Gelael: Withdrawing from Silverstone "a matter of principle"

Sean Gelael says his decision to withdraw from the Silverstone Formula 2 weekend was “a matter of principle” after receiving a penalty following an incident in practice.

Gelael: Withdrawing from Silverstone "a matter of principle"

Gelael collided with Louis Deletraz at Brooklands in practice on Friday, the latter on an out-lap and moving slowly with two wheels on the racing line. Gelael dived up the inside but hit Deletraz.

 

Gelael qualified 18th, but was eventually given a three-place grid drop just hours before the feature race was due to start, and the Prema driver elected not to take to the track. 

The F2 stewards have come in for criticism from teams and drivers in 2019, especially in Monaco where they did not re-order the grid correctly in the pitlane under a red flag, Gelael being one of the drivers robbed at a chance of victory because of that mistake.

“The four years in F2 a lot of things have happened, especially this year, that are out of my control and extreme," Gelael told Motorsport.com. “For example, what happened in Monaco. It’s not consistent. 

“I think it’s a matter of principle. If it was seen as a protest [Gelael not racing], I would not disagree. But for me it’s a lot of things, you can’t be so inconsistent in making decisions. 

“When they told me the decision I was shocked and had no words to say. It wasn’t just a protest, it was really where I draw the line in terms of how the things are handled in the championship and the stewards.

“They gave me a reprimand and two penalty points. My thought was ‘you can’t blame someone who is not wrong’. 

“We tried to appeal, and we found in the rule book that if you give a reprimand you can’t also give penalty points. 

“In the morning Guillaume [Capietto], the team manager, went to talk to the stewards. We said ‘we don’t agree with this, but if you give us the reprimand, we at least don’t want the penalty points’ as it was unnecessary. Apparently they just came back with the three-place grid penalty.”

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Deletraz and Gelael spoke after the incident, and despite being the driver who was hit, Deletraz said Gelael wasn’t fully to blame. 

Deletraz told Motorsport.com: “I have to agree that the penalty was quite harsh on him. 

"I don’t think I was to blame, but I don’t think he was to blame either. For me it was a racing incident and it’s something we both could have avoided.”

After withdrawing at Silverstone, Gelael told Motorsport.com he will take this week to consider his future. 

“Moving forward we’ll take a couple of days to calm our heads and regroup,” he added. “It’s a decision between me and the team and my close group to see what the future holds. 

“I think, not racing is influenced by a lot of things happening around me. It takes the fun out of everything, it takes the heart out of racing and if your heart isn’t in it, what is the point at all?”

The FIA declined to comment on Gelael's words.

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