Pierre Gasly warns ‘five drivers could be banned’ due to penalty points

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' George Russell speaking with Pierre Gasly. Monza September 2022.

Mercedes' George Russell speaking with AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly. Monza September 2022.

Heading to Alpine with 10 penalty points on his super licence and with none expiring until after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly is staring down a potential one race ban if he hits 12.

But, the driver has warned, he’s not the only one who could receive ban, saying as many as “four or five” drivers could be out for a race at some point.

F1 introduced the penalty points system in 2014 in response to Romain Grosjean’s race suspension for triggering a multi-car pile-up at the start of the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. It was the seventh lap one incident of his season.

Under the system drivers accrue penalty points for indiscretions and any driver who bags 12 during a rolling 12-month period is automatically banned for a race.

Gasly is knocking on that door, and hard.

He has 10 to his name, although only four are for causing collisions, the other six relating to forcing a driver off the track, speeding in red flag conditions, exceeding track limits and not adhering to the 10-car length rule behind a Safety Car.

As such the 2023 Alpine driver insists he’s not a dangerous driver.

“I don’t see myself as a racing driver who puts others in danger,” Gasly said as per Speedweek.

“Rather, the fact is that I have numerous penalty points due to procedural errors, let’s say by driving beyond the track limit boundary.”

“I really hope we can find ways to rethink the scoring system.”

In fact the Frenchman reckons as many as “five” drivers could find themselves banned before too long.

“I don’t think it can be in the interest of the sport that we suddenly have five banned drivers or, in the worst case, a World Championship without one of the main drivers being able to compete at all,” he said.

“But if we continue with the current system, then sooner or later we will get into trouble.”

While Gasly has 10 points, Lance Stroll is on eight with Max Verstappen and Alex Albon on seven.

Formula 1 is expected to review the super licence points system over the winter with Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director George Russell saying some of Gasly’s transgressions don’t warrant penalty points.

“The penalty doesn’t fit the crime, especially in Pierre’s case,” Russell told BBC Sport.

“They have expressed that we will have the conversation in the off-season and review all of this.

“There is a lot to review this season in many different regards, so the FIA will definitely have a busy off-season.

“In sport, you have to be ready and able to adapt. You have regulations in place and it only takes one incident to recognise maybe the regulation isn’t quite right.

“We need to have the capability to change things and take penalty points away afterwards if we all agree it was incorrect.”

Read more: Pierre Gasly v Yuki Tsunoda: Two drivers in desperate need of fresh starts