Pierre Gasly risks being kicked out of the race, but Hamilton and Verstappen are safe
Pierre Gasly is at increased risk of receiving a Formula One race ban after racking up nine penalty points over the course of this season. However, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen do not appear to be in any immediate danger, as the Briton has none on his record, while the world champion has five, all of which are set to expire before the end of the year.
Drivers can be excluded from a Grand Prix if they receive 12 penalty points in a single year, although this has never happened in F1 since the system was introduced before the 2014 season. However, the limit has been reached in the Formula Two, as Alpine youngster Olli Caldwell missed this year’s event at Spa just weeks after Amaury Cordeel was suspended by Silverstone.
Gasly raised his points record to nine at the US Grand Prix, having scored two for failing to keep 10 cars behind the pace car. It was the second time in as many races that he had been penalized, as he too earned two points during the race at Suzuka for speeding behind the safety car.
He won’t see a reduction in his points value until May 2023, leaving him at serious risk of receiving a race ban if he doesn’t improve his conduct. The Frenchman will join Alpine next year, so his new team is likely to monitor the situation closely with him and as a result he may need to pick a strong reserve driver.
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However, two drivers who are not at risk are Hamilton and Verstappen. The Briton, together with Carlos Sainz, has the best record on the grid without either of the two drivers having any penalties. The Dutchman should join them in the near future, as the five points he picked up during the closing stages of his tense title fight with the Mercedes man last season are fading.
It seems more likely than ever that Formula One could see its first race ban given Gasly’s recent record. The Frenchman will now have to show his best behavior to ensure he doesn’t receive the unwanted accolade.
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