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Formula 1

Gasly avoids F1 race ban as stewards rule on Alpine shunt

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

The Australian Grand Prix stewards have determined that Alpine Formula 1 drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon’s clash was a “first lap racing incident” and requires no further action.

When the race restarted for a second time with two laps to go, the team-mates were involved in the chaos as Gasly locked up into Turn 1, skated across the grass, re-joined the track at Turn 2 and then drifted right and collided with Ocon.

The incident eliminated both drivers from the race and cost Alpine a strong double points finish.

Gasly already has 10 penalty points – just two short of the 12 that would trigger an automatic race ban – and isn’t going to drop points until after the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola in mid-May.

The investigation therefore put Gasly at risk of receiving a race ban or edging to within one point of one.

Pierre Gasly crashed Alpine F1 Australian GP

However the stewards determined it was a “first lap racing incident” and said “both cars recognised and accepted this as such” – so the stewards concluded no further action was necessary.

Gasly didn’t want to discuss the incident after the race, simply saying he had “nothing to mention about the end of the race about the red flag and restart”.

He continued: “I’m just so [too] disappointed [to] say anything and be looking at these guys finishing the race…”

An understanding Ocon revealed Gasly had accepted blame and apologised to him after the race.

“Obviously a very chaotic restart, honestly it could have been any cars I collided with,” Ocon reflected.

“There were cars coming back on the track, obviously Pierre was one of them, no hard feelings, he came and apologised and as I said, could have been anyone.

F1 Australian GP

“I don’t need to comment, I think it’s quite obvious what happened, it’s not an easy situation when you have cold tyres or colder tyres when you’re on the grass and you come back through [onto the tarmac], that corner, the rear is always loose.

“I can’t comment for him.”

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer called it a “racing incident”, and said both drivers apologised to each other after the race. He claimed “each driver played a role in it”.

“Had Pierre not gone wide in Turn 1 – but a lot of people did – then I think he would have been further up the road,” Szafnauer said.

“Esteban at the same time just followed [Yuki] Tsunoda through on the racing line, and Pierre didn’t see him and came over to get on the racing line and they came together.”

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