiving a penalty for an opening lap mistake.
      Armchair Expert, more like Armchair Amateur.

      1. Yes, I’m perfectly aware stewards are hired by FIA president Jean Todt. We all know Mr Todt is impartial and even suggesting any kind of wrongdoing is definitely pretty poor form https://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/an-open-letter-to-gerard-saillant-oh-yeah-jean-todt-too/ https://formerf1doc.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/todt-saillant-le-denouement-part-1/

        1. @armchairexpert
          I don’t know what the links you posted have to do with anything frankly, and your suggestion that the stewards are somehow Jean Todt’s minions is bizarre.
          The links are about Jean Todt, not Nicolas and even if you believe the guy, what does that have to do with Leclerc’s penalties, or lack of?
          It’s typical mad theorist procedure, use one obscure reference as evidence of some grand conspiracy rife throughout an organisation.

          1. @randommallard You are right. Former FIA president Balestre had no impact on Senna/Prost fight, because he wasn’t involved in stewarding. Now I truly see the light – there is no nepotism or corruption in the sport!

          2. @armchairexpert Balestre took on the role of head of the FIA (although it was as head of FISA that he wielded most of his power in F1) in a much different capacity to Todt. Balestre was very hands on and active within the sport, while Todt has had a much more laid-back approach, and has not been an interventionist anywhere near as much as Balestre or Mosely before him. I won’t say it’s completely implausible, but I think it is highly unlikely that Leclerc escaped a penalty just because he is managed by Todt Jr. There are plenty of examples of his clients getting penalties: Leclerc in Sakhir last year, Kvyat in Russia in 2016, and I mean Maldonado was one of the reasons we have the current penalty points system on the super license.

        2. @armchairexpert I have to agree with Neutralino here. I don’t see how these links have anything to do with whether or not Leclerc got a penalty. Neither article mentions Nicolas Todt, while Jean Todt, who is mentioned in that article, has no involvement in the stewarding procedures. As far as I can tell, he wasn’t even in Austria this weekend and was instead in Kenya at the Safari Rally.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with Masi. The Leclerc-Gasly incident was 50/50. Neither was wholly or predominantly at fault as both moved slightly towards each other’s path. Merely an unfortunate L1 contact with considerable consequences. People should stop blaming Leclerc for both situations in which he was involved.

    1. 50/50 I mean come on man, what were you watching there! @jerejj the guy just misjudges where his endplate is when trying to get in Gasly’s slipstream and hands him a dnf. Maybe we can start to get on board with the lap 1 argument, but 50/50? Man alive.

      1. @john-h If anything, Gasly moved slightly more (leftwards than he moved rightwards) than him and barely was ahead prior anyway. Leclerc had zero room on his left as he was close beside grass already. I stand by my 50/50 verdict, which is in line with Stewards.

        1. “Leclerc had zero room on his left as he was close beside grass already”

          I admire you @jerejj for standing by your verdict, but that simply isn’t true. See Mallard’s video link above.

  7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    28th June 2021, 10:09

    Disagree, Leclerc should have been given a penalty.

    1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      28th June 2021, 12:30

      The guy ruined a competitor’s race, literally DNF’d him before the end of lap 1 – a car that he arguably would be racing against on track and in the championship. Those lost points may hurt AlphaTauri a lot and it was helpful for Ferrari to remove him. I’m certainly not saying it was deliberate but it was fortunate for them. Just strikes me as bad that he finished quite comfortably in the points and suffered no punishment for deleting Gasly from the race.

      1. @rocketpanda It all comes down to what is considered when penalising, as in do you just consider the incident or do you consider the consequences of the incident. There is precedent set both ways by the FIA. Again, I would also say he did suffer a punishment for the collision with Gasly, and that was losing his front wing and having to pit at the end of lap 1. Without that stop, he could have been fighting with Norris for best of the rest today. Both Ferrari’s had great pace today, and I think they could still potentially rue that mistake later in the season (especially if the race for 3rd in the WCC is as close as it was last year).

    2. This kind of contact is very rarely if ever penalised in T1 of the race, and probably for good reason

  8. This can go both sides. There is a given decision so im stick with it. No big deal in the end.

  9. I don’t know if I should call this as an untrustable lie.

  10. Martin Elliott
    28th June 2021, 17:51

    The arrogance of Masi is overwhelming.
    He is Race Controller. His responsibility is to decide if an incident happened and to pass it to the Stewards for judgement.

    Did contact take place? Yes. It is not the role of Race Control to decide if the contact caused disruption to another driver. It is not the role of the Race Controller to decide if it was significant or a normal first lap incident.
    That is the role of the Stewards.

    Even if it was his responsibility, isn’t the destruction of rear suspension significant damage.

    He may have been an adequate ‘wing man’ to Charlie, but seems as if a quiet review of his performance in F1, and as Race Controller in lower formulas.

    But then again, this is FIA so probably doesn’t have a formal regular/continuous performance review of its officials.

    1. I think you need to read the comments by @randommallard above.

      1. Listen. To. Me. Instead.

    2. (insert name here) is responsible for the content of this advertising

  11. OK it was an early first lap incident, but it wasn’t while challenging for a corner or anything. It was on the straight with time, space and Gasly following a predictable line in front. It’s poor driving on Leclerc’s part. Not even being investigated was weird. A fairly clear penalty I thought. But… It’s Leclerc. I like him but he does seem to get extra protection.

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