Pierre Gasly said Thursday he hopes to avoid a potential race ban for penalty points after concerted talks with Formula One’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA).
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the year, the French driver conceded he was in a difficult position after racking up 10 penalty points – knowing that 12 in a year would mean an automatic ban.
“I’m not going to lie,” Gasly, who will leave Alpha Tauri for Renault next season, told reporters.
“It’s a very unpleasant situation and is quite delicate and, in some ways, quite embarrassing.
“To be standing in a position where I could be banned after the season I have done. I don’t really feel I have 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 of the races. I want to finish the season in the best way I can with AlphaTauri.”
Gasly, 26, has picked up penalty points for a range of minor offences this year including speeding under red flags, driving too slowly and distant behind a Safety Car, exceeding track limits, collisions and gaining an advantage when going off the circuit.
He cannot drop any of the points against him, to reduce the total, until May next season, when the 2023 championship will be at least five races old.
In turn, that means that if he avoids further trouble in the two remaining races this season, he will carry his total over when he joins Alpine.
“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 nobody knows what is going to happen in 2023.
“I could end up with an amazing car and be fighting for the world championship, for example, and can’t take the risk to be banned for a race and lose all my hopes.
“I hope we can find a solution ahead of the weekend to avoid ending up in a silly situation where I’ll be banned for a race.”
Gasly has scored 23 of Alpha Tauri’s 35 points this year.
“The way the regulation is written at the moment, it’s quite strict on the drivers and quite harsh penalties even though it is not always related to dangerous driving.
“And definitely, the penalties have massive repercussions on the teams’ and drivers’ championships.”
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