Romain Grosjean has been hit with a 10-place grid penalty for the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time after causing an accident in today’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Lotus driver was catching Daniel Ricciardo, but an over-zealous move on the exit of the tunnel saw him crash into the rear of the Toro Rosso. Ricciardo was forced to pull over onto the slip road and retire from the race, whilst Grosjean eventually returned to the pits and did not re-emerge.
The accident brought out the safety car for a third time during the race, and it was the Frenchman’s third incident of the weekend, causing many to question his ability, especially following his one-race ban last season.
Grosjean was called before the stewards after the race where it was decided that he would be relegated ten places on the grid from his qualifying position at next month’s Canadian Grand Prix. This incident will only give Grosjean’s critics ammunition with which to berate the former GP2 champion, but he will be hoping to bounce back from the incident as quickly as possible.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.