• Belgian Grand Prix

Romain Grosjean suspended for one race

ESPN Staff
September 2, 2012 « Alonso 'not angry' over crash | Maldonado hit with two grid penalties for Monza »
Romain Grosjean's error took out Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez © Press Association
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Romain Grosjean has been given a one race suspension for causing the first-lap collision at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He becomes the first F1 driver to be suspended from a race since 1994 when Eddie Irvine and Mika Hakkinen were punished for racing incidents and Michael Schumacher for ignoring a black flag.

Grosjean has been involved in a number of first-lap incidents this year, but the one at Spa was the most serious as he collided with Lewis Hamilton and then took out Fernando Alonso at high speed at turn one. Following an investigation in to the incident the stewards ruled that Grosjean should be suspended for one race, and also imposed a €50,000 fine.

The full statement from the stewards said they "regard this as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race. The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty."

Lotus has confirmed it will not appeal the decision and will select Grosjean's replacement for Monza later in the week, with third driver Jerome d'Ambrosio the most likely candidate.

"When you love racing this is very hard," Grosjean said. "I accept my mistake. "It was a bit of a crazy start as well with [Pastor] Maldonado leaving [the grid early] and the Sauber [Kobayashi] smoking a lot. I did a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident.

"I didn't change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall. I'm not here to stop the race in the first corner. I'm very, very sorry and I'm glad that nobody is hurt. But I have to say it is a very, very hard decision to hear."

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