Pierre Gasly experienced strings of both luck and unluck at the Australian Grand Prix with the Frenchman missing out on a possible fifth-place finish but avoiding a race suspension for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Alpine driver had been having a fantastic race as he was part of a pack of frontrunners including Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, and himself up until the penultimate lap at Albert Park Circuit.
Gasly displayed excellent speed and appeared to follow Sainz with ease, indicating that Alpine does, in fact, have a reliable car for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
But, his race took a dramatic turn when Kevin Magnussen crashed on the exit of Turn Two, bringing out the red flag with three laps to go. The decision was made to conclude the race with a two-lap sprint, so the remaining racers lined up for a standing start.
Gasly started in fifth place and made a solid getaway, but he got stuck at Turn One and had to go over the grass to rejoin the track. He subsequently made contact with teammate Esteban Ocon after rejoining the track, putting both of them into the barriers at Turn Two.
A violent crash between both drivers and the wall resulted in a double Alpine DNF.
Sainz tagged Alonso at the same time, sending the Aston Martin driver spinning, and the Ferrari driver was handed a five-second time penalty as a result.
To the surprise of the F1 paddock, Gasly was strangely given no penalty for colliding with Ocon. He was anticipated to receive two points for triggering the collision, which would have resulted in his expulsion from Azerbaijan at the end of the month.
The incident confused many fans, including F1 content creator Matt Gallagher, who posted about it on social media.
“Gasly & Ocon collision = No penalty,” Gallagher wrote on social media.
“Sainz & Alonso collision = Penalty.
“Make it make sense????”
Many fans who spoke in support of Gallagher felt that the FIA didn’t want to give Gasly a penalty in order to prevent him from receiving 12 penalty points, which would have resulted in a race suspension.
“The comments make me worry how few people get the concept of ‘safe rejoin’.”
“Gasly was off the racing surface, he’s not entitled to slot back in wherever he wants, and yet he goes from the green on the left to the racing line on the right in nothing flat (while looking left),” @KiryDraws wrote.
Several others also think Alpine persuaded the FIA to forgo imposing a punishment because the incident solely involved the Enstone-based team.
“Seems to me the the FIA dont tend to step in if its 2 teammates if both go out the race,” @AZ_MAN_101 wrote. “They leave it to the team.”
“Which i think its fair. If 1 stays in the race then id expect the FIA to also step in.”