AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly during a press conference ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. — Reuters pic
SAO PAULO, Nov 11 — French driver Pierre Gasly said he hoped talks with Formula One’s governing body could lift the threat of a race ban for accumulated penalty points.
The 26-year-old, who is leaving Red Bull’s AlphaTauri team for Renault-owned Alpine at the end of the season, has 10 points on his licence. Twelve in a 12-month period triggers an automatic suspension.
Four were for collisions, two for speeding after red flags were waved, two for being too far behind the safety car and the others for repeatedly exceeding track limits and gaining an advantage by going off.
None will be shed until next May, well into the 2023 championship.
“It’s a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate,” Gasly told reporters on Thursday ahead of Brazil’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
“In some ways also a bit embarrassing, to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season that I’ve done.”
Gasly has scored 23 of his team’s 35 championship points this season, with a best result of fifth in Azerbaijan.
The situation means that even if he escapes further penalty in this year’s last two races, he will take the risk of a race ban with him to Alpine.
“There’s been a lot of discussion with the FIA, trying to find a solution because…I want to do all the races in 2023 and get the maximum chances to perform for Alpine,” said the Frenchman.
“The way the regulation is written at the moment it’s quite strict on the drivers and quite harsh penalties, even though it’s not always related to dangerous driving.
“I do hope we can find a solution ahead of the weekend to avoid ending up in a silly situation where I’ll be banned for a race.”
Other drivers said the situation needed to be fixed to ensure drivers were not sidelined for a series of non-dangerous offences.
“I think there is going to be a change…we do need to do something about it,” agreed Williams’ Alex Albon, who said he had a lot of points on his licence that he did not think were deserved.
“From my understanding there will be some changes made for the future,” said Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. “I don’t think Pierre deserves to be in that kind of situation, on the edge.” — Reuters