The blame for the spectacular crash at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix has been laid squarely at the feet of Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. Following a stewards’ inquiry Grosjean has been handed a one-race ban and a €50,000 fine.
Television replays showed the accident was set-off after Grosjean moved across on Lewis Hamilton, forcing the McLaren driver onto the grass where he lost control. Hamilton then crashed into the back of Grosjean’s car, sending the Lotus flying through the air across the nose of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
A statement issued by the FIA reads in part: “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 regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others,” said a statement released by the FIA. “It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.”
That means we’re likely to see Lotus reserve driver Jerome D’Ambrosio at the wheel of Grosjean’s car for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali, has issued a forthright statement on the team’s website saying: “It would be better if, starting with the junior formulae, rules relating to on-track behaviour were enforced in an inflexible manner, so as to have drivers as well prepared as possible when they reach this, the highest level of motor sport.”
Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado has been given a combined 10 spot grid penalty for two separate incidents at Spa. He was handed a five place penalty for jumping the start and a further five positions for causing an accident with the Marussia of Timo Glock.
Stewards also handed a €10,000 fine to the Caterham F1 Team for unsafely releasing Heikki Kovalainen from his pit box, causing contact with HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan.
FIA official statement: “The team admitted to the stewards that it considered itself at fault in causing the unsafe release and apologised to HRT accordingly. The stewards did not consider that any sporting advantage was gained.”
Mark Webber and Red Bull Racing escaped penalty after being investigated for a possible unsafe release which caused a near miss with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.
FIA official statement: “The stewards noted the evidence that indicated the driver of car #2 was aware of the approach of car #6 into the pitlane and deliberately, after being released, kept to the right and momentarily lifted throttle to allow car #6 to enter its pit unimpeded, before car #2 turned out into the fast lane.”
Michael Schumacher’s last gasp pit entry, moments after defending an overtaking move from Sebastian Vettel at the Bus Stop chicane, also escaped penalty.
FIA official statement: “Red Bull Racing admitted to the stewards that their instruction to the driver of car #1 was to ‘do the opposite of car #7. Therefore when car #7 headed for the pit entry car #1 aborted its entry to the pits.”