FIA expands on comparisons between Hulkenberg/Grosjean Spa crashes

FIA race director Charlie Whiting has elaborated why Nico Hulkenberg did not receive as harsh a penalty as Romain Grosjean was given after a similar incident at Spa six years ago

FIA expands on comparisons between Hulkenberg/Grosjean Spa crashes

Grosjean was handed a one-race ban after triggering the crash at La Source in the 2012 Belgian GP, while on Sunday Hulkenberg received a 10-place grid penalty for Monza.

However Grosjean had already been involved in a series of controversial incidents that season, which led the stewards to impose the ban from the Italian GP.

That in turn led the FIA to create a formal penalty points system so multiple indiscretions now automatically lead to a ban, although no driver has reached the limit of 12 points within a 12-month period since it was introduced.

The stewards were aware that comparisons would be made with Grosjean and took the unusual step of referencing the incident in the Hulkenberg decision.

"They looked back at the similar type of accident that was caused with Romain in 2012," said Whiting.

"The accident was in fact what gave rise to the penalty points system.

"[Sunday's crash] was clearly Nico's fault, he said he was completely to blame for it, and he took three, arguably four cars out, or destroyed their races.

"I think the points are exactly right, and the 10-place grid penalty is pretty much what he expected, he didn't say too much after it apparently.

"When you go back to the Grosjean accident and the accidents that preceded it the whole idea of the penalty points system - I think Grosjean had four different incidents - the idea was that if he'd had those accidents, and each had attracted three points, then we would be quite justified to ban him for a race.

"That was the way that it was made 12 points, so in the future if that sort of thing happened, that would be the result."

Meanwhile Valtteri Bottas received a five-second penalty and two points for rear ending Sergey Sirotkin on the first lap at La Source, which was the same penalty Sirotkin earned when he hit Sergio Perez in Azerbaijan.

Whiting acknowledged that it would have been considered a first lap racing incident if the Williams driver had braked suddenly and caught Bottas out.

"If something had been happening in front of Sirotkin, yes," he said.

"But it wasn't, and I think Valtteri said, 'Hands up, it was my fault', and it was almost a direct comparison to what Sirotkin did to Perez in Baku."

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