Two drivers are side-by-side down a straight at speeds pushing 150mph. Then one driver swerves across and pushes the other straight off the track.
Surely he was disqualified? Had his licence ripped up? Massive fine? Not in GP2 Asia, where a worrying lapse in stewarding has taken place.
The video above shows Rodolfo Gonzalez running off the track at Bahrain. As he returns to the track he deliberately cuts across from one side of the circuit to the other to push Sakon Yamamoto clean off the circuit. Yamamoto, inevitably, slows down and loses the position. Had Yamamoto not chosen to go off the track there likely would have been a very nasty collision.
Earlier on in the same race Sergio Perez tried the same move on Javier Villa:
Villa stood his ground and the two brushed wheels. These two were moments away from a huge shunt.
I cannot understand why race stewards allow such incredibly dangerous driving. Touring car drivers may be able to get away with deliberate contact because their cars’ wheels are enclosed. Doing the same in open-wheeled races can be lethal.
And when the FIA demands such incredibly high safety standards of circuits and cars, it is mystifying why they allow drivers to push each other off the track.
GP2 racers are supposed to be the Formula 1 drivers of tomorrow (although, in Yamamoto’s case, he’s a Formula 1 driver of yesterday). They and F1 drivers should be held to a much higher standard than this.
Everyone wants to see close, exciting racing. But allowing single seater racers to bang wheels and force each other off the track is dangerous and will end with someone getting hurt – or worse.