Szafnauer: Not right to attribute blame in Ocon-Gasly incident

The Alpines crashes into each other at Albert Park

The Alpines crashes into each other at Albert Park

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer is refusing to attribute blame over his drivers’ crash in a chaotic conclusion to the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon were the biggest casualties in the madness which unfolded off the third standing start of the afternoon at Albert Park, when they crunched into each other and the barriers at the exit of Turn 2.

Gasly had been slithered off the circuit when he outbraked himself at Turn 1, an error also made by Sergio Perez, although the Frenchman’s mistake had dire consequences for the Alpines.

Ocon said he had “no hard feelings” over the crash, and nor did Szafnauer, apparently.

“It’s a shame that they came together,” said the Anglo-French outfit’s Team Principal.

“As far as trying to blame one or the other, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do; I think the right thing to do is learn from it.

“There’s so much chaos there and you’ve got to make quick decisions.

“If you look at the onboard and the replay, [Yuki] Tsunoda gets through, Esteban tries to follow him, [and] you don’t know where Pierre’s going to go, and Pierre doesn’t know who’s there.

“He’s just trying to get onto the racing line, so it’s not like he’s looking in the mirror, seeing somebody, and saying, ‘Well, I’m going to block him.’

“He’s looking the other way, getting on the racing line, thinking no one’s there.”

Gasly currently has 10 penalty points on his Super Licence, with both of the Alpine drivers summoned to stewards over the incident.

An outcome is as yet unknown, although Szafnauer says he is not concerned about the prospect of his new driver having to sit out a race.

“No, I’m not afraid because it was truly a racing incident,” he declared.

“That’s why I say you know, who’s to blame when something like that [happens]?

“In hindsight, you look back at it, you say, ‘Yeah, great, shouldn’t crash,’ but there are times where you can’t avoid it.

“Things happen in front of you where you have a decision of ‘I either run into this, run into this, or run into that,’ because we can’t avoid it.”

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