Did Romain Grosjean deserve a one race ban?

The Belgian Grand Prix race stewards’ decision to give Romain Grosjean a one race ban in light of the crash they deemed him to have caused appears to at first be justified. Grosjean will not race at next Sunday’s Monza Grand Prix after he appeared to cut in front of Lewis Hamilton at the start of last Sunday’s race. This caused a multicar crash that left three of his fellow competitors unable to continue and nearly caused a serious injury to Championship leader Fernando Alonso.

Grosjean appeared to move into a gap that simply wasn’t there and the ensuing damage prevented Hamilton, Grosjean, Alonso and Sergio Perez from completing the race. It also very nearly left Alonso injured as Grosjean’s car cut across his head. However a further look at the decision made seems to raise some questions. Although Grosjean and his Lotus Team accepted the punishment and apologised, Grosjean had admitted that he couldn’t even be sure who had caused the crash. Despite this there appeared to be no doubt in either Hamilton or the stewards minds. Hamilton’s immediate reaction was to go straight to Grosjean and he could be seen gesticulating at him whilst the stewards used their power to ban him for one race. The stewards did concede that the punishment was given as Grosjean had taken out several competitors for the World Championship. However this appears to beg the question that had it been Hamilton, or another championship contender, who had caused the crash would they have been given a ban also. It cannot be denied that Grosjean’s apparent lack of experience could have caused a much worse outcome and resulted in severe injury to one of his fellow drivers. Nor can it be ignored that this is not the first time he has been involved in a lap one incident this season, however he seems to have taken a punishment for what could have happened rather than what actually did happen.

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