Pierre Gasly calls for action on qualifying issue which has become ‘out of control’

Henry Valantine
Alpine driver Pierre Gasly at the side of the track after going out of FP1. Azerbaijan, April 2023.

Alpine driver Pierre Gasly looking frustrated.

Pierre Gasly wants to find a way for Formula 1 to review penalties given out for impeding other drivers in qualifying, having been on both sides of the problem in the past two races.

The Alpine driver was given two separate three-place grid penalties for blocking other drivers’ fast laps during qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix, before angrily claiming Carlos Sainz should be given a ban for crawling towards the final chicane in Montreal while he was at top speed.

Sainz was eventually given a penalty for impeding, just as Gasly was in Spain, but the end result was the Frenchman getting knocked out in Q1 around Canada – with team principal Otmar Szafnauer predicting he had been on a lap good enough for the top six positions at the time he was slowed down.

Because of the way his Sunday was damaged as a result of Sainz’s actions, given he was starting lower down the field than anticipated, Gasly wants to see if there is a way the powers that be can intervene – though he admits the situation is out of his control.

“I was on the other side in Barcelona,” Gasly told reporters in Canada, as quoted by RacingNews365.

“The only thing that I tend to disagree a bit [with] is when you impede someone that finished on pole position, it’s different than when you impede someone in a way that kicks him out of Q1 or Q2.

“Clearly the damage was not only in quali, but clearly in the race. Your whole weekend is affected by it.

“Maybe that needs a review, but honestly this is out of our control. I’m sure it’s going to be talked about at the next race.

“At the moment, I just hope for a clean and smooth weekend and that’s what we’ll target in Austria.”

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Given the amount of traffic on track in Q1 in particular, with all 20 cars on track in the closing stages in wet conditions looking to better their times in Canada, Gasly explained that help from the pit wall is crucial in those moments.

But on shorter layouts such as Monaco and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, as the drivers experienced at the weekend, having ample distance between themselves and another car is not always guaranteed.

“Traffic management is always so hard in all categories, and you need help and support from your team,” Gasly said.

“We’re all selfish as racing drivers, but at some point there is a limit to it.

“As much as [a] big gap you want to create in front of you sometimes, you’ve just got to accept that you’re not going to have six seconds or four seconds, and you’re going to give an extra two seconds for the guy who’s posting a lap behind you.

“It’s just finding that compromise and definitely in Q1 it’s harder than [in] other sessions. But yeah, we’ll review.”