Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Gasly drops six places on grid for impeding Verstappen and Sainz

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Pierre Gasly has been given a pair of three-place grid penalties for the Spanish Grand Prix for impeding two rivals during qualifying.

The Alpine driver had qualified in fourth place on the grid – his best starting position since joining Alpine at the start of the 2023 season – beating Lewis Hamilton to the second row by just two-thousandths of a second.

However, he was investigated for two instances of impeding – the first for holding up Carlos Sainz Jnr in the final corners of the lap in Q1 and for getting in the way of Max Verstappen at turn five during the second phase of qualifying.

Gasly told the stewards he could not avoid impeding Sainz as he has already moved out of the way to let the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc past. The stewards did not accept his explanation.

In the second case, the stewards ruled Alpine didn’t give Gasly sufficient warning that Verstappen was closing on him.

The double penalty means Gasly has lost what would have been his best starting position since the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix. “It’s a real pity we will not start from the second row tomorrow after the penalty for impeding,” he said.

“I think it was very unfortunate with the traffic, cars so close together and the high-speed final corners. We have to accept it, move on and keep our heads down for tomorrow where I know we can still have a strong race.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

While Gasly was given three-place grid penalties for both incidents, he does not incur any penalty points on his licence.

Stewards’ decisions on Gasly

Sainz incident

The stewards heard from the driver of car ​10 (Pierre Gasly), the driver of Car ​55 (Carlos Sainz), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, team radio and in-car video evidence.

The driver of car 10 stated he was aware that the second Ferrari (car 55) was behind but felt he could do nothing to avoid impeding because of the high speed delta and closeness of car 55 to car 16. However it is the view of the stewards that he could have moved further to the right at the exit of turn 13.

Verstappen incident

The stewards heard from the driver of car ​10 (Pierre Gasly), the driver of car one (Max Verstappen), team representatives and reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, team radio and in-car video evidence.

The team failed to give appropriate warning to the driver of car 10, of the approach of car one, having told him that cars behind were on a slow lap.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

    Browse all 2023 Spanish Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    27 comments on “Gasly drops six places on grid for impeding Verstappen and Sainz”

    1. Makes a mockery of the penalty points system if they won’t give them out when a driver is close to a race ban.

      1. Leclerc didn’t get penalty points in Monaco so the decision is consistent with that. Also it seems that no penalty points is given for track limit infringements this season.

      2. @red-andy Gasly would be well on his way to ban #2 if they kept giving him penalty points.

        @bleu Penalty points for impeding were given to Ricciardo (Saudi 2022), Mazepin (Spain 2021), Tsunoda (Austria 2021), Giovinazzi (Monaco 2019, Hungary 2019), RUssell (Austria 2019), Leclerc (Austria 2020), Ocon (England 2020), Vettel (Austria 2021) and probably others.

        1. @MichaelN
          The approach about what infringements warrant penalty points changed a bit for this season.

          1. @jerejj
            I suspect the reason for the change is that they have complete control to manipulate the penalties.

          2. It was probably becoming a bit too obvious that they were going out of their way to prevent any repeat-offenders from actually being banned. Which was, after all, the purpose of the point system to begin with. Best to just scrap it and start giving harsher in-event penalties.

            It seems the stewards have forgotten in their enthusiasm for five second time penalties, but they are actually able to give out drive through penalties, stop-go penalties and they can even disqualify drivers and ban them.

          3. You might be on to something, while it seems a conspiracy to not give points to gasly because of circumstances (and I’m sure it is), it’s also suspicious that no one else was given points for this type of infringiment this season.

      3. @red-andy as pointed out by other posters, an agreement was reached between the teams, drivers and FIA prior to the start of this season that most of the more minor infractions would be dealt with just by applying a sporting sanction – e.g. grid penalties or time penalties – with penalty points only being applied when a more serious offence has occurred.

        It’s why, for example, Leclerc was given a three place grid penalty for impeding Norris in qualifying for the Monaco GP, but did not receive any penalty points – the grid penalty is now seen as sufficient penalty.

        1. The point system was precisely to penalize ‘small’ incidents and would only come into play when a driver was involved in many such incidents within a single year.

          More serious offenses can be handled with the wide selection of penalties available to the stewards (which they seem to have forgotten about). As usual, the FIA is too concerned with what the teams and drivers want.

          1. MichaelN, the purpose of imposing the points system was not stated to be to “penalise ‘small’ incidents” – it seems you’re retrospectively imposing that rationale from the way that the penalties were levied, rather than looking back to what the original intended role for the penalty points were meant to be.

            When introduced, the stated purpose of the penalty points system was to penalise actions that were considered to be part of a pattern of driving in a reckless manner in a persistent way, such as speeding under yellow flags or colliding with other drivers, but where the individual events were below the threshold for a driver to receive a race ban for their actions. Impeding was added as part of the scope creep of the original proposal, which went from penalising actions that were reckless in nature to then including actions that were more of an inconvenience to other drivers.

      4. mark from Toronto
        4th June 2023, 2:19

        I think they blamed the team for not informing him, but I really don’t get why he would just stay off the racing line when he is not on a hot lap

    2. As expected, albeit his excuse that he couldn’t do anything despite being aware of Sainz fast approaching is weird because he could’ve waited more before moving to the racing line at the penultimate corner entry simply by slowing down more on the short run into the corner to avoid getting tight with Sainz on the turning point.

      1. Agree. Actually should have been given a race ban which would give him time to ponder if he “really couldn’t do anything.” That statement scares me.

      2. Yeah, it is an incomprehensible excuse to me as well @jerejj, @jimfromus. I get that a driver can find himself in a bad position because the team did not enough to warn him – as we saw with Leclerc last race, and with the Verstappen incident today – but to admit he was aware but felt he “couldn’t wait” sounds like admitting he just did not bother to consider that Sainz was on a hot lap. To me that one should earn him a few penalty points on his licence.

        1. @jimfromus @bascb
          Indeed. A dangerous excuse in the long-term that can eventually lead to a high-speed collision.

          1. Exactly. And it is certainly not the first time we saw something like that from Gasly.

    3. Something Must Be Done… but do we have to wait for something like the crash that took Gilles Villeneuve’s life? Pathetic tyres, inconsiderate driving and ineffectual penalties.

      1. Not to mention the liberal use of red flags! The one in q1 seemed ridiculous.

    4. Gasly and Ocon… Undoubtedly the most uninspiring drivers line-up on the grid. Ocon struggles to acknowledge that overtaking is part of racing, while Gasly’s has been a joke so far.

      1. @tifoso1989 I don’t quite follow what you imply by Ocon struggling to acknowledge overtaking is part of racing as I haven’t got such an idea, even indirect, about him so far this season unless you’re referring to his past incidents with teammates.

        1. Unless you’re refering to his past incidents with teammates, like when Perez put him into the wall like 3 times, and when Alonso got penalized after he crashed into him?

        2. @jerejj
          I’m not referring to the past incidents, Ocon has exhibited reckless driving behaviour throughout this year too. Despite narrowly avoiding collisions due to other drivers’ evasive actions, he consistently employs risky tactics, such as sudden last-minute manoeuvres and returning to the racing line earlier than anticipated, putting attacking drivers in difficult situations and forcing them to take evasive measures.

          This resembles the tactics used by K-Mag before his comeback. If this reckless driving persists, it will undoubtedly lead to disastrous consequences. There’s a big difference between being aggressive but fair and being reckless.

    5. If he ran into the other cars he would of been better off, apparently that only warrants a warning.

    6. Just appoint Kimi perpetual sole steward.

      1. Then no one would get penalties! “Bwah, that’s part of racing”

    7. If Gasly would have been 0.5s slower then Sainz would have crashed certainly and I doubt Gasly would have got penalty points for that.
      It’s like those furniture shops with their SUPERSALES. It’s just to look them make better. Yes we will ban bad drivers we have this thing called PENALTYPOINTS. But don’t tell anyone we really don’t ban them. It would get too much negativity. Because then there would be bad drivers in our series. Shhh!

      1. I love how much FIA bites its own legs. They have bited so much their backs haven’t been straight for years now.

    Comments are closed.