Ban and Penalty To Follow GP2 To Austria
ART Grand Prix’s Nobuharu Matsushita will miss the next round of the GP2 Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria after being given a one-round ban for his behavior under the safety car in the sprint race in Baku.
The Japanese driver, who had won the previous sprint race in Monaco, had been preparing to lead the race on lap 12 of 21 as the safety car was coming into the pits at the end of lap 11.
As the focus turned to Matsushita, who was now the de facto safety car getting ready to race after the cars cross the safety car line where the first overtaking maneuvers can be made and the track becomes green again, the stewards believe that he was accelerating and braking and then chaos ensued behind him.
Some drivers slowed and others carried on as chaos broke out over the start-finish line with Rapax’s Gustav Malja losing his front wing, Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing’s Mitch Evans then running over it and causing an explosion of debris to go flying across the start-finish straight, ART’s Sergey Sirotkin damage his nosecone and the other Jagonya Ayam Campos Racing’s Sean Gelael retire from the race.
Matsushita was later to retire himself in an incident on lap 14, on the next safety car restart, where he made contact with Russian Time’s Raffaele Marciello. The Japanese driver should return to the series at Silverstone in the UK for the fifth round of the 2016 calendar.
There was one other minor decision made by the stewards as a result of actions in the race. Arden International’s Jimmy Eriksson will be given a three-place grid penalty after qualifying in Austria due to an incident with Racing Engineering’s Jordan King. The two came together at Turn 1 to provoke the first Safety Car period on Lap 11 of the race.
It means that there will be a small amount of math to do before racing gets underway in Spielberg.
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