TMR Team | Sep 4, 2012
  • Grosjean banned for Monza after Spa crash
  • D'Ambrosio on pole for Monza race seat
  • Rival teams to study Hamilton telemetry - Horner
  • Ecclestone says Schumacher 'leaving' F1
  • Schumacher plays down Ecclestone retire comments
 

Grosjean banned for Monza after Spa crash

Romain Grosjean will sit out this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza, after Lotus decided not to appeal the Frenchman's one-race ban for causing the first corner crash at Spa.

F1 returnee Grosjean's actions, which also ended title-contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso's races and so nearly caused serious injury to the latter, was described by the stewards as an "extremely serious breach of the regulations".

He was also fined a whopping EUR 50,000.

"I judged the gap to Hamilton poorly. A small error but with big consequences," Grosjean is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"I apologise and I'm glad that no-one was hurt."

Grosjean, while impressive in 2012, has been involved in several early-race incidents this year.

"It's time to put a stop to it," he admitted. "Some, like today, have been my fault, others not. I hope to not make any more mistakes in the remaining races."

Journalist Livio Oricchio said that because Ferrari driver Alonso's 40-point lead was slashed to 24 because of the crash, the headline from Spa might be "Grosjean re-opens the championship".

"Romain has great talent and is very fast. When he develops, he will be a great driver," his boss Eric Boullier said after the crash and ban.

In an official team statement, he said Grosjean's replacement for Monza will be announced this week.

As far as Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali is concerned, Grosjean's ban is a chance for the FIA to think about the bigger picture.

"What is certain is that, it would be better if, starting with the junior formulae, rules relating to on-track behaviour were enforced in an inflexible manner, so as to have drivers as well prepared as possible when they reach this, the highest level of motor sport," he said.

Alonso, who briefly visited the medical centre after Grosjean's car sliced across his cockpit opening, watched the race with his mechanics whilst nursing a sore left shoulder.

"Everything is alright, the pain only comes from the whiplash," said the Spaniard.

"I am not angry with Grosjean, he definitely didn't do it on purpose," added Alonso.

Also feeling the FIA's wrath on Sunday was another repeat-offender Pastor Maldonado, who will take a double 10-place grid penalty at Monza for badly jumping the start and then crashing with Timo Glock.

The most anger in the paddock was, however, about Grosjean.

McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett described the Frenchman's behaviour as "stupid", and after climbing out of his wreck, Hamilton gestured towards his helmet before confronting Grosjean, demonstrating the foolishness of the move.

Triple world champion and German commentator Niki Lauda said the stewards got the ban - the first in F1 since Michael Schumacher in 1994 - "absolutely right".

"That could have broken Alonso's neck. It could have killed him.

"He (Grosjean) is talented, but sometimes incredibly stupid. I count this as the seventh time he has done something like that this year. Madness."

Lotus did not attempt to fight the FIA's decision, but boss Boullier noted that Williams' Maldonado has also had "many accidents" in 2012.

"So in one way this penalty for Romain seems pretty hard," said the Frenchman.

(GMM)

 

D'Ambrosio on pole for Monza race seat

Jerome d'Ambrosio is on pole position to replace the banned Romain Grosjean at Monza.

The FIA has banned Frenchman Grosjean for one race after causing the crash that ended championship contenders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton's Belgian GP.

Belgian d'Ambrosio, 26, is Lotus' official third driver.

The 2011 Virgin race driver is managed by Lotus team boss Eric Boullier's management arm Gravity.

"We'll announce the name of (Grosjean's) replacement a bit later in the week," said Boullier at Spa on Sunday.

D'Ambrosio, who already attends all the races, said he is ready and willing to step into the cockpit of the highly-competitive black and gold E20.

"It's unfortunate for Romain, but it's the FIA's decision. It's not for me to comment," he told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

"Anyway, it's part of my job since the beginning of the year to be ready, no matter what. I'm ready and highly motivated.

"What happens, we'll see. It (the situation) is still brand new and I don't know exactly what will happen."

Boullier is quoted by the French-language RMC Sport as saying the chance d'Ambrosio will get the job is "80 per cent".

"(But) there are many drivers looking for a steering wheel," he is quoted by France's autohebdo.fr. "First, we are thinking of (appointing) our third driver."

(GMM)

 

Rival teams to study Hamilton telemetry - Horner

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has hinted Lewis Hamilton is lucky to avoid an internal punishment as the result of the 'Twittergate' affair.

The 2008 world champion is believed to have been scolded behind closed doors for publishing a highly-confidential telemetry sheet to his million Twitter followers.

Some paddock insiders believe it's the tip of the iceberg as Hamilton wages "war" with the British team over his unsigned 2013 contract.

Asked if McLaren needs to take action against the 27-year-old, Whitmarsh answered: "No.

"But it would be interesting to see how other team principals would deal with it," he is quoted by the Daily Mail.

Having re-signed Mark Webber for 2012 despite rumours of approaches by Hamilton's management, Red Bull chief Christian Horner boasted that his drivers would never commit a similar "breach of confidentiality".

"From what I understand it was car data, and if it was car data then I'm sure every engineer in the pitlane is having a very close look at it," said Horner.

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone says Schumacher 'leaving' F1

Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday hinted Michael Schumacher is set to return to retirement.

Asked by Eddie Jordan at Spa-Francorchamps about the seven time world champion's career spanning a 300 Grands Prix, the F1 chief executive answered: "I'm sorry that he's leaving us not being a winner (with Mercedes), because he is a winner."

The surprised former team owner Jordan, now working as a pundit for British BBC One television, asked 81-year-old Ecclestone if his comment means Schumacher is set to return to retirement at the end of the season.

"I don't know, I don't know," Ecclestone quickly replied.

(GMM)

 

Schumacher plays down Ecclestone retire comments

Michael Schumacher on Sunday played down Bernie Ecclestone's suggestion the Mercedes driver is set to return to retirement.

Schumacher, 43, smiled when asked about Ecclestone's comments after the race.

"I guess he said: 'If I would leave'," the great German said.

"I told him (Ecclestone) yesterday I had not made a decision about my future."

Mercedes' Norbert Haug said on German television Sky: "(Regarding Schumacher's future) There is nothing new to report."

(GMM)