Grosjean Race Ban Imminent, Say Rivals

Lotus have been on the verge of netting their first win of the season on more than one occasion this year. However, if they do finally cross the finish line first at Monza this Sunday, it shall be without their second driver, Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean’s involvement in the accident at the start of last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix took championship contender Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Fernando Alonso out of the race, whilst Sergio Perez and Grosjean himself also had to retire immediately, with numerous drivers also held up by the littered cars and debris.

The statement issued by the stewards mentioned of the potential of injury from the crash, from which Fernando Alonso was fortunate to escapeas Grosjean’s Lotus was launched over the top of Alonso’s cockpit, missing the Spaniard’s head by the slightest of margins.

“The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others,” said a statement from the officials.

“It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”

The Ferrari’s on-board camera shows how close Alonso had been to serious injury

An interesting point is that this is not the first time the Frenchman has been involved in trouble at a race start. On many other occasions, such as in Malaysia and Australia. The Belgium GP was the seventh instance of Grosjean having contact at the start this year. One fellow driver, Fernando Alonso, has been quick to agree with his punishment:

“It’s true also that in 12 races he (Grosjean) had seven crashes at the start…

“The drivers need to have common sense, to have respect for the others.”

However, he also had sympathy for his racing compatriot and said that it was not always easy from the view of the cockpit to avoid incident:

“It may be a good opportunity. It’s true that we saw some repeat accidents for the same people and maybe a different approach from the Federation can be the solution. But it’s not easy; all the incidents are different. F1 with the speed, with the time, the distance, it’s difficult to combine these three elements and sometimes something that looks spectacular on TV is not so easy to avoid in reality.”

Stefano Domenicali, team boss of Ferrari, agreed that the incident was down to Grosjean.

“For sure it was not the fault of Fernando – that is the basic point!” said Domenicali.

“I have to say after what happened I am pleased and happy that nothing happened to him.

“Having a car flying almost over his head could be really dangerous.

“Specifically on that point, for sure I believe that all was caused by the move of Grosjean.”

Ide, seen left, ended his final race in spectactular fashion

The last time a driver was banned from racing indefinitely was after round 4 of the 2006 season. Yuji Ide had launched the Midland of Christijan Albers into a violent roll following the start of the San Marino Grand Prix, which was to be the last in a series of calamities in Ide’s brief F1 stint. After receiving advice from the FIA regarding Ide’s conduct, his Super Aguri team dropped for the rest of the season and a few days later, the FIA revoked his Super License, leaving him unable to race in F1.

A one-race ban was last handed out was to Mika Hakkinen which rendered the the Finn unable to race at the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix.

Lotus announced that their reserve and former Marussia driver Jerome d’Ambrosio will replace Grosjean for Monza. The Belgian competed in the 2011 season for Marussia, then known as Virgin Racing. He declared that he is ready to race thanks to his role as reserve driver and that he hopes for a good performance this weekend.

“My desire for 2012 has always been to get back into the seat of a Formula 1 car so I am grabbing this opportunity with both hands,” he said.

“Monza is a fantastic circuit and I can’t wait to take to the track on Friday. As third driver I have worked with the team at every grand prix, attending all the briefings and meetings that the race drivers do, so I am well prepared in this respect.

“Monza is a superb circuit, but it is also quite a technical one so I am not underestimating the task ahead of me.

“I want to reward the faith that the team has in me with a good haul of points from the race. I will hand the wheel back to Romain after Sunday’s race and I hope that this one showing in Italy will allow me to show my capabilities fully.”

Lotus’ reserve driver gets his chance for one race

Much won’t be expected of a man who hasn’t raced in the sport for close to a year, but he will harbour hopes of becoming the first Belgian to score a world championship point since Thierry Boutsen finished in 5th place at the 1992 Australian Grand Prix.


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