• Belgian Grand Prix

Grosjean accepts penalty and apologises

ESPN Staff
September 2, 2012 « Hulkenberg dreamt of podium | Massa wants to build on performance »
Romain Grosjean became airborne in the accident © Sutton Images

Romain Grosjean has accepted his one race suspension for causing a first corner accident at the Belgium Grand Prix and apologised.

Grosjean will not be allowed to compete at next weekend's Italian Grand Prix after triggering an accident that took out four drivers and saw his Lotus fly perilously close to Fernando Alonso's head. The stewards decided to suspend Grosjean for the next race, and while he said he did not intend to cause the accident, the Lotus driver accepted his punishment and apologised.

"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," he said. "That said, I do respect the verdict of the stewards. I got a good start - despite being disturbed by Pastor [Maldonado's] early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front - and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton]'s. I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars; I didn't deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that.

"This first corner situation obviously isn't what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident. I wish to apologise 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."

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said Lotus would not appeal the decision and would announce Grosjean's replacement over the next few days.

"It's been a tough day for the team but we fully respect the Stewards' decision. Romain won't be driving at Monza but he still has our full support. We'll announce the name of his replacement a bit later in the week."

Jerome d'Ambrosio is Lotus' test driver and last raced for Marussia at the final round of last year.