Otmar Szafnauer believes the collision between Alpine Formula 1 teammates Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon was a "racing incident" as he dismissed concerns about Gasly and a potential race ban.
On Lap 57 after the red flag restart, Gasly went wide at Turn 1, through the grass and rejoined the track as Ocon tried a move around the outside.
Not knowing he was there, Gasly collided with Ocon, with both cars sustaining heavy impact damage and retiring on the spot.
The two were summoned to the stewards, with Gasly on 10 penalty points and nearing the 12-point threshold required for an automatic ban.
However, when asked about the possibility of his new driver being forced to sit out in the next race, Szafnauer was confident that it would not happen.
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Szafnauer addresses Gasly ban
"No, I'm not afraid because it was truly a racing incident," Szafnauer explained to media, including RacingNews365, in Melbourne when asked about Gasly and the race ban threat.
"That's why I say: 'Who's to blame in something like that?' and in hindsight, you look back at it, you say: 'Yeah, great, you shouldn't crash.'
"But there are times where you can't avoid it if things happen in front of you, where you have a decision of either run into this or run into that, because you can't avoid that.
"If you look at it from what happens, there's cars, so Pierre rejoins and can't accelerate, and has got grass on his on his rear tyres, so the acceleration isn't as much as the acceleration to those behind him.
"He's got one car that goes past on the right, another one that's trying to go past on the right, and another one that's going past on the left.
"So whatever you do, you're going to hit somebody.
"And, you know, when they're trying to overtake you, if the guys behind lifts and allow you to accelerate, you have no issues. But unfortunately, they didn't lift."
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