Home Formula 3FIA F3 Championship Tsolov escapes with three-place grid drop for F3 practice incident

Tsolov escapes with three-place grid drop for F3 practice incident

by Formula Scout

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Nikola Tsolov escaped lightly after crashing into Alex Dunne in Formula 3 practice in Melbourne, receiving a three-place grid penalty and two points on his licence.

Alpine junior Tsolov appeared to steer towards Dunne after being impeded on a fast lap, sending his rival crashing into the barriers.

Stewards investigated the incident and heard from both drivers and seemed to acknowledge that Tsolov did swerve in retaliation, yet at the same time deemed his actions as “unintended”.

They said: “Car 25 [Tslov] stated that his lap was affected by car 9 [Dunne] and he wanted the driver to be aware of his presence and that he was being impeded.

“Car 25 deviated from his normal racing line to drive close to car 9 to highlight his presence. He unfortunately misjudged this action and collided with car 9.

“Having considered the matter extensively, the stewards determined the actions of car 25, while unintended, caused the collision that was completely avoidable. The stewards, therefore, impose a grid drop in accordance with previous precedents.”

Tsolov went on to finish sixth in qualifying and is set to start Sunday’s feature race from that position, as his penalty applies to the sprint race where it moves him from sixth to ninth on the reversed grid.

Dunne admitted to and apologised for not checking his mirrors to see cars approaching from behind and stewards handed him a reprimand, declaring that in their opinion, this lapse contributed to the subsequent contact.

“The stewards also felt the actions of car 9 led to the following collision and retirement of his car. As such, the stewards deem it necessary to elevate the penalty for this particular infringement to a reprimand,” stated the decision.

The top three qualifiers were asked about the incident and stewards’ decision afterwards in the press conference but were generally reluctant to comment.

Polesitter Leonardo Fornaroli said: “I don’t want to put the finger on Nikola. I don’t really know what to say, I don’t want to put myself in a bad position. Of course, what he did is not very good, it’s not ideal but I don’t want to judge this.”