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Romain Grosjean has been banned from starting next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix after causing the first corner crash at Spa. The Franco-Swiss, who triggered a similar incident in Monaco, started the carnage by squeezing Lewis Hamilton onto the grass. He also receives a fine of 50,000 euros (£40,000).
After forcing Hamilton off-track, the McLaren was left with no grip and both cars slammed into the Sauber of Sergio Pérez and championship leader Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari. Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado were also affected by the collision and Alonso was fortunate to avoid serious injury as Grosjean’s car passed within centimetres of his head.
Grosjean’s start-line tactics have already been questioned this year, not least in Monaco where he cut across Michael Schumacher and consequently spun in front of the field.
“A good start, then a big boom and then off - I haven’t seen the images but the main thing is that we are all okay,” he told reporters before being asked if he had moved over too soon. “I don’t know…as I say I haven’t seen the footage yet.”
The FIA stewards, including ex F1 driver Eliseo Salazar, took far dimmer view.
'The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others,' they stated. '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.'
Yet to confirm a substitute for Italy, Lotus is likely to place reserve driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio alongside Kimi Räikkönen. The Belgian last raced in Formula 1 for Virgin Racing (now Marussia), before being dropped in favour of Charles Pic for this season.
The ban is the first in F1 since the BAR team was thrown out of the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix of 2005 for using fuel as ballast in the preceding San Marino race.
Grosjean accepts ban and apologises to rivals
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