Alpine reveal F1 rivals blocked attempt to reduce Pierre Gasly’s race ban risk

Sam Cooper
Pierre Gasly on the grid, thumb up. Bahrain March 2023

Alpine driver Pierre Gasly on the grid, thumb up. Bahrain March 2023

Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that rival F1 teams moved to block Alpine’s attempt to have Pierre Gasly’s points wiped from his record.

Gasly is perilously close to sitting out a race as he nears the 12-point mark that automatically comes with a suspension.

The Frenchman is on 10 having earned many of his points from procedural mistakes such as falling more than 10 car lengths behind the car in front during the Safety Car period and exceeding track limits.

But a new FIA rule change has eliminated the possibility of drivers receiving points as a result of these kinds of actions with the punishment now only handed out for dangerous driving.

While this has helped Gasly become less likely to receive the two points needed for the suspension, it has not eliminated all of the danger as he still sits on 10 points, the most of any driver in the paddock.

Now Alpine team boss Szafnauer has revealed that the team campaigned to have points for procedural errors wiped off a driver’s licence at the latest F1 Commission meeting but were shot down by the majority of their rivals.

“I was in the minority,” he told Autosport.

“There were probably three or four out of the 10 teams that supported it.

“Some of those that did not admitted the reason they are not supporting it was for opportunistic reasons, hoping that something happens to us.” recommends

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Gasly is on the hook until at least May 22 when his two points for causing a collision with Lance Stroll during the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix will expire.

Speaking about what points should be handed out for, Szafnauer said the points should be retroactively taken away if the rule has now changed.

“There’s two elements to the rule,” he said. “One, going forward, what should you get penalty points for? And I think it’s right that you should get penalty points for not things like track limits, but dangerous driving, which was always the intent.

“I don’t know how things like track limits or being too far away from the safety car ever got in there, because it’s not dangerous driving. Anyway, that’s one thing, and I agree with the FIA’s [new] interpretation.

“Now, should that be retroactive? I’m always going to say yes, mainly because I think that’s fair.

“If we all stand up, raise our hands and say we made a mistake: then correct the mistake looking backwards not just looking forwards.”