Pierre Gasly gave an impassioned response to a question about his current penalty point situation, admitting being only two points from a race ban is “a bit embarrassing”.
The AlphaTauri driver’s lunge on Lance Stroll in Mexico earned him another point on his licence, forcing the Aston Martin driver off track in trying to pass him and gaining an advantage in the process.
This took Gasly up to 10 points on his FIA Super Licence, his fifth in October alone, with any driver who accrues 12 in a calendar year subject to a race ban.
Not only is Gasly only two points from receiving a ban, he will not be seeing any points fall away from his licence until at least May 22nd next year – after seven races of the 2023 season.
This gives the Frenchman nine races to negotiate without incurring any FIA penalty points if he is to avoid a race on the sidelines, and he spoke understandably with a hint of nervousness about what may happen if he falls foul of the rules again in the coming races.
Speaking at the pre-Sao Paulo Grand Prix press conference, Gasly said he has been speaking to the FIA about a way forward for the future, because he wants to avoid being in a “silly situation” in the future.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a very unpleasant situation and quite delicate, and in some ways also a bit embarrassing to be standing in a position where I could be banned for a race after the season that I’ve done,” he said.
“I don’t really feel like I’ve been particularly dangerous over these last 12 months and that would be definitely a harsh penalty.
“But there have been a lot of discussions 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, I want to do all the races in 2023 and get the maximum chances to perform for Alpine.
“And obviously, there is a lot at stake because no one knows what’s going to happen in ’23. I could end up with an amazing car fighting for the championship for example and 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 to 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 then related to dangerous driving and, definitely, the penalty has massive repercussions on the team and Drivers’ Championships.
“So I do hope we’re going to have more conversations today, but I do hope we can find a solution ahead of the weekend to avoid to end up in a silly situation where I’ll be banned for a race.
“And that would be terrible for myself and definitely not the way that I’ve seen the sport growing up, and I don’t think that’s the correct approach because, 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.”