Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012

Grosjean handed one-race ban for first-corner crash

2012 Belgian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012Romain Grosjean has been banned for one race following the crash at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The collision was triggered when Grosjean moved across on Lewis Hamilton on the run to the first corner.

Grosjean car struck Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari dangerously close to the cockpit. Four drivers were eliminated in the crash, including Grosjean, Hamilton, Alonso and Sergio Perez. Kamui Kobayashi’s car was also badly damaged.

The Lotus driver was also fined €50,000 for the collision.

The stewards explained the penalty as follows: “The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.

“The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty.”

Grosjean said: “When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through. That said, I do respect the verdict of the stewards.

“I got a good start – despite being disturbed by Pastor’s early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front – and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton’s].

“I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars; I didn’t deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn’t what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident.

“I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver.”

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Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT

374 comments on “Grosjean handed one-race ban for first-corner crash”

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  1. Well, wouldn’t say that is harsh but one hell of an accident he made there

    1. Come on… Lewis’ refusal to get out of the throttle a hair was a major contributing factor. Typical hamilton. “I had the position”

      1. Well, I do not raelly support Hamilton, but in this case I am not sure he share any responsibility on that

      2. You have to be joking? There’s was nothing for Lewis to do? It amazes me how people find a way to blame him for anything.

        1. Exactly, he did not do anything wrong, and people just blame him for nothing.

        2. Well, sometimes things are his fault…

      3. Once their wheels were interlocked, there was nothing Hamilton could do. It’s simple physics. When unprotected wheels are interlocked, either car changing their relative speed causes the wheels to come into contact and lauches whichever one is moving faster. Hamilton is blameless in this one, he has a right to his space when he is at the edge of the track and maintaining position, it’s Grosjean’s responsibility to give him room and not chop him like he did.

      4. seriously @trev where did you expect hamilton to go? on the grass? what was Grosjean doing, cutting across as if he is the only driver on the track?

      5. WHAT! Hamilton did nothing wrong, Grosjean is the one that keeps changing sides on starts just like at that time he almost killed a few guys a long time ago, at monaco.

        1. It reminded me Monaco this year, when Grosjean touched weels with Alonso and forced Schumacher into the barrier:

      6. *facepalm*
        Going by that logic, Alonso should get a penalty for driving into Grosjean’s airborne car…

        1. 2 race ban for alonso surely ;-)

      7. Man! Hamilton to blame? Poor man, after this I will not be surprised if someone says Lewis Hamilton killed Jesus.

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          2nd September 2012, 19:07

          and george mccartney

      8. Trev, I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more. I taped it and have watched it in slow motion over and over, and there was absolutely NOTHING that Hamilton had to do with that. You don’t have to “get out of the throttle” while going in a straight line, down a STRAIGHT, no where near a corner, to let some guy get in front of you because he comes over on top of you! You either hate Hamilton so badly that you can’t be rational, or you didn’t watch any of the replays to see what actually happened.
        Lewis was moving over to the right to avoid him to the point he was putting tires in the grass already…what could you possibly want him to do?

        1. lift

          You don’t have to keep your foot in it when someone has 80-90% passed you.

          You can lift a hair and go on to race. There are 44 laps to go to earn your place. If you’re hamilton, you have the skill and the cat to do it. (You did notice who won? )

          Why must you presume that anyone who makes a critical comment about Hamilton must “hate” him?

          1. Because there is a difference between a critical comment and an irrational one.

            If Hamilton did lift, for example… What’s to say a car behind him didn’t expect the lift (understandable, as they were nowhere near the corner), and rammed up behind Hamilton instead.

            He had no choice, and did the right thing.

            Don’t try and sound high and mighty with your criticisms… It’s just making you look dumb.

          2. Because you’re taking the most absurd stance of anybody who claims to like racing. Why would you lift off the throttle when you see a cat [sic] next to you? Because it might crash into you? If that was everybody’s stance, all the drivers would stay on the grid after the lights go out until their engines overheat, so as to avoid getting any closer to any other cars.

          3. You’re…………. Oh I can’t think of the word……oh yes, Hilarious!!?!

          4. I understand where you coming from, and we saw plenty of experienced drivers, lifting to avoid accident. Kimi in Valencia vs Maldonado comes to mind, actually Kimi saved Grosjean by doing so there.

            But to be fair, even if Lewis was very coservative, he just didn’t have time.

          5. @Trev: With hindsight, it would have been better for Ham to drop back. However, how on earth could he have predicted that Grosjean would have driven right into the side of him?

            By the time he would have had any clue of it even being a possibility, their wheels were interlocked and he was right on the edge of the circuit. He couldn’t have moved further over as this would have put him off the track, with the potential of causing an accident. He couldn’t have backed off, as that would have caused their wheels to come together, causing an accident. All he could reasonably do is maintain his position and hope that Grosjean did nothing stupid. He had only one course of action available to him, which he took, and he had to rely on the racing skills of the other driver.

            I see no reasonable alternative course of action Lewis could have taken. He had no way to know what Grosjean would do, and cannot be held accountable for this incident in any way. To blame him for it would be like blaming a pedestrian standing on the pavement for causing an accident when a driver mounts the pavement and runs into him: Sure, he could have prevented it by not being there, but how could he reasonably expect the car to be on the pavement in the first place?

      9. @trev Suggesting that Hamilton could have avoided the incident by lifting off the throttle is just plain wrong.

        By Grosjean’s own admission he hadn’t realised Hamilton was there. He moved over so quickly Hamilton had no chance to avoid contact. They overlapped wheels so quickly that even if he had enough time to get out of the throttle it would not have been sufficient to avoid contact.

        Hamilton did everything that could reasonably be expected of him. He was hard up against the line on the right-hand side of the track.

        If there was a scintilla of doubt about where blame for this accident lies the stewards would never have dreamt of imposing as swingeing a penalty as they did. One which was pretty easy to forecast even as the marshals were sweeping up the carbon fibre:

        1. Well said and fully correct. Had Hamilton lifted there, he would only have made Grosjean fly over his front wheel.

          Grosjean jumped for a gap on the complete opposite side of the track so fast he did not even get to see he was squeezing Hamilton there. Harsh, but one would hope this makes drivers get a tad more aware of their surroundings at the start. After all, Grosjean failed to notice Schumi next to him only a couple of races back (though there it was less of his fault, he was avoiding Alonso.)

      10. Wow. There are people that think Lewis had any blame in that incident? There’s a car doing 150 mph right barely 2 metres behind him. If he brakes, he gets rear-ended. Grosjean drove like a crazy bat, cutting across and pinning Lewis on the wall – some people would rather Lewis had found a way to melt into the wall.

        1. Yeah, but Grosjean didn’t really act like a crazy bat did he? I mean, in a chaotic start as it was, don’t you think it could be hard to keep track of the car behind to your right?

          I mean, it’s not like there’s much going on or anything. -.-

          You sir, are one of the wavvy arms brigade.

      11. Why would you lift off the throttle when you see a cat [sic] next to you? Because it might crash into you? If that was everybody’s stance, all the drivers would stay on the grid after the lights go out until their engines overheat, so as to avoid getting any closer to any other cars.

        @matt90 I’m still laughing at this comment now. Classic :-D

      12. What are you on about!??? The one coming from behind at full throttle, cutting the whole track and Lewis should have lift the throttle??? Amazing!

        1. cutting the whole track

          This kind of arm wavvy, it’s the other guys fault I feel is just as counter productive.

    2. I’d say it was phenomenally harsh. One race ban for cutting across someone’s front wing at the start? Good lord, half the field would have been banned by now. Ridiculous decision and I hope common sense prevails in time for him to race at Monza.

      1. In light of what Maldonado has been getting away with (as in driving clean into Perez and Hamilton on purpose), I’d have to completely agree with this comment. However, it should be noted this isn’t Grosjean’s first spat of reckless driving either, particularly at starts.

        1. I again have to agree, it seems a little harsh given how they have bearly peanlised Moldanardo (who IMO isn’t safe to drive an F1 car at all)… but Roman did take out 2 of the big players in the Championship in one foolish and stupid move that he didn’t need to make and caused probally the most dangerous accident yet, given how close his car came to Alonso’s head.

        2. Well spotted but we gotta look at Romain’s starts record. That boy moves all over the plane without care. But that penalty should be a warning to MAldonado, another bad move and he will get his due ban too.

        3. Agreed that Grosjean hasn’t been the cleanest, but he’s neither the most dangerous driver nor was this is the worst infringment of the year. Given what other drivers have done this year (both deliberately and accidently), I don’t see how retroactively going nuclear on this particular driver is either sportingly fair to Grosjean’s championship or going to improve driving standards anymore than any strict whole-field initiative implemented by the stewards for the rest of the season would.

          Personally I don’t feel that Grosjean has earned a one-race ban this year. Coupled with the fact that others certainly have, I don’t agree with the reasoning behind this decision whatsoever.

      2. I don’t think it is too harsh, but I was surprised at the ban, purely because it’s not consistent with how other collisions have been dealt with. However, I have to take issue with @hey “cutting across someone’s front wing at the start”. Grosjean did not cut across Hamilton’s front wing – if he had, it would have been easier for Hamilton to get out of it by braking. Grosjean appeared to be trying to drive Hamilton off the track, although he has since said he didn’t realise Hamilton was there. Clearly the stewards thought there was something to it.

      3. watch it again but no at bbc watch it a t sky.

    3. Wow that’s harsh….

      They’re usually pretty lenient at the start and to me that just looked like one of those things… yes Grosjean caused it but that is one hell of a punishment…

      When was the last time a one-race ban was handed out and what for ? Bet it was for something much more significant than this incident.

      1. I’m not sure, but the last one was probably Schumacher’s two race ban in ’94, or Hakkinen’s ban that same year, whence he brake-checked 2 cars.

  2. Can’t say I didn’t see that coming. Definatly deserved.. It was a stupid move!

    1. Yes, at that moment while watching the start at BBC (again awful commentary) i told my father that he would get a race ban, my father replied saying that one would be too little punishment, and now it’s confirmed, no surprise if we remind monaco, he drives like a total rookie on starts, it reminds me of drivers of the early 2000’s.

      1. You are referring of course to the rookie LH.

        1. Good old Trevor

          1. Just sayin… hamilton was well known for his rookie incidents. Yes he has learned as hopefully, RG will.

        2. Really? OMG you cannot even hide you’re a Hamilton hater.

          1. @jcost
            Hamilton hater? Me? Hardly. As I said above, hamilton was well known for his rookie incidents. Yes he has learned . Look back at his early F1 history.

            Like many drivers he made mistakes, crashed out etc. etc.

            He’s better now but like most great drivers there is a tremendous ego attached and an “I can do no wrong” defensiveness about him.
            Shumaker was no different in his prime. Still a hard one to pass. Villeneuve?

            Chill out man.

          2. Canada pit lane crash was amussing. Luckly he crashed in Kimi :)

            Hamilton is x100 better driver this season though.

        3. @trev no other way to say this… You’re ridiculous

          Hamilton was one of the best starters in his rookie year. He was one of the most exciting overtakers, with some remarkable moves well before DRS. He may have gone straight into a fast car but how many other drivers have come 2nd in the WDC in their rookie year by one point? Surely to do that you have to avoid mistakes? I suppose he made far too many mistakes in his second year too? Your lack of impartiality is pitiful

          1. Running a red light in the pit exit to take out Kimi and himself…. priceless

          2. @trev still less mistakes in his rookie year than the majority of other top drivers

            What was it? 7 or 8 straight podiums in his rookie year… Unprecedented

          3. un-precendented I think not. villeneuve 1996 rookie 13 podiums

          4. +1,000,000

          5. @trev either way he was still impressive as a rookie. You do realise that the year he crashed into raikonnen that he won the WDC? How can that be “too many mistakes”?

          6. @trev actually Lewis had 9 podiums in a row. Villeneuve had a max of 7 in a row. Even if we were to consider a misunderstanding for simply the number of podiums throughout their rookie years, Lewis had 12 and Jacques had 11.

          7. Blah Blah Blah….

            Mayn drivers make mistakes.

            Lets focus less on who, and more on what it means, for example, in the past the stewards have been very lenient at the starts, does this signal the end of that?

        4. Rookie error there. Know your “early” and “late”.

  3. Completely the right decision. Is he allowed to be replaced for Monza?

    1. Bans apply to the official team entry against a driver. So whatever car# Grosjean’s drives, along with it’s entered driver, gets the ban. No replacement, at last Raikkonen’s going to get the preferential treatment ;-)

      1. thats not actually true, expect the reserve driver D’Ambrosio to drive Grosjeans car in Monza

        1. He was talking about it to Buxton during the GP2 commentary, certainly would not have thought it would happen that soon, nor with this team!

      2. The ban was applied to the driver not the team – so they can race the car

      3. I think the ban excludes the driver from the next race, not his car. As far as I can tell, his car doesn’t exist in 1 piece anymore :P

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          2nd September 2012, 17:31

          apparently this is all that is left of it

          1. Nah it’s still good to go.

      4. “Lotus can install a replacement driver for the Monza race. Their reserve is former Marussia driver Jerome D’Ambrosio.” (Taken from the Officilal F1 Website)

        1. I cannot wait to see Jerome in a competitive car

      5. @f1lunatic

        Bans apply to the official team entry against a driver. So whatever car# Grosjean’s drives, along with it’s entered driver, gets the ban.

        No they don’t, Lotus can and no doubt will replace Grosjean with whoever they choose for Monza.

    2. @alfie Yes. The driver is banned, not the team.

    3. Can’t wait to see D’Ambrosio partner Raikkonen for Monza. I wonder how the Belgian will perform in a (fairly) competitive car on such a great circuit. It’s such a great opportunity for him to prove his worth. I hope he does a Kobayashi in 2009 and gets Gorsjean’s seat permanently.

      1. Not the best way to get there for Jerome but surely a good opportunity for him specially at this time with lots of discussion for next year …
        I see this ban as an “Enough” from the steward and a big warning to Maldonado as well, but this crash had quite another dimension than those of Pastor (Even if we can discuss the volontary hitting other cars).

      2. Would have been cooler if Grosjean was banned for Spa instead (in a hypothetical kind of way, as that was where the incident was), and then Jerome got to race in a fairly competitive car at his home GP.

  4. A little harsh. Then again, it was his 6th first lap incident of the season. Even Maldonado has not done the same crime 6 times.

    1. Maldonado gets 10 place grid penalty

    2. I agree, I always joke that Romain crash on fist lap, but when I saw the accident and how terrible could have been for Alonso and other drivers involve it was time for FIA to do someting drastic, is his second time in F1 and none other driver has had so many incidents…

      1. I have said it number of times before (and it wasn’t a joke), and I still do not understand how Romain has not learned a lesson. It needs to be hammaerd into his skull. He shouldn’t be in F1 if he does not know how to respect the field, especially at start of the race. It is so crucial to be extra careful under those circumstances, every driver knows that, even if you have to lose a position – you lose a positon. Do what Alonso does, yield and regain later.

    3. +1.

      His video-game starts were becoming a major problem, that’s why he got such penalty.

      1. +1
        He thought he could just choose “Restart Race”…

        1. @snafu lol, good one

      2. “His video-game starts”

        Yep, that about sums it up.

  5. I knew this is coming. That was too aggressive, careless, dangerous. I think it would be remarkable signal for naughty guns.

    1. The logic of penalties is trying to correct wrongdoings so I hope GRO learns from it he starts being more careful. Today he put Alonso’s physical integrity at risk.

  6. Well I can pretty much understand the FIA’s decision (hopefully it’s not overturned), think it was mainly influenced by the intensity of the incident that could’ve potentially resulted in injuries for Alonso, I hope it serves as a period for Grosjean to really think about how he approaches his race starts & I hope this serves a warning for Maldonado as well.

    1. @younger-hamii the fact that the incident ended up so intense and so dangerous cannot be put to blame on Grosjean. heaven knows ive seen way more dangerous driving at starts in the past. Thats something the FIA should look at, not the driver. The ban is too harsh. I bet that Ferrari had ALOT so say to the stewards afterwards, probely influencing their decision more then we’d know. I wonder what we all would be saying if it happend at the back of the grid between a HRT and a Marussia

      1. I was wondering when someone would come and point Ferrari for influencing the stewards in this ban

  7. Feels a little bit harsh. Bad driving, but arguably no more dangerous than other moves seen at the start in the past, it’s just the consequences were more severe… would he have got the same penalty if back-markers had been taken out instead? Also In comparison to dangerous driving with intent (Maldonado…), I would have thought a grid penalty would have sufficed.

    1. dangerous driving with intent (Maldonado…)

      Not a long time ago, a car from the same team crashed, it DID have an intent, and a very nasty one at that. What’s to say that Grosjean was *not* instructed to create some sort of a confusion, only like you pointed out, the consequences turned out to be near-disastrous!

      and yeah, im sure the nay-sayers were in their full force post 2008 singapore gp too, to bark down any such theory, only to have their woofs blunted when the FIA revealed the truth later.

      1. With their track record, I can understand why you suggest this was deliberate, but in this case I actually think that he was somewhere between careless and reckless – I would be shocked if he *intended* this crash. I just think that he failed to take into account that Hamilton wouldn’t be prepared to give way to him…

        1. Hamilton was just as responsible for not giving way. Grosjean had overtaken him.

          1. Think you’ll find you’re in the minority with that opinion

          2. Actually this is an important point, I lost the beggining of the race because in my country the race was at 6:00am, so my older brother send me a text message to turn on the tv, he told me that he thought that Hamilton was at fault… before the penalty I thought that it was both Ham and Gro. Hamilton for not lifting and Grosjean for being over optimistic…

          3. I`m reading the blogs from Fox Sport Latin America, they are saying the incident was at least 40% Hamilton, 60% Grosjean….

          4. GRO should have given Lewis room and Lewis should have backed out of it.
            That being said, but not giving room GRO was in the wrong from a rules point of view. But not backing off, Lewis was in the wrong from a points point of view. In that regard, Lewis has already been penalised.

          5. Once their wheels were interlocked, there was nothing Hamilton could do. It’s simple physics. When unprotected wheels are interlocked, either car changing their relative speed causes the wheels to come into contact and lauches whichever one is moving faster. Hamilton is blameless in this one, he has a right to his space when he is at the edge of the track and maintaining position, it’s Grosjean’s responsibility to give him room and not chop him like he did. To suggest that Hamilton should’ve come out of the throttle much earlier is ludicrous. Just because Grosjean has most of his car ahead does not free him from his responsibility to maneuver safely. In the middle of such a packed group funnelling into one of the slowest corners on the schedule, it is insane to believe you can move laterally at will. It’s called “situational awareness.” With such a short run to the first corner there is no time to check your mirrors as you brake to a near stop in such traffic. This is a race. You are racing only to a patch of real estate at the start, you have a responsibility to do it safely. Penalty completely deserved IMO.

          6. Just a couple weeks ago Whiting clarified the rules on passing. No significant part of the car should be beside you before you cut them off. Grosjean clearly did not pass Hamilton completely, Hamilton had nowhere to go but on the soaked grass. Anyone putting blame on Hamilton has an agenda against him. He is entitled to his part of the track.

          7. Well said Kully…

          8. really do not understand this point of view at all… seems pretty silly to me. Lewis had moved over to the side but had little where else to go, maybe half a foot… Roman pushed him over to the side but was not fully pass him and the rules state that if a substancial part of the other car is along side you cannot push them off the track, which is exactally what he tried to do.

            Lewis did nothing wrong defended as best he could and Roman drove into the side of him as if he didn’t know he was there and nearly seriously ingured one of this generations greatest drivers and champions….

          9. @trev and @infy – Grosjean hadn’t properly overtaken Lewis at the point that they hit. Why should Lewis have to “back out” or “give way”? What form should that “giving way” have taken, given where Lewis was on the track?

            Definitely Grosjean’s fault, but I think the one race ban is a harsh penalty compared to those meted out for more deliberate transgressions by e.g. everyone’s favourite Venezuelan.

          10. @celeste I didn’t think there was more proof required to show that nobody should read, watch, or trust anything Fox news related.

          11. @dirgegirl Because if Lewis didn’t back out of it, he would be in an accident.

            What I tried to say in my terribly written post, was that while Lewis did nothing wrong from a RULES point of view, if he had backed out of it, he would have probably finished the race in the points.

            GROS being in the wrong is not going to give Lewis his points back.

          12. @infy it wasn’t clear that grosjean was going to continue moving right until it was too late. By the time it was clear the wheels were interlocked. I’d be surprised if any other driver would have anticipated the move. This type of move has been made illegal because it leaves the other driver defenceless, causes avoidable incidents, and can be easily proven who is at fault

          13. @Trev – every response on this subject from you is anti-hamilton. It was so clearly Romain ‘fatjohn’ that was at fault and its making your comments hilarious

            You could just write something along the lines of “I hate Hammy” instead of trying to mask your feelings by shunting the blame in his direction!

        2. @matt90 well, is the Latin American channel, and they have no vias in this incident… I won`t say that is Hamilton`s fault, but certanly a lot of people think he could have done a little more to aboid the accident…

          1. Those people are wrong. Categorically. Hamilton was at fault as much as Alonso and Perez.

          2. @celeste, when you have seen it you will realize that Hamilton tried his best to avoid Grosjean but had no-where to go except into the wall, even if he managed to get onto the grass and keep it straight he would have been unable to brake for the corner and would have been involved in the same sort of crash. Hamilton in this case was totally innocent victim.

          3. @hohum I already saw it… what I found interesting, is that not only me, but people iwth lot of expetience are also placing some blame in Hamilton…

          4. If these people you speak of actually have experience, I fear for everybody they will ever race against. I assume they would only say that because they have often driven like Grosjean, caused huge crashes, and so wrongly apportioning blame now is the only way they can justify to themselves that they weren’t solely to blame for the chaos they caused. This isn’t a matter of opinion- Hamilton was as much at fault for that incident as I am. This is probably the clearest cut racing incident I’ve ever seen, and it is both phenomenal and slightly worrying that people still find a way to blame an innocent party.

          5. It amazes me how could someone still blame Hamilton for that. I am starting to believe that there is an anti-Hamilton league out there

    2. @legnig makes a good point. i disliked the mention of ‘taking out leading championship competitors’ – it should have no bearing on the punishment who is involved. however, a one-race ban is a good idea, and should have been applied to other incidents (maldonado at spa last year, monaco this, for deliberately attacking another car, should have warranted a multi-race penalty)

      1. I agree with you that the part about the championship leaders does not sit well with me either @frood19, it really should not matter what cars are taken out and what drivers are put in danger for the penalty, only the severity of the incident and the danger caused by it.

  8. Is this a Lotus race ban as well or can they sub Grosjean with ??

    1. One presumes it would be d’Ambrosio.

  9. Someone needs to do something about this current stewarding system. It’s getting embarrassing for the sport now. Another fine example of judging a case based on the severity of the accident rather than the offence.

    1. Of course it is based on the severity of the accident, it would be wrong if it werent. He alone caused a multiple crash pile-up, it wasnt just about ‘oh he barely touched wheels with hamilton, it’s a racing incident’. The severity of the accident SHOULD have a say in the penalty. And it should teach the drivers some humility.

      1. I hope the next time you litter someone falls on it and breaks their neck. Then you can enjoy the justification of your 15+years in prison for murder :)

        1. You might not go to jail for murder, but if it can be proved that you dropped the litter that caused the person to trip and fall, you will most likely be sued by the dead persons family.

          In real life actions have reactions, and reactions can have consequences. Whilst it may have been a minor mistake, it is only reasonable that Grosjean has been judged on the reaction of his action, rather than on the action. He should think himself lucky that his car didn’t hit Alonso’s head, because the consequence would have been a lot more severe than a one race ban.

      2. Sigh. This way lies “victim justice”. How very Biblical.

        Perhaps Alonso should be allowed to boot Grosjean hard in the coccyx.

      3. In most countries speeding is just that, untill someone gets killed.
        Then it’s manslaughter.

        In both cases you just want to be earlier at your destination, but indeed you’ll be jailed in the case where someone got killed.

        So it’s entirely normal to take outcome into account.

        Intent is harder to judge. Stupidity or murder look the same in most cases. However in some they don’t, or there’s a confession. In those cases severe punishment is also to be expected.

        All in all: right punishment for Grosjean. And with Maldonado they’re apparently catching up. But Pastor shoul’ve had the race ban before.

        1. ***In most cases where someone gets killed in traffic

        2. ***In most cases where someone gets killed in traffic, that is. Or in racing incidents where you only see the driver turning in.

    2. Did you see the start or are you completely deluded? Drivers could have potentially got injured today, namely Alonso, who is thankfully alright along with the others involved. This is not the first time this season that there have been incidents involving certain drivers in Grosjean & Maldonado.

      I know this is out of line & but honestly, have you got something against Hamilton? Because I’m sure – had he been in Grosjean’s position & got the ban Grosjean got today, you would’ve been praising the system. rather than vindicating it, It’s difficult to give the right punishment, this sport is really complex & we all have our umps for the Stewards’ ridiculous decision but this is the matter of safety & eliminating the repetitiveness that has occurred with the drivers mentioned.

      1. @andrewf1 So if you make a mistake & someone dies as a result, then you should be penalised? Or are we talking more extreme measures? An eye for an eye, perhaps? The severity of his crime wasn’t enough to justify the penalty. If they’d found a gap & slid through La Source without hitting anything, would that make Romain Grosjean less of a naughty boy?

        @younger-hamii I did see the start. Nope, not deluded. Not naïve, either. I didn’t mention Maldonado. And I also didn’t mention Hamilton. Have you confused me? Yep.

        Grosjean made a mistake today & sure enough, he could have avoided it. But I can’t think of another crash he’s been responsible for all year. Are you actually suggesting this penalty is justified?

        1. It certainly is justified. He took no account of the position of Hamilton’s car (or assumed that Hamilton would just give way…) and caused an avoidable accident at a point in the race where the consequences were obviously potentially very severe.

          If he hadn’t been swerving towards Hamilton, or if he had been swerving to avoid another car which was coming at him, then the punishment would likely have been different. But clearly the stewards thought this was either deliberate or reckless. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I think it was some way between careless and reckless, but it was certainly avoidable and at that point in the race the consequences were obviously going to be at their most severe.

          So yes, it was deserved.

          Having said that, I read nothing in your post to suggest your opinion would have been different if it had been a different driver.

        2. Umm….yes. I dont know if you own a car or a driver’s license, but if you’re out on the road and make a mistake – say, overtake when youre not supposed to – and someone dies as a result of that, then YES, it is your fault. Im afraid you have a very distorted view of right and wrong.

          1. message above was for @damonsmedley

          2. should have been “yes, it is your fault and you can get years in prison for that.”

          3. Difference being that on the roads, you’re not racing. Crashing isn’t recognised as an accepted part of commuting because commuting isn’t racing. So, again, it shouldn’t be about who you crashed into or what trajectory your car took when you were spinning out-of-control, but what caused the accident. Romain didn’t deliberately smear his sidepod across Fernando’s nose cone. Nor did he deliberately cause a collision with Lewis Hamilton. So how’s it any different to, say, Schumacher running into the back of Senna in Spain? In both cases they’re about as much at fault. No big crash = less naughty? I see the logic…

          4. @andrewf1 And I’d love to learn about right & wrong, some day. There’s always some black-and-white reasoning behind everything.

          5. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
            2nd September 2012, 18:06

            damonsmedley: I don’t think it’s all about “deliberate/not deliberate” manoeuvres. It’s all about “think about what you’re doing”. Romain is not alone on the grid. But he drives as there were no others (Ham in our case). This is inadmissible.

          6. @damonsmedley
            The point was not about whether you should be racing on the roads or not, you asked ‘if you make a mistake, and someone dies as a result of that, is it your fault?’ and i answered that with a clear yes. And most people will definetly answer the same.

            Also, it was Grosjean’s 7th accident in the first lap of a race, 7 out of 12, something which im sure contributed to his penalty. You can’t just view this as an isolated case.

          7. @andrewf1 I think you’re missing my point, anyway.

            Romain was involved in a racing incident. He’s not been involved in any other incidents where he’s been at fault (even if he has been involved in them, it doesn’t mean there was anything fishy happening) & this time it looks bad for him.

            Unfortunately Lewis lost control on the grass which resulted in a scary crash, and I have a problem with the fact that the FIA have chosen to penalise the incident based almost entirely on that fact alone.

          8. @damonsmedley

            and your argument of ‘penalties should be based on the offence, not by the severity of the accident’ is flawed from the beginning.
            if you were to neglect the severity of the accident caused, you could never rate the infraction, nor the appropriate penalty for it in the first place.

          9. @andrewf1 It’s not flawed, really… Or is it?

            if you were to neglect the severity of the accident caused, you could never rate the infraction, nor the appropriate penalty for it in the first place.

            Okay, I’m wrong. Let’s use your logic on a well-known incident: Hungary 2010. No-one crashed, therefore no penalty is required.

            Am I doing it right?

            I’m out of here.

          10. It wasn’t the grass that caused the accident. Grosjean still continued to move across and their wheels locked which pitched Hamilton into a partial spin and also prevented him from braking.

          11. @damonsmedley
            No youre not really doing it right. I said you should never neglect the severity of the accident caused, i didnt say the resulting accident or lack of it is the sole thing which determines a penalty. Intentions and possible risks play a big part too.

          12. @damonsmedley as does previous history and proneness to accidents. all of that counts

          13. Button deserves a 6 race ban for nearly killing Massa at Hungaroring 2009

            Also, I think we’re forgetting the fact that as soon as Grosjean hit Hamilton, his car was transformed into a boat. He needs to be penalised for hitting Hamilton and nothing else.

        3. @damonsmedley Regarding Hamilton I’m referring to your comment on the Rate the Race article & I’m using Maldonado to explain what I’m implying ,thus it’s mostly been him & Grosjean that have been consistently involved in incidents throughout the whole season, whether they’ve been in the opening lap of a race & or posing a danger to the innocent driver.

          By the way, If you haven’t seen my comment below, I’ve apologised for over-reacting slightly. Do I think a race ban meets justification? Honestly I don’t know, a race ban seems interesting as I haven’t seen a driver receive a race ban during the time I’ve been watching racing & like I said before, F1 is very complex.

      2. Why bring Hamilton into it?

    3. Wholeheartedly agree with you there! Nevertheless he made a big mess…

    4. +1
      Result-oriented thinking should not be the way how stewards should come to their conclusions. Would the penalty be this harsh without a big crash like this? I think not. Maybe it would have been a 10 place grid penalty.
      A one race ban should be imposed on drivers who, lets say, push people on the grass at 200 mph, but come on, not for this incident.

      1. @malaclypse

        Result-oriented thinking should not be the way how stewards should come to their conclusions.

        But I don’t think they did. Replay clearly indicates Grosjean moving across drastically, which could be interpreted several ways. But there are also known situations where result can effect penalty.

        Lets imagine a hypothetical scenario where, say you play rugby. You make an illegal tackle by lifting your arm high resulting in a hit to opposing players head. Could have been accidental, negligence or simply pure dumb, or intentional – who is to really know.

        Option #1: player slightly dazed, gets up, dusts himself off. Penalty – free kick given and a reprimand (warning to you) by the ref.

        Option #2: player falls to ground and does not get up, in fact he gets carried away on a stretcher. Depending on the severity of the injury, the penalty is free kick, plus a reprimand and reportable offence which could also result in a suspension, and a fine!

        Judgement for cause under these circumstances are normally done using video replays and not based on players opinions.

    5. I totally agree with you there, Grosjean was unfortunate that his actions produced a crash of such magnitude. Although his move was careless, it surely wasn’t any worse than many of Maldonado’s on-track antics, and wasn’t accompanied by the same arrogant attitude.

      I think that the penalty is probably a fair response, and should mean that he learns his lesson, but for Maldonado not to have received similar treatment seems a little unfair.

    6. Severity of the result is part and parcel of the offence, always has been. That’s the whole basis behind culpable negiligence.

      1. @damonsmedley, this!
        @slowhands defined with 2 words what ive been trying to explain in 2 paragraphs.
        ill stop with this now.

        1. @andrewf1 @slowhands And here was me thinking you accepted the risk of people making mistakes when you raced cars at over 300 km/h.

          Everyone is saying Romain is responsible for all of these accidents at the start, but apart from where he spun and collected Schumacher in the wet in Malaysia (a mistake I’m sure anyone could excuse), can you give me another example of a start crash caused by Grosjean? Monaco doesn’t count, because as you can see, Alonso tried to squeeze through a gap & Romain was sandwiched. He eventually had to swerve left to avoid a very pushy Ferrari & made contact with Schumacher as a result. So I’d give about 5% of the blame to Romain there.

          And I certainly can’t think of another crash where Grosjean has been at fault. So the “punishing repeat offenders” argument doesn’t make much sense.

          This is really quite silly. If someone crashed on their own and their car hit a gravel trap, flipped over the fence and killed a spectator, would that mean they should be given a penalty that reflects the magnitude of the damage caused? A lifetime ban, perhaps? Crashing, whether you like it or not, is a part of racing. It happens. Punishment is needed for repeated reckless driving or deliberate collisions. This case ticks none of those boxes. It’s not about what you do, but who it affects and by how much it affects them, according the FIA. I fail to see how anyone can genuinely think that’s fair.

      2. @slowhands – Don’t you think there is a difference between an offence which defines the result (e.g. murder, manslaughter, grevious bodily harm) and an offence which defines only the type of action which led to an (undefined) result? In this case, no-one died or was seriously injured, and most of the damage was to cars and pride. If every F1 crash was deemed to be caused by “culpable negligence” (and let’s face it, a lot of them are) no-one could afford to go racing.

        1. Beyond sweeping general principles, the stewards also have to analyze the factors of each incident individually. That is why they are given leeway for judgment and interpretation. Alonso was very fortunate to escape greater injury. You are very blithe with your “no one died” line. A foot different and that might not have been the case. And I disagree that “a lot” of F1 crashes are caused by culpable negligence. Most are caused by the best drivers in the world driving so close to the limits of their cars that they go over the line while fighting fiercely. That is the sport. There is enough danger inherent in the sport, so when you do see negligence, you have to penalize it firmly. And I think there is enough evidence in this specific case, summarized in many other comments, to justify the stewards actions. It’s a judgment call, and I agree with their judgment.

          1. Wow… I certainly had no intention of being blithe or flippant about that crash, or any crash. I was nearly in tears at the time, as it goes. My point was that basing punishment on what could have been makes for potentially harsh penalties.

          2. @slowhands So if someone died in that crash, Romain would have been more at fault? Hmmm… I can’t help but think of McNish going through the barrier in Suzuka 2002. That could have killed a marshal. It was his mistake/misjudgement. It was not deliberate.

            The consequences of that initial mistake shouldn’t have any bearing on the decision because, frankly, no-one is in control when they’re out-of-control. Oh well, at least Romain will know not to wrap his car across Fernando’s cockpit area next time he’s cartwheeling through the air. That was very naughty of him, indeed.

          3. @dirgegirl @damonsmedley The idea that the potential consequences of an action have bearing on the severity of a penalty is integrated into the rules of many sports (“flagrant fouls”) and in fact any situation in our society where the participants’ judgment might be in question, like parenting (“you could have put his eye out”). A kid that shoots a staple gun at another kid’s eye will likely get punished more strongly even if (and perhaps especially if) it misses by an inch of blinding the kid, than one who shoots someone in the foot, in order to underline the danger he placed the other child in.

            @damonsmedley The fact that no-one is in control when they are out of control is exactly why stewards must make sure drivers understand that they MUST stay in control. Loss of control that takes out a competitor is penalized if it is deemed to result from poor judgment by any responsible motorsports series. Penalization is more than the surface analysis of ascertaining the degree of fault. If someone had died, Romain’s lack of situational awareness is responsible for a greater consequence. McNish’s crash is not relevant here. He got loose and hooked into the wall, which can happen when driving at the limit– an example of the inherent risk of the sport, not poor judgment or a lack of situational awareness in a pack of cars.

    7. @damonsmedley Grosjean had pushed Schumacher into a spin in Malaysia, and EACH AND EVERY ONE of his starts were a recipe for disaster. Even those when he didn’t hit anything by pure luck. He just can’t do first laps of the race and needs to be taught a lesson. Of course this brings the question of the lack of the same treatment for Stupidado…

      1. Stupidado is a brilliant moniker for our favorite Venezuelan.

        1. It’s the best one i seen yet!

      2. @montreal95

        EACH AND EVERY ONE of his starts were a recipe for disaster

        That’s a bit much, don’t you think? Are you really going with that? If so, I’d love to see examples from all 12 races.

        1. @damonsmedley Not too much at all. If you have the races recorded as I do, you can look at the starts and concentrate on Grosjean. He’s always moving from side to side, sometimes twice. Worst of all he often rapidly changes direction which is the most dangerous thing. Even in Bahrain where, for example, he made a great start, he moved on Button and was inches away from interlocking wheels.

          It’s not coincidence that he was involved in first lap crashes 7 out of 12 times. it’s ’cause he’s rubbish at this. That said, being an intelligent driver, I believe he’ll learn his lesson well. Unlike Crashtor Stupidado who’ll never learn

    8. DS, I think they took ” previous ” into consideration.

      1. I think so too @hohum. Grosjean was not really at fault in Australia, but could have avoided tangling with Maldonado. And he has been in start incidents after that. In Monaco him not being aware of Schumacher when he avoided Alonso caused a crash there @damonsmedley

  10. Seems strange that the punishment for a racing incident is more severe when it’s a McLaren you run into. Suspect if Grosjean had hit a Force India he’d have had a grid penalty at worst.

    1. You do realise that the crash included more than just Hamilton?

      1. Yeah, like nearly hitting Alonso in the head. Dangerous and avoidable and not the first time.

      2. I think people is talking about the way the stewards are using to justify the ban:

        “extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race. The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty.

        At some people had point out, what if only middle teams or HRT would have been involve, it wouldn`t havve made it less dangerous…

        1. That is listed as an additional factor, in a separate sentence. It adds to the other. There is no implication that it supercedes it in any way. Adding that to the serious breach and potential for injury, the stewards decided on a penalty to account for ALL the factors.

        2. At some people had point out, what if only middle teams or HRT would have been involve, it wouldn`t havve made it less dangerous…

          If the man who is supposed to win the title wasn’t taken out, I’m sure much less would have been made of this. The FIA must be very glad it wasn’t Sebastian standing on the top step at the end of the race…

          Such a shame, but it’s a sad part of the game in this “sport”.

    2. LOL 4 cars with their wheels all and debris scattered all over La Source, and it’s the McLaren you pull up. Take a look at on-board footage from Alonso’s car, should knock some sense.

    3. Seems strange that the punishment for a racing incident is more severe when it’s two Saubers you run into. Suspect if Grosjean had hit a Sauber he’d have had a grid penalty at worst. ;)

    4. I think people shouldn’t be forgetting that this is a sport and stewards are not the panel of high supreme court judges. Grosjean penalty was given more as a reflection on his recklessness , also it provides a good base for other drivers to reflect on. So that in the future, drivers are more careful with their maneuvers during the start of the race. Lets not forget that one of the best drivers on the grid could’ve easily been killed. So in the grand scheme of things, I think the penalty was appropriate, it sets a good example for all the drivers to think about what they should and should not be doing.

  11. A justified decision, he’s had first lap accidents in 50% of the races this season. That’s just ridiculous. Hopefully it will teach him a lesson.

    1. To be fair a lot of those incidents were not his fault. But I would agree that Grosjean always puts himself in a risky position on race starts.This penalty should serve him as a reminder that other people bear the consequences of inexperience and foolishness.

  12. Perhaps a little over the top. I expected a 5 or 10 place penalty at the next race. But then again, he’s made so many first lap errors, I guess anything else might have been too lax.

    Who will Lotus use in Monza? I assume d’Ambrosia, seeing as he’s the test driver.

    1. Maybe Hamilton ?

      1. @nickpkr, wouldn’t that be delicious justice !?

    2. Wonder if they will call up someone else? Would be interesting to see if they brought in Sutil. Probably will be d’Ambrosio though.

      On a side, and completely unlikely note, it would be rather special if Kubica got a go in the car. Wont happen, but that would be the dream.

  13. Tad Harsh, but given what could have happened maybe fair on reflection.

  14. Grosjean deserves a penalty, but a ban seems very harsh. It’s the ‘nuclear’ option and seems to be rather disproportinate.

    Grosjean’s actions were reckless, but I believe that they were accidental. His move was deserving of a grid penalty, similar to Schumacher received in Barcelona, in my opinion.

    How the stewards decide to ban Grosjean and not Maldonado for deliberately using his car as a weapon in anger on two separate occassions and repeatedly poor driving standards is utterly beyound me.

    1. @magnificent-geoffrey

      How the stewards decide to ban Grosjean and not Maldonado for deliberately using his car as a weapon in anger on two separate occassions and repeatedly poor driving standards is utterly beyound me.

      I’m with you.

      1. +1 – & maybe that’s probably what @damonsmedley meant when he was criticizing the system. Apologies on that note, just in the heat of the moment.

      2. Well, one might forgive the Spa-Francorchamps stewards for being fed up with Grosjean, given this is the second time he’s raced at Spa and the second time he’s caused an incident which took out the world championship leader and two other cars…but then again after 2011 you’d think they’d be fed up with Maldonado too.

      3. Also there’s the possibility they got the guys mistaken,
        However Stewards also know MAL will also do something else in Monza and therefore will get his ban there, which gives Bottas a chance !

      4. Yep – think you’ll get a lot of people asking the same question at Monza.

    2. Agreed.
      The inconsistency in stewarding decisions has been raised a few times this year, the decision making process certainly seems far too arbitrary.

      It also feels really off that they mention him eliminating championship contenders in the statement. Who was involved should surely have no bearing on the penalty awarded and quite possibly didn’t, but by stating this it really feels like it has!

      1. But then again, how can we be sure that he didn’t receive orders to eliminate the closest challenger to Kimi. If I was not a more reasonable person, I would have assumed his actions were deliberate. They were not racing side by side, he just swerved from one part of the track to another part. He had mirrors and could have used it to see how far across he was from the next driver.

    3. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      2nd September 2012, 17:15

      I’m not sure it didn’t deserve a penalty for the incalculable cost to sauber alone. All i will say in grosjeans defense is that he had seemingly been getting a handle on these sorts of incidents. Where as maldonado as you said has been consistently in trouble for no less silly maneuvers and indeed the (four i would count it) extremely serious incidents he caused in the last 2 years.

    4. @magnificent-geoffrey Came here specifically to say this.

      I guess taking multiple competitors out at once is a no-no, but taking out one competitor at a time over the course of the season is completely okay. The stewarding is such a joke these days; in my opinion it’s the worst aspect of Formula One at the moment.

    5. That is a good point but both should of had bans.

    6. I agree Maldonado should’ve received harder punishments for his intentional crashes. However, in general I don’t think “he didn’t mean to do it” is a valid excuse. The fact that Grosjean’s crashes aren’t intentional, but caused by his incompetency and reckless driving, doesn’t make him any less dangerous to his collegues.

    7. Agreed, way way way to harsh a punishment for an honest mistake

      1. @melkurion, surely you meant a string of honest mistakes.

    8. Eddie Irvan once got a race ban for shoving a driver off, which resulted in a multiple car pile up. What Grosjean did was similar even if not exactly the same. It was a very reckless action. A driver should take others into consideration when making moves on the track. Did he think he was the only one on the road, moving from one side of the track to the other?
      The team did a good thing by not appealing, because when Jordan/Irvan appealed, it was converted to a 3 race ban.

    9. While it may seem inconsistent, I think the stewards are getting fed up with the cumulative effect of some of the younger drivers’ aggressive errors taking out other people, and want to make a statement to put everyone on notice for the rest of the season. Yes, judicially speaking, the result may be viewed by some (or many) as “inconsistent”, but there is value in setting an example when you’ve had enough, if you feel you may be losing control of the situation. Even at the expense of an idealistic idea of fairness, no matter how warranted. These “errors” are being caused by overoptimism, lack of caution, overaggressiveness, lack of respect for fellow drivers, all of which have emotional bases. To reset emotional baselines you sometimes need the nuclear option, even if one driver gets dealt with a bit differently than a previous one. IMO.

      1. @slowhands very well said! this should be a COTD

      2. Excellent comment slowhands.

      3. Totally agree +1

    10. @magnificentgeoffreyso is it more the ban for Grosjran, or the lack of ban for Maldonado that you disagree with? I personally understand Grosjeans ban, even if it’s a little harsh, but what makes the decision ludicrous to me is the fact that Maldonado continues to be allowed to race.

      1. @magnificent-geoffrey sorry, made a mess of that, see above comment

    11. +1.

      I cant think of anything more embarrassing for Grosjean. This will no doubt effect his performance.

      Disappointing for him as well considering he and the whole team were looking forward to the “famous device” that they will use in Monza for the first time. Might be the chance for the Loti to dominate the time sheets and D’Ambrosio will take that advantage and look good.

    12. @magnificent-geoffrey

      Sometimes penalties are indeed reflective of the resulting effects. I am sure that if only Hamilton was taken out, the penalty wouldn’t have been as harsh. That is true. But, frankly, that is fine by me. Under these circumstances I doubt any other penalty would get through his (Romains) thick skull. I am sure he might have been warned by drivers and others to be more careful in the future. Obviously he hasn’t learnt a lesson yet. Lets see how this works.

  15. Hamilton was really upset with him.. ! Grosjean is really need to learn about racing without crashing cars.

    1. He needs a crash course in that.


    See that it matters more who he hit than what actually happened and why. He made a stupid mistake but this is a total overreaction.

    1. It shouldn’t matter who he takes out! That is very poor justification from the stewards.

    2. It’s a separate sentence. They didn’t say it mattered more. It came second in sequence, so you could say it was less important who he hit. They added it all up and came up with a consequence that matched their sum of all the factors.

      1. It shouldn’t factor at all though.

  17. While I do not object to the ban I’m not happy with the implication here that the ban is because

    [The crash] eliminated leading championship contenders from the Race

    . It makes it look like crashing into Alonso & Hamilton is somehow worse than crashing into, say, Pic & Karthikeyan. If punishment is harder for incidents involving big teams then that does not seem fair at all.

    1. Agree with this.

      FIA’s statement seems to be that as long as non-championship contenders are being hit, it is ok.
      Good for Maldonado, he can unleash his terror on 19 drivers and leave the 5 title contenders alone.

    2. If that wasnt part of the ban Massa could just become a guided missile an Ferrari would pay the fines ;)

    3. I agree completely.

    4. Again, it’s a separate sentence. That’s all. It’s an added factor. The stewards have a right and responsibility to weigh all the factors. The statement does not assign weight to the different factors. It is only your interpretation based on your personal view that comes up with that. You may say that it shouldn’t matter who he hit, but I think taking out the 2 leading championship contenders (regardless of team), and quite dangerously at that, merits inclusion as a factor. (Not to mention the P4 qualifier and rolling over the P2 qualifier.) That is an opinion. But stewards are employed to interpret the rules where the rules give them that leeway.

  18. I don’t really know what to think of this. Grosjean was careless, but I’m not sure if a ban is deserved. I guess because the incident was at the start where all the drivers are bunched together, made it worse for Grosjean.

  19. This seems a little extreme to me, especially when Maldonado intentionally hitting drivers multiple times has earned him a total of 10 grid spots.

    Oh well, penalties based on result more than intent as usual

  20. Just saying Maldonado has been handed a 10 grid penalty for the next race, 5 for the jump start, and 5 for the collision between Glock or Petrov, not sure which one.

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