Lotus’s Romain Grosjean has been given a one-race ban after the stewards at Spa-Francorchamps judged him to be responsible for causing the first-corner accident at the start of Sunday’s 2012 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.
The ban means Grosjean will miss next weekend’s Italian event, which takes place at Monza from September 7-9. He has also been fined 50,000 Euros.
“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.
“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.”
Grosjean made contact with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton as they made their way from the start line to the first corner of the race. The ensuing collision involved Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.
“When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through,” said Grosjean. “That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards. I got a good start – despite being disturbed by Pastor’s (Maldonado) early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front – and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis’s.
“I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars; I didn’t deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn’t what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident. I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver.”
Although Grosjean, Alonso, Hamilton and Perez were all eliminated from the race, Kobayashi managed to continue and eventually finished in 13th.
“It’s been a tough day for the team but we fully respect the Stewards’ decision,” concluded team principal Eric Boullier. “Romain won’t be driving at Monza but he still has our full support. We’ll announce the name of his replacement a bit later in the week.”
Lotus’s reserve is former Marussia driver Jerome D’Ambrosio.
Written By: F1.com
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