Spa, Belgium – Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has been suspended for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix in Monza after race stewards determined he was responsible for causing a multi-car accident on the opening lap in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.
Formula One's governing body, the FIA, issued Grosjean a one-race ban and fined him $62,503 (50,000 Euros) for the incident.
Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton from McLaren made tire contact when Grosjean attempted to jump ahead of Hamilton at the start of the 44-lap Belgian GP. Hamilton then hit the rear of Grosjean, who sailed into Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. Sergio Perez from Sauber was also involved in the accident.
In it's decision to issue the penalties against Grosjean, the FIA said in a statement, "The stewards regard this incident as an extremely serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. 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."
Grosjean, who placed last in the Belgian GP, took blame for triggering the incident.
"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," Grosjean said. "That said, I do respect the verdict of the stewards."
There were no injuries. Alonso, though, appeared to be shaken up when he slowly climbed out of his damaged car. Grosjean, Alonso, Hamilton and Perez failed to complete one lap.
"This first corner situation obviously isn't what anyone would want to happen, and thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident," Grosjean added. "I wish to apologize 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."
Alonso came to Belgium with a 40-point lead. But Sebastian Vettel's second- place run allowed the Red Bull driver and two-time defending F1 world champion to move within 24 points of Alonso.
Jerome D'Ambrosio is Lotus' reserve driver and will likely substitute for Grosjean in the Italian GP.