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F1 | São Paulo GP | Drivers call for a change in the penalty points system as Gasly might face a race ban

Formula 1 drivers are in talks with the FIA to change the current penalty points system as Pierre Gasly is near a possible race ban due to points on his license.

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F1 | São Paulo GP | Drivers call for a change in the penalty points system as Gasly might face a race ban
Fuente imagen: AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly has now accumulated 10 penalty points in the last 12 months after the one he received at the Mexican Grand Prix for going off track -and forcing Lance Stroll to also get off track- and gaining an advantage. This makes him short of 2 points before receiving a race ban from the next grand prix, a position Gasly thinks he hasn’t earned.

The French driver will have to be careful and keep his track clean until May 2023, when his first two penalty points - which he picked up due to a collision with Stroll in the Spanish Grand Prix – are due to expire.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate, in some ways a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season I’ve done,” Gasly said in today's press conference.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve been particularly dangerous over these last 12 months and that would be a harsh penalty. There’s been a lot of discussions with the FIA, trying to find a solution.”

But Gasly is not the only one who has expressed his feelings about the topic; Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas considers that the talks with the FIA will result in a quick rule change, stating that “there’s been good discussions” with the governing body around the topic.

“I don’t think Pierre deserves to be in that kind of situation, on the edge,” Bottas added.

“That’s the rule now but the main thing is how we act with that in the future.”

The last Formula 1 driver banned from a race was Romain Grosjean, he was not allowed to race in the 2012 Italian Grand Prix after triggering a huge crash at the start of the Belgium Grand Prix, the preceding race.

But since then, there hasn’t been any bans with the current penalty point system which was brought in for 2014.

Pierre Gasly is worried that the possible race ban could affect either his farewell race with AlphaTauri or the start of his new career with Alpine in 2023. His worries include the potential consequences on any possible title bid with his new team.

“I want to do all the races, I want to finish the season in the best way I can with AlphaTauri,” he added.

“I want to do all the races in 2023 and get the maximum chances to perform for Alpine.

“There’s a lot at stake, nobody knows what will 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.

“So it’s a very tricky situation, I’ve been discussing quite a lot with the FIA to try and find solutions because the way the regulation is 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 penalty has massive repercussions on the teams’ and drivers’ championship.”

In Mexico City he had implied that the FIA was already working in a solution for 2023, but in Sao Paulo now Gasly is hopeful that the aforementioned solution might come in ahead of this weekend’s race.

“We’ll have more conversation today but I hope we can find a solution ahead of the weekend to avoid ending up in a silly situation where I’ll be banned for a race,” the Frenchman said.

“And that will be terrible for myself and not the way I’ve seen the sport growing up, I don’t think that’s the correct approach [even though] at the moment there’s no clear solution.

“So hopefully there can be a good plan going forward for 2023.”

Williams' Alex Albon, who sympathizes with Gasly’s situation as he is on seven penalty points himself, reiterates the need for change.

“I’m quite high up there as well and I completely agree with Pierre,” Albon said.

“I think I have three points on my license that are down to track limits – something which is not dangerous at all and not harming any other driver or myself.

“I think I’ve got another two points for a collision with Lance Stroll in Jeddah, which at the end of the race as drivers we deemed was not my fault. So there are a lot of points on my license which I don’t think I deserve.

“So we are discussing it and I think there is going to be a change. But we’ve already got the points on our license, so what happens then?

“Because even if we do make steps forward into next year, do the points we’ve got from previous races stay on or whatever?

“We do need to do something about it, I don’t think any of us are dangerous drivers.

“Of course you should punish drivers if they do dangerous things but I think a lot of the points everyone has right now are not because of dangerous things.”

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