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GP Week : Issue 165
BANNED! F1 >>> NEWS Frenchman Romain Grosjean has been banned from racing in this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix for the mistake that led to a heavy pile-up at the first corner of yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix. Lotus, who have confirmed they will not appeal the harsh penalty, will confirm his replacement early this week, with reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio expected to step into the breach. Confirmation of Grosjean’s one-race ban and €50,000 fine was met with gasps of surprise in the media centre, just hours after the reigning GP2 champion had eliminated title challengers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton from the grand prix. It will be the first driver ban to be ser ved since 1994. In explaining their decision to exclude Grosjean from Monza, the stewards said he had committed an “extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury” . The elimination of the championship challengers from the race also had an influence on the penalty. “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,” read the stewards’ statement, a member of which was former F1 racer Eliseo Salazar. “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.” The stewards cited articles 16.1(d) (causing a collision) and 20.4 (abnormal change of direction) of the sporting regulations in their decision. Grosjean had turned in on McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on the run-down to Turn 1, before subsequently being catapulted into the pack as it was negotiating the corner, and collected Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Sauber’s Sergio Perez. Grosjean had made a similar misjudgement at the beginning of the Monaco Grand Prix when he collided with Michael Schumacher before the first corner. Williams’ Pastor Maldonado also felt the wrath of the stewards on Sunday after being penalised a total of 10 grid places for Monza, five of which were for a jump start and a further five for colliding with Timo Glock at Turn 1 (subsequently leading to the Venezuelan’s retirement). The stewards also fined Caterham €10,000 for unsafely releasing Heikki Kovalainen from his first pit stop, while investigations against Michael Schumacher (pit entry infringement) and Mark Webber (unsafe pit stop release) did not attract penalties. Grosjean to sit out Monza as Stewards get tough 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: