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Jules Bianchi handed Monaco grid penalty

25 May 2011

Jules Bianchi will have to overcome a five place starting grid penalty at Monaco, after having been found to have caused a collision with Giedo van der Garde at the start of the Barcelona sprint race last weekend.

Bianchi had got a poor start when the lights went out, leaving him running alongside Dani Clos to the first corner. Barwa Addax's Giedo van der Garde, who had come second in the feature race the previous day, got an even faster start from the fourth row of the grid and tried to follow Clos past Bianchi, but the Lotus ART driver jinked left to deter him. The first time saw the two cars butt wheels, and van der Garde duly fell back; Bianchi then did it a second time and ended up being spun into the wall himself by the contact, collecting van der Garde in the process.

A safety car was required while Bianchi was extricated from his car and strapped into a stretcher while given oxygen, and he was taken to hospital as a recautionary measure but found to have suffered only slight bruising to his rib cage, and he would be fine to drive in this week's round in Monaco.

Because Bianchi was in hospital, the incident couldn't be reviewed at the time in Barcelona. But now Bianchi has been found to have caused an avoidable accident and handed the five-place grid penalty for the feature race.

As with the F1 schedule, the GP2 timetable is revised at Monaco. The practice and qualifying sessions will take place on the Thursday instead, with practice to be held between 12-12.30pm local time (11-11.30am BST), while qualifying will be held from 4.15-4.45pm (3.15-3.45pm BST.)

The feature race start is scheduled for 11.15am (10.15am BST) on the Friday, with the sprint race being held after F1 qualifying on Saturday at 4.10pm (3.10pm BST).

The adjustments to the usual GP2 pattern are to ensure that no crash in the support race affects the timing of the F1 sessions, since a crash damaging a barrier at Monaco can lead to lengthy delays.

Pirelli have announced that they will be providing teams with the supersoft compound tyres for the one and only time during the GP2 season.

"Monaco will be the only GP2 round where we will bring our supersoft compound tyres because we do not expect to encounter significant levels of tyre degradation," said Mario Isola, Pirelli's Racing Manager. "Being a street circuit, Monaco is slow in terms of average speed but it will still be a very challenging and special experience for our young drivers, who will have to contend with its twisty layout and slippery surfaces."

Barwa Addax's Giedo van der Garde and iSport's Sam Bird go into this week's Round 3 at Monaco as joint leaders of the 2011 championship.


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