Haas driver Romain Grosjean has been sailing dangerously close to the wind in terms of penalty points this season, so he will no doubt have breathed a sigh of relief after the stewards handed him ‘only’ one penalty point, in addition to a three-place grid drop for next Sunday’s race in Mexico, following his early collision with Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in Sunday’s US Grand Prix. Had the Frenchman have picked up three further points on his licence, he would have been banned for one race…
Starting eighth on the Austin grid, Grosjean was passed by Leclerc on the opening lap, but then locked up into Turn 12 and ran into the rear of the Sauber, tipping it into a spin. Both drivers subsequently retired and found themselves heading for the stewards room.
After speaking to both men and reviewing video evidence, the stewards determined that Grosjean was at fault, but acknowledged that he had lifted and braked early in an effort to avoid contact, and hence decided to award him just the one penalty point. He has now received 10 in the past 12 months – just two short of the tally that triggers an automatic one-race ban.
Grosjean accrued one point at last year’s United States Grand Prix on October 29, 2017 to begin his current run of penalty points, meaning that were he to add another two in Mexico next weekend, he would receive what would be the second race ban of his F1 career.
His first ban came after his spate of incidents in 2012 that culminated in the enormous first-lap crash at Spa that year.