Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg has been handed a 10-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. The German was responsible for causing a start-line collision at Spa, resulting in Fernando Alonso‘s car being launched into the air.
Hulkenberg was the last of the late-brakers on the run to La Source. Unfortunately, he was a bit too late and went nose-first into the back of Alonso’s car. The latter was then thrown into the air and sailed over Charles Leclerc‘s Sauber. Alonso’s car glanced LeClerc’s Halo cockpit protection device in the process.
The FIA stewards called both drivers after the race to explain their side of the incident. They adjudged Hulkenberg as the guilty party and handed him a 10-place grid penalty. The 31-year old also had three penalty points on his FIA super license.
“The Stewards reviewed video evidence, heard from the driver of car 27 (Nico Hulkenberg) and the team representatives. The driver of car 27 stated that he completely misjudged the situation and freely admitted it was his mistake,” the stewards said.
“It should be noted that since 2014 the FIA has introduced the penalty points system which takes into account previous offences by a driver and can lead to a race suspension if 12 points are accumulated within a 12 month period. This system was not in force when an incident not dissimilar to this, occurred in 2012.”
The incident the stewards are referring to, is the one caused by then Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. At that time, the Frenchman was handed a 1-race ban and he missed the subsequent Italian GP in the process. Belgian driver Jerome D’Ambrosio took his place at Monza. Because of the accident in 2012, the penalty-point system came into force. The idea was to help police any misdemeanours caused by drivers.