Don’t know if you saw the GP2 race here this afternoon. It made dramatic viewing, which can be a nuisance when you’re trying to write a story on deadline for a Sunday newspaper on the F1 qualifying that preceded the GP2 and these guys are racing like there is no tomorrow.
The open expanses of Spa produced some great moves but the most controversial one came at about 0.005mph in the pits. Bruno Senna, who had led from pole, made his mandatory stop for new tyres, the iSport team releasing him just as another driver, running further down the field, was coming by and heading for his pit. The cars almost touched but no one was impeded, the only potential hazard being for the crew in the adjoining pit
to iSport, who were forced to smartly step back.
The incident was very similar to the one in Valencia two weeks ago when Felipe Massa was released just as Adrian Sutil was coming by, in the fast lane, on his way to the exit.
The difference is that Massa was allowed by officials to continue on his way to victory whereas Senna was forced to take a drive-through. It cost Senna the lead and brought no points as he recovered from 24th to an eventual 12th place. It could also have cost the Brazilian the GP2 championship with three races (starting with the sprint tomorrow) to go.
There are various arguments currently doing the rounds of the media centre. Senna’s penalty was consistent with punishments delivered for similar offences during the Valencia GP2 race. On the other hand, FIA officials were in charge on each occasion and the Massa verdict raises questions of how a dodgy release can be worth a fine for the team in F1 but so unsafe in GP2 that the driver, merely doing as instructed, pays a high price.
You can argue that the junior drivers and their teams need to be kept in line whereas their experienced brothers are supposed to know what they’re doing. The unfortunate part for the FIA is that the Valencia incident involved Ferrari. Had Massa been penalised, it would have seriously compromised his championship. You can probably here the paddock muttering from wherever you are.
What do you think?