Grosjean handed one-race ban for first-corner crash

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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.”

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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


    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.

  2. Gwilym said on 2nd September 2012, 16:57

    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.

    • sumedh said on 2nd September 2012, 17:02

      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.

    • Bod606 said on 2nd September 2012, 17:05

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

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:16

      I agree completely.

    • Slowhands (@slowhands) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:43

      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.

  3. 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.

  4. Alex Davies said on 2nd September 2012, 16:59

    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

  5. 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.

  6. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:01

    The steward’s statement says “It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”

    So, basically you can crash as much as you want in the back of the field? Just take out Alonso/other “championship contender” and you’re banned? Should be equal rules for everyone…

    • Tom M in Australia said on 3rd September 2012, 3:05

      Like Slowhand has said repeatedly, it was an ADDITIONAL factor. The FIA statement does not say “this accident was serious because it took out championship contenders”. You have come up with that interpretation yourself.

      Put it another way; lets say driver A is to blame for a minor accident that eliminates driver B. An appropriate minor penalty is applied. Now let’s add that the incident allows driver A to win the championship at driver B’s expense. Same penalty applies?

  7. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:01

    Do I think this is the correct penalty for what was done? Yes, it was careless to the extreme and, more significantly in my view, this isn’t the first time he’s caused an accident with a move like this. He did something very similar in Monaco (though I can’t remember the penalty).

    However, I can’t remember the last time a driver was banned, yet there have been a few incidents worthy of such a penalty. Maldonado on Hamilton at Spa last year, for example. I wish the stewards were more consistently harsh, basically.

  8. John White (@jonty1512) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:02

    Why only a 1 race ban? Personally I think it should’ve been harsher maybe a 4 race ban with 3 races suspended for 12 months. Roman then knows if he causes another pile up he will automatically get a further 3 race ban. It isn’t acceptable to have drivers on the grid who regularly cause incidents that either endanger other drivers safety and / or ruin other drivers races

  9. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:03

    He did the same kind of stuff at Monaco that left him in a spin

  10. lewisfan1992 said on 2nd September 2012, 17:04

    That’s fair.
    Grosjean needs to think this is F-1, not GP-2!!!
    the same for MAldonado!
    what a shame for both!

  11. Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:04

    He got 5 grid penalty for the start. Out of my expectation but it might be fair.

  12. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:07

    What happened when Michael Schumacher (then in Benetton, now Lotus funnily enough) was banned for two races in 1994?

  13. Babar Ali said on 2nd September 2012, 17:12

    I supposed Grosjean should be banned for the remaining 8 races the way he has caused accidents in most of the past 12 races of this season. He is either too immature for F1 racing or he has got a serious attitude problem same as Maladonando. Both of them complete nuisance to F1 racing and should actually be banned completely if possible.

  14. Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:16

    Ruin someone else’s race gratuitously, get banned for a race – seems fair.

    Was so unavoidable and dangerous he should get a huge fine, or a further grid penalty too.

    When I saw it I thought Hamilton kept accelerating to make sure Grosjean paid for cutting him up, even seemed to steer to make sure he could push Grosjean into the pack, where Alonso was, anyone else think that?

    • Hamilton lost control of the car when he hit the wet grass

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:24

      When I saw it I thought Hamilton kept accelerating to make sure Grosjean paid for cutting him up, even seemed to steer to make sure he could push Grosjean into the pack, where Alonso was, anyone else think that?

      I don’t agree – partly because there’s no way you could get away with doing something like that, the telemetry would make it clear.

      But also because there was another driver who got onto the grass on the right during one of the support races and it was clear there was absolutely no grip there. I think Johnny Cecotto Jnr did at the start of one of the GP2 races.

      Hamilton’s loss of grip combined with the cars ahead braking for the first corner is what made the accident so violent.

      • Not just that but also the front end of his car went airbourne, your not slowing down when that happens.

        • Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:18

          Yeah after he somersaulted over Perez, Im talking about the 400 metres between Grosjean taking him out, and him and Grosjean spearing the pack.

          • No if you look close Hamiltons front wheels lift off the ground as his front makes contact with Grosjeans rear.

            His wheels are smashed and the front end is off the ground, his car isnt goin to slow down.

      • Hamilton had 3 feet of space to his right. It was a racing incident, that is all.

        • McLar3n said on 2nd September 2012, 17:52

          Calling ********. Watch 1:00-1:05 – Hamilton steering rack is dead straight. Grosjean moves rightward with such incredible speed (watch exterior shots) that Ham could’ve done nothing about it. And when they do make contact at 1:05, don’t tell me there’s 3 feet to the right of Hamilton. Grass don’t count.

        • minnis (@minnis) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:39

          So Hamilton should have gone onto the three foot of GRASS, and hit his brakes immediately? And as there is no grip there, he just would have ploughed into the field as they turned into La Source anyway. Like what happened with Liuzzi at Monza last year(?).

      • Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:03

        I never thought that definitely happened was just curious if you guys thought it looked that way.

        Do the stewards really analyse telemetry etc to that detail on every incident? Surely they would have to have a reason, and to interpret things in a certain way to even check his throttle, braking?

      • Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:15

        Im refering to the 400 or so metres that he hardly decelerated after he had spun on the grass.

    • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:30

      umm…how can you possibly think that? i guess you would do that in computer racing, but not in real racing. no driver in their right mind thinks ‘i want to ram these guys off the track, yeah!’ it’s easy to say that watching from the living room, but its a completely different story inside the cockpit, accelerating to speeds of 200kph before a corner.

      i’ve watched the video again and i think what you’re referring to is actually Hamilton having his front wheels air-borne so i don’t think there was any way for him to brake.

      • Switchbacker (@switchbacker) said on 2nd September 2012, 18:13

        Why do you find my suggestion so outrageous? Senna took Prost out at much greater speeds, Piquet put his car in a wall so Alonso could win etc, it happens, and it would be owhere near as cavalier as you are infering.

        They were going maybe 130K before T1.

        He had 4 wheels on the track for at least 350 Metres before T1, surely he could brake even if front suspension is gone?

      • Front the inboard camera it seems that Hamilton did not brake and keep accelerating . It would be nice to see the telemetry data. I mean you did not see the from tires locking up.

        • DaveD (@daved) said on 2nd September 2012, 20:38

          “Front the inboard camera it seems that Hamilton did not brake and keep accelerating”

          What are you talking about? You think you can tell what he was doing on the accelerator by watching him try to jerk the wheel back and forth to get control of the car? It is physically impossible to see what gear he was in, much less what RPMs he was hitting.
          You are clearly seeing what you WANT to see, as there is NOTHING in that video that could possibly tell you what his feet were doing on the pedals. That is a stupid statement. Watch this video ( between 1:06-1:10 and tell me that you could possibly see what was happening with his braking and acceleration! I’m sorry, but you’re completely seeing something you have imagined to be there emotionally and then filling in the gaps with your imagination.

    • Agreed. Hamilton has responsibility in this.

      • stirper said on 2nd September 2012, 21:55

        you are right

      • rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 2nd September 2012, 22:01

        Wow – stellar thinking. Another driver zips across the track, knocks you out, but somehow you are responsible – despite everyone that knows anything about F1 agreeing it is Grosjean’s fault, you still think Hamilton “has responsibility in this”.
        How enlightening.

      • minnis (@minnis) said on 6th September 2012, 19:54

        Great, thats reassuring, knowing that if I’m driving down the road and decide to veer onto the pavement, knocking over a pedestrian, I’ll know that it was the pedestrian’s fault.


    • Snafu (@snafu) said on 2nd September 2012, 23:39

      You really think Hamilton had the time to pick a victim and keep accelerating to hit him with Grosjean’s car?! You do realize that all the incident took 3 or 4 seconds, right? I’m not sure if anyone can do anything like that in that time with that condition!

  15. rajamaniarun (@rajamaniarun) said on 2nd September 2012, 17:16

    Crosjean deserves it but on other occasions when Maldonado has done the same the stewards have looked the other side.

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