Why Pierre Gasly should aim to get a racing ban for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix : PlanetF1

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly should seriously think about doing something to become the first F1 driver in over 10 years to get a racing ban.

Gasly continues to lead the Drivers’ Penalty Points World Championship (which is certainly not an official name for him!) after the Mexico Grand Prix.

The French driver taken yet another penalty point during the 71-lap race, this time for forcing Lance Stroll off the track during a controversial overtake at Turn 4. It was the fifth penalty point Gasly picked up in a battle with an Aston Martin this year, having picked up two for colliding with Stroll in Spain and two more for hitting Sebastian Vettel in Austria.

However, what worries Gasly most is the fact that this latest penalty point takes him to 10 in total for the season. He can also consider himself reasonably lucky not to have picked up two points for the incident, as Nicholas Latifi’s similar moment with Mick Schumacher in Austin earned him two points – the difference being that Latifi made contact with the Haas driver .

Pierre Gasly the undisputed leader in the penalty points standings

Surprisingly, all of Gasly’s penalty points came in a very short time. It’s been just five months since Gasly hit Stroll in Spain, and he picked up five points in October alone. It means Gasly must keep a clean slate for the next seven months, taking him through the final two races of this season as well as until the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May 2023 when his first two points have expired.

It’s not an ideal situation for Gasly, especially with the threat of a racing ban influencing his driving for many races as he tries to settle in and show good form. alongside Esteban Ocon at Alpine.

However, there may be an ‘exit’ for Gasly to ensure he moves on to his new team with a clean slate. But that would require him to be prepared to sit out the last race of 2022 and the rather draconian side effect of not being able to complete his last race with AlphaTauri after racing with the Faenza-based team for the vast majority of his F1 career.

This is no small issue given the close bond Gasly has forged with the team he has rebuilt his career with after the first half of 2019. Indeed, Gasly revealed after the conclusion of his contract with Alpine that since a long time Team boss Franz Tost was ‘on the verge of tears’ over his departure.

The Sporting Regulations specify that “if a driver accumulates 12 penalty points, his license will be suspended for the following Competition (grand prix), at the end of which 12 points will be withdrawn from the licence”.

Picking up two penalty points in this season’s finale would therefore mean Gasly would have to sit out his first Grand Prix with Alpine – not an ideal way to start things off with his new team. Reaching that 12-point mark anytime across the eight races between Bahrain and Monaco would result in a racing ban, due to a suspended Super License – the first driver to earn a racing ban since Romain Grosjean in 2012.

However, if Gasly were to seek two penalty points in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil, he would serve his racing ban in Abu Dhabi and conclude his 2022 season a little early. While this would obviously be a huge inconvenience for him, it would cause all of his existing penalty points to disappear and he would start 2023 with a completely clean and carefree super license.

While it’s a sad way to end AlphaTauri and Red Bull after such a long partnership that has seen many ups and downs, it would be the logical approach to take. It could also allow Alpha Tauri to secure an early start for Nyck de Vries, if Mercedes were willing to allow him through. And for Alpine, that would mean the arrival of a driver who doesn’t have to watch his back for the first eight races of 2023.

The penalty point system is not used correctly

While it’s an unusual situation for a driver to make a tactical foul like Gasly should, the fact that the situation happened is somewhat outlandish in the first place.

Penalty points were introduced as a means of giving the FIA ​​the ability to prohibit the racing of drivers who posed a danger to others or to themselves – it can hardly be argued that Gasly’s overtaking on Stroll was anything else thing than a normal (if capricious) race. In fact, the point itself was awarded solely for going off the track and gaining an advantage – an even lesser crime than a collision.

Collisions are part of motorsport and rather than awarding penalty points willy-nilly for every contact as happened in 2022, the system should be reassessed – do not hand out penalty points for small infractions or minor collisions. For example, lane limit violations should simply not be considered a safety issue. You shouldn’t back up slightly too far during a safety car period either, as Gasly was penalized in the United States.

“Last weekend [in Austin]half of the grid had too much space behind the safety car and I was penalized,” Gasly said after Mexico, revealing he planned to discuss his recent run of penalty points with the FIA.

“This weekend was quite tight, I don’t know why they didn’t give me a message to return the position. [to Stroll]. At the end of the day I’m doing my best inside the car, the last thing I want is [pick up] Stupid penalty points and wasting race time.

“At the moment they are not happy with what I am doing so I will have a discussion with them to understand exactly what I need to change.”

However, if a driver does something really dangerous, make the penalty much harsher – make it a six-point violation. The system is meant to affect drivers like Grosjean’s reckless approach in 2012, not Gasly who spun Stroll in Spain or pushed him wide in Mexico.

Gasly faces a probable racing ban sooner rather than later, despite being no more or less dangerous than any of his peers – he just hasn’t committed a more egregious driving crime than any what has been seen on the track this season.

If there’s no rethinking of the system, then stupid situations like the one Gasly finds himself in right now could become much more common in 23 and 24-race seasons.

Read more: Mexican Grand Prix driver ratings: Max untouchable, Ricciardo reborn, Albon under the radar

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