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

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  1. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 2nd September 2012, 22:40

    “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 beyond me”

    @Magnificent-Geoffrey has pretty much nailed it here. I’ll add a couple more things.

    Grosjean did the same thing to Schumacher in Monaco it has to be remembered. So he’s already had chance to learn from that mistake.

    As for Hamilton, it seems the main people trying to blame him are just trolling – and if that were any other driver there’d be a lot less people trying to blame him. That’s pretty terrible luck.

    Mixed emotions at the end of today – we had a great race, and it was nice to see Button so dominant and comfortable again. But that accident was so unnecessary and to see Sauber’s great opportunity thrown away really gets to me!

    On a better note, it has to be said – we saw some equally fantastic racing today. Let’s hope for a clean one at Monza.

  2. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 3rd September 2012, 0:23

    Even I can’t find a way to blame Hamilton for this one. Drats.

    • SmokingMan said on 3rd September 2012, 2:05

      Watch this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQdH6OZYrSE
      – watching from the above car view you would have to blame Grosjean, but if you watch the in-car video (~1:05 in the clip) you can see that Grosjean’s car was definately past Hamilton, but Hamilton obviously didn’t want to back-off because he’s so stubborn and focused on the corner. I think Grosjean made the mistake of assuming Hamilton would back off – a mistake he won’t make again!
      But not worth a racing ban – it should be put it down as a “racing incident”. At worst they should have made him start from back of the pack.
      Random application of penalties turns people off any sport – both competitors and viewers.

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 3rd September 2012, 3:46

        From the front view it actually looks like Grosjean was aiming for Hamilton and had orders to eliminate him, with extreme prejudice! He crossed the full width of the track to get him – shot! From Hamiltons view Grosjean wasn’t past him so there was no reason to yield and Grosjean, not being past Hamilton, kept moving left. Had he been a couple of yards further up the track it would have made sense for GRO to get in front of HAM and cover him. But he wasn’t far enough ahead.

        I think that the kindest you could say about GROs actions was that they were cavalier. At worst he’s an assassin.

        Believe me, I usually try to find a way to blame Hamilton for everything, including my bald spot and global warming. But in this case I just can’t see it. I tried, I really did.

        • f12007v (@f1fan-2000) said on 3rd September 2012, 9:33

          If you rewatch the restart, from the bird-eye’s view, you could see that Grosjean was still giving Hamilton some space before Hamilton accelerates as he tries to get that place back from GRO. So it is part of his fault, maybe 20%, for forcing Grojean back to his right and not backing off.

  3. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 3rd September 2012, 2:49

    Justified punishment,Romain do need calm down a bit more over his 1st Lap driving.

  4. Himmat said on 3rd September 2012, 3:52

    Let me be honest here: when I saw the F1Fanatic posting on Facebook yesterday, my immediate reaction was ***?

    Seriously, I thought it was a racing incident. Granted, Romain has had many of those this season, but the FIA should really have gave him a suspended race ban or a reprimand. Banning him because he caused an accident that took out the championship contenders is just plain stupid.

    What if the same accident happened, but no one else got involved and cars didn’t go airborne? Or what if it involved the HRTs and Marrusias. Would a race ban have been forthcoming?

    I understand, Alonso was a couple of feet from a near-certain death, but beyond the initial contact, you cannot blame Romain as a slight change in speed and direction can cause F1 cars to react in a myriad of ways.

    I have seen more serious incidents but with less severe outcomes in the past 5 seasons. Schumacher on Baricello a few years back, Maldonado’s stupid antics….a lot others were worth the one race ban, but I never ever thought Romain would get it in my wildest dreams after seeing the accident live on my PC. It was bad, undoubtedly, the outcome – but I squarely put it down to a racing incident.

  5. The Limit said on 3rd September 2012, 3:57

    From Hamilton’s perspective, you are always vunerable when you start the race midpack. Even Alonso started only two places ahead of Lewis, and going into a tight first corner like La Source, these things can happen. I was pleased to see Alonso get out of the car unscathed, for a moment I thought he had been struck on the head by a wheel from the Lotus. Lucky.
    As for the penalty I would say a grid penalty is the better option. In Grosjean’s defence I saw it for what it was, the Frenchman thought incorrectly that he had more room than he did. It was an accident, nothing malicious or delibrate, but an accident! I admire him for admitting as much afterward, although it won’t help his situation nor will it help those whose races he ruined.

  6. Jubameister said on 3rd September 2012, 7:51

    “It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”

    Why should that have any effect on the penalty? Now i’m all in for Grosjean getting a penalty, because he really should be taught some manners, but it shouldn’t matter who he crashes into. The stewards just made fools of themselves.

  7. f12007v (@f1fan-2000) said on 3rd September 2012, 9:25

    Espacially it is a high-speed circuit, and the slower cars and less expirienced drivers were at the front while the faster ones were qualified at the back made it very challenging for drivers like Alonso, Hamilton, and Grosjean to have a clear room to hit front without getting blocked and using their own rate of acceleration at the start without distruptions.

    Anyway, I think it is absolutely wrong and dangerous for Grosjean to just cut to the other end of the track immediately as shown in the race, giving Hamilton NO space to back off on the track where their wheels are going to come into contact.

    So from my perspective, I think that the crash was because of Grosjean’s immediate “cutting through” and Hamilton desperately wanted to get the position back and therefore, when others are braking, Hamilton and Grojean came together, with Hamilton at a much higher speed than the rest of the car, with his car’s front tyres not in contact with the ground but stuck in Grojean’s rear wing. After this collision, they came into the two unaware drivers, Alonso and Perez, who were shocked when the two drivers flew right above their cockpits when they were turning. Grojean flew 1 meter ahead of Alonso’s helmet and then crashing into Perez, before spinning off and crashing onto the wall. And as Hamilton ram onto Kobayashi’s Sauber, Alonso’s Ferrari spun 180 degrees and was lifted off by Hamilton as his Mclaren’s nose sent the ferrafi into another spin. Kobayashi was then lucky to be unharmed and able to continued while Perez came to a halt further up the track.

    • Nickpkr said on 3rd September 2012, 17:09

      actually it was Hamilton car out of control that push Grosjean into Perez launching it into Fernando’s car, neither attempt to break on the slide to the corner. One interesting thing is HAM experience in crashes letting the wheel go !
      HAM is not guilty perhaps on this one but I found interesting he continually gets involved with the rookies when under pressure, if he was smarter could have avoid a couple DNF and get more points.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd September 2012, 11:36

    Hmmm…not entirely convinced this was necessary, it didn’t look at all malicious and just looked like a typical lack of judgment that we’ve seen from Grosjean this season. Maybe that’s the case for the stewards but I don’t think they should have taken previous poor judgment into consideration, considering he’s largely kept out of bother since Monaco.

    I don’t agree with this part of the statement from the FIA…

    “It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”

    That shouldn’t matter and should not have factored into their decision.

    Grosjean’s statement is a good one and respect to him for being so honest and apologising to the drivers fans.

  9. sagar atgamkar (@sagaratgamkar) said on 3rd September 2012, 17:40

    its racing and no one ever will cause such a crash on purpose. glad no one got hurt.

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