Franz Tost ‘shocked’ by Pierre Gasly points situation, ‘absolutely not dangerous’

Henry Valantine
Pierre Gasly with his hand on his head. Hungaroring July 2022.

Pierre Gasly with his hand on his head at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hungaroring July 2022.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost expressed his surprise at how Pierre Gasly has amassed so many penalty points on his Super Licence, believing the Frenchman is “absolutely not a dangerous driver”.

Gasly sits on 10 penalty points at the end of the 2022 season, and will not lose any for the first six races of 2023, meaning he will be walking something of a tightrope as he looks to avoid hitting 12 points in that time – and the ignominy of becoming the first driver to trigger a race ban under the FIA’s Super Licence rules as they stand.

Gasly, who moves to Alpine in time for the new year after leaving AlphaTauri, amassed five of his points in three consecutive races in October, with Tost expressing particular shock at the two he received in Suzuka for speeding during red flag conditions in the wet, especially given the events of 2014 and the personal impact the loss of Jules Bianchi will have had on him.

But even so, the AlphaTauri team boss does not see why Gasly has accrued so many penalty points over the course of the year.

“He is absolutely not a dangerous driver,” Tost said to GPFans.

“He was a little bit unlucky to come into this situation. Starting with Suzuka, of course, the driver is shocked.

“He lost his very good friend just a few years earlier with an accident, also with a tractor out on the race track, then the bad weather conditions – everything came together.

“Pierre, normally, is a driver who has a very good overview, who does not risk so much, who’s not a dangerous driver in absolutely any way.

“Therefore, I was personally shocked that within a few races, we came to this strange position, just two points away from a race penalty.

“Unbelievable for a driver who really takes care and who is not aggressive.”

Pierre Gasly’s penalty points an unfair reflection?

Gasly’s penalty point total is higher than any other driver on the grid, with Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo finishing the year behind him on eight.

Of his tally, five have been given for racing-related incidents: Two for causing a collision with Stroll in Spain, a further point for forcing the Aston Martin driver off track and gaining an advantage in Mexico City, and two for causing a collision with Stroll’s team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, in Austria.

But what Gasly has learned in no uncertain terms is that these points can quickly climb if he is not careful, with his remaining total coming from his two in Suzuka, two more from Austin for falling more than 10 car lengths behind the car in front under Safety Car conditions, and another point for exceeding track limits in Austria.

In itself, the offences for which he has been given the points have not all been inherently dangerous from a driving perspective, but the FIA will continue to clamp down on the rules – and he has to be careful when next season starts with his new team.

Read more: F1 penalty points: Pierre Gasly top of naughty list, Mick Schumacher adds to total