Gasly skirts ban as he avoids penalty for “first lap incident” with Ocon

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly has avoided drawing any closer to a race ban after the stewards chose not to penalise him for colliding with his team mate during the Australian Grand Prix.

The Alpine pair collided on lap 56 of the race, following the third standing start of the day and second red-flag period. Gasly went off at turn one and tangled with Esteban Ocon as he rejoined, putting both into the barriers and ending their races.

The stewards spoke with both drivers after the race as well as a team representative and deemed the collision “a first lap racing incident”, in light of the fact it followed a standing start.

“Both cars [drivers] recognised and accepted this as such,” the stewards noted. “In the circumstances, we took no further action.”

Avoiding a penalty will be a relief for Gasly, who has 10 penalty points on his licence and is close to triggering an automatic ban. If he incurs two more before the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of the month he will miss one race.

Ocon said he did not blame his team mate for the collision, and that Gasly apologised to him.

“It was unfortunate to have both our cars come together at the third standing start,” said team principal Otmar Szafnauer. “I’m glad both drivers are okay given the nature of the incident.”

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2023 Australian 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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    26 comments on “Gasly skirts ban as he avoids penalty for “first lap incident” with Ocon”

    1. Off course he did. The stewards will keep skirting around penalizing him as long as they can since they are clearly reluctant to see it resulting in a race ban.

      Shows how the penalty points system cannot work when awarding points is so arbitrary as it seems to be with F1

      1. Indeed, he will get penalty points as soon as some of his points expire, so that he won’t hit 12.

    2. shows how much of a joke 1 is at times when the stewards bend the rules at will like this. It is a clear driver penalty points worthy offence and therefore a race ban..

      F1 is truly WWE territory now when re-joining the track in a unsafe manor causing carnage does not get you penalty points.. If this was Tsunoda causing the collision everyone would call for a race ban but because its ‘only’ gasly no one cares and its brushed up as a racing incident.

    3. So… Vettel to be reinstated as winner of the Canadian Grand Prix in 2019?

      1. Good one !

      2. Sure, because that clearly was “a first lap racing incident” aswell.

      3. Hahaha !

    4. This is making an even further mockery of the stewards and the FIA.

      1. You’re absolutely right. It’s a joke, and everyone knows this is being done to safe F1 and Alpine the embarrassment of having a driver be banned for repeated reckless driving.

        FIA Code on driver conduct:
        – Should a car leave the track for any reason, the driver may rejoin. However, this may only be done when it is safe to
        do so
        . (IV.2.c)
        – Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. (IV.2.b)
        – Causing a collision, repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported to the Stewards and may entail the imposition of penalties up to and including the disqualification of any driver concerned (IV.2.d)
        – It is not permitted to drive any car unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time. (IV.2.e)

        Nothing against the guy personally, but Gasly is ticking a lot of boxes here. This overdue race ban might just be the wake up call he needs.

        1. Gasly might be erratic at times.. But his record of tangling with teammates, is amateurish compared to Ocon. Ocon is already a legend on that front.. It’s probably his favourite part of being a racing driver.

          1. Ocon is – at most – legendary blamed for things which are not his fault. Have you seen 2017/18 clashes with Perez, or simply following “popular opinion”?

            1. I remember each and every one of them. He put sergio in the wall in Baku and Sergio returned the favour in Singapore. Either ways, if you see Ocon defending from his teammates, you’ll realise he races them harder than any other driver on track… or did you selectively not add this to your unpopular opinion?

        2. So funny because erratic is ALWAYS the word I use to describe Gasly’s driving. He’s very, very dull and it shows in his driving and the way he speaks on the radio every time we hear him.

    5. BTW, it must have been so hard for Ocon to bite his lip when he both would have been delighted to see Gasly get a race ban and saw Ocon either a) recklessly rejoin and sweep across the track without a mirror check or b) recklessly put Ocon into the wall in a desperate bid to maintain his position. Gasly is an erratic driver who often seems to shut his brain off when frustrated or in a hard race.

      1. Gasly is an erratic driver who often seems to shut his brain off when frustrated or in a hard race.

        Agreed on the first part, but suggesting he shuts his brain off in certain situations does imply that it was on previous to the situation and I’m not convinced of that.

    6. Sainz will be fit to be tied after reading the stewards let Gasly make his case before deciding the penalty.

      1. Yeah, really good point about how unfair this is and how much they fail to be neutral and fair to everyone similarly there @keithcollantine.

      2. @keithcollantine To be fair, for the Alpine drivers they were both out of the race and there were no time penalties that would be a consideration for other drivers etc. So there was no time constraint on issuing any penalty.

        For Sainz, he was still in the race, even if it was only one more lap behind the safety car, so any time penalty to him was relevant to him and his competitors because they still had a (limited) opportunity to react to his penalty during the race (notwithstanding the fact that cars bunching up behind the safety car to try and get within 5 seconds could have been dangerous in itself).

    7. As expected. Sainz first lap incident – 2 penalty points. Gasly first lap incident – 0 penalty points because he’s close to a ban.

      1. Yes, just pathetic stewarding, I’d say remove penalty points, they’re completely useless.

      2. You see also why I never put any thoughts into how many penalty points drivers collected.

    8. OK, so… Sainz brakes a bit late, touches Alonso enough to spin him around, 5 seconds.
      Gasly literally veers into another car after being off, no penalty.

      No Nils no, this is so not right.

      1. @chrischrill While the race director deserves plenty of blame for the shambolic running of this Grand Prix – and the track security itself, he’s not the one in charge of penalties.

        The stewards were:
        Nish Shetty (legal professional, Singapore)
        Loïc Bacquelaine (legal professional, Belgium)
        Enrique Bernoldi (former F1 driver, Brazil)
        Christopher McMahon (Australia, and apparently the ‘2022 FIA Senior Official of the Year’)

        1. Basically no one with any real motorsport chops as I guessed besides Bernoldi. I don’t like to be one of those “the way it used to be guys,” but as recently as 2018 almost none of the SCs and red flags incidents ever the past three years would have been anything more than a yellow let alone a red flag.

    9. Not sure why this is no penalty but the Sainz Alonso one was

    10. This inconsistent farcical situation exists also because we put guys like this in these cars. I said it many times before; half the pack is at best mediocre. We need higher level drivers. It should be made mandatory for teams to have a certain framework for talent development allowing to tap in to the world poule not just the rich kids. Get rid of this issue within one generation and we might get some actual good racing.

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