AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly says he is embarrassed to be one incident away from a potential race ban after amassing ten penalty points on his superlicence this year.
If Gasly notches up another two points on his licence before May next year, when the first of his points will expire, he will be forced to miss a race under F1’s penalty points rules.
He was issued with his tenth penalty point at the last race in Mexico when he ran Lance Stroll wide at Turn 4 to take a position, and he was given the first two of his current ten at the Spanish Grand Prix when he caused a collision with Stroll.
Only five of his ten points are a result of incidents with other drivers and Gasly, who is discussing the issue with the FIA in an attempt to find a resolution, believes his driving standards have not warranted a race ban.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a very unpleasant situation, and quite delicate,” he said ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. “In some ways also, it’s a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season I’ve done.
“I don’t really feel like I’ve been particularly dangerous over the last 12 months, and that would definitely be a harsh penalty. But there’s been a lot of discussion with the FIA, trying to find a solution because personally, I want to do all the races, I want to finish the season in the best way I can with AlphaTauri.”
Next year, Gasly will move from AlphaTauri to Alpine and he is wary that his precarious position could mean he misses a crucial race with his new team next season.
“I want to do all the races in 2023 and get the maximum chances to perform for Alpine,” he added. “Obviously, there is a lot at stake because no one knows what’s going to happen in 2023, I could end up with an amazing car, fighting for the championship, for example.
“I can’t take the risk to be banned for a race and lose all my hopes for the championship. It’s a very tricky situation. I’ve been discussing quite a lot with the FIA to try to find solutions, because the way the regulations are written at the moment, it’s quite strict on the drivers and quite harsh penalties, even though it’s not always related to dangerous driving. Definitely, the penalties have massive repercussions on the teams and drivers in the championship.”
Gasly is hopeful a compromise will be found before this weekend’s action in Sao Paulo so that he doesn’t end up in a position where he could be banned from his final race with AlphaTauri.
“I do hope we are going to have more conversations today but I do hope we can find a solution ahead of the weekend to end up in a silly situation where I’ll be banned for a race weekend. That would be terrible for myself and definitely not the way that I’ve seen the sport growing up. I don’t think that’s the correct approach.
“Obviously, I can’t really go into next year with only two points and that risk over my head. But at the same time, at the moment there is no clear solution so hopefully there can be a good plan going forward for 2023.”
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