George Russell fires FIA demand as he makes ‘pretty damn serious’ claim

Pierre Gasly is just two penalty points away from becoming the first driver to receive a race ban under the penalty system.

Mercedes driver and GPDA director George Russell has called upon the FIA to “reconsider” the current penalty points system, with some drivers having received points during 2022 for things that didn’t really warrant a punishment.

The calls for the system to be changed come as a result of Pierre Gasly being just two points away from receiving a race ban, something a driver receives once they’ve accumulated 12 points over a 12-month period.

Astonishingly, the Alpine driver was awarded 10 points alone in the 2022 season, with the Frenchman not set to lose any until after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which takes place in May.

Each point remains on a driver’s licence for 12 months, starting from the date it was awarded.

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With that in mind, Gasly will need to drive impeccably to avoid further penalty points, with a race ban under the current system being incredibly likely.

The system itself was introduced in 2014, with things like causing a collision, exceeding track limits, and breaking regulations resulting in a penalty point or more being awarded.

Drivers have argued that exceeding track limits shouldn’t result in a penalty point, with a driver usually getting an in-race time penalty as a result.

Russell wants the FIA to “definitely review” the system, with Gasly not being a “dangerous or reckless driver”.

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“Conversations have been had and I think the FIA will definitely review the points system,” Russell told media, as quoted by

“If any driver was to receive a race ban, it needs to be for something pretty damn serious, and I definitely don’t put Pierre in the category of a dangerous or reckless driver.

“A number of his penalty points have been through non-dangerous driving [such as exceeding track limits or dropping too far behind the Safety Car queue], so it would be a shame to see him take a race ban.

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“Even if he were to get those 12 points, I think we need to reconsider it.”

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has suggested that the number of points needed to receive a race ban should be increased, with more races taking place nowadays than there were in 2014, when the rule was introduced.

This would make sense, especially given that when sprint races are added into the equation, 2023 will see 30 races, if a replacement for the Chinese Grand Prix is announced.