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Grosjean banned from Monza race

NEWS STORY
02/09/2012

Romain Grosjean has been banned from next weekend's Italian Grand Prix after stewards at Spa adjudged him as being the sole cause of the accident at the start of today's race.

Around two hours after the end of the race, which saw Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber close the gap on world championship leader Fernando Alonso, who was eliminated in the accident, the stewards gave their ruling.

"The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others," read their statement. "It eliminated leading championship contenders from the race.

"The stewards note the team conceded the action of the driver was an extremely serious mistake and an error of judgement. Neither the team nor the driver made any submission in mitigation of penalty."

In the accident, Grosjean, who this season has earned a reputation following a string of early race incidents, caused a chain of events that saw Alonso, Hamilton and Sergio Perez eliminated in one fell swoop. With both Grosjean's Lotus and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren leaving the ground, one hitting Alonso from behind and the other going over the top of the Spaniard it was a nightmare scenario and an incident from which the Ferrari driver was lucky to escape unscathed.

"When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through," said Grosjean. "That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards.

"I got a good start," he added, "despite being disturbed by Pastor's early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front, and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis. I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars; I didn't deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn't what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident.

"I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver."

Though Grosjean, who was also fined 50,000 euros, is banned from next weekend's race Lotus can nominate a replacement driver, the most likely move being to draft in reserve driver Jerome d'Ambrosio.

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