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GP2 Monaco 2013: Cecotto banned for Monaco sprint race

24 May 2013

Race stewards in Monaco have handed Arden driver Johnny Cecotto Jr. a one-race ban for his part in causing the turn 1 accident in Friday morning's GP2 sprint race.

That means the Venezuelan will sit out Saturday's sprint race in in the principality, which will see at most 25 cars start the afternoon race that follows the F1 Grand Prix qualifying session.

Other cars might also miss out on starting Saturday's race as a result of damage sustained in the disastrous start to the 42-lap GP2 race 1, which had already been delayed by a quarter of an hour while stewards worked to repairs damage to barriers and clear up spilled fluids at Massenet from an earlier support race.

When the lights went out for the start of the GP2 feature race, polesitter Cecotto suffered from wheelspin and came off second-best to his Arden team mate Mitch Evans who took the lead into Ste Devote.

Cecotto attempted to hold the inside line through the chicane in a side-by-side battle with Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer, only to lose control and plunge into the outside Armco barrier. Leimer's path was closed off and he ran into the side of the Arden as a result.

"The start was very, very good and I immediately overtook Bird and was ahead of Cecotto," said Leimer afterwards. "He tried to get by me in turn 1 and by doing so he only concentrated on me and not on the upcoming corner at all.

"He braked way too late, blocked me and put me into the barriers," Leimer continued. "It's really, really disappointing as a lot was possible today and I could have scored a lot of points, but once more due to another driver I lost out, while my competitors in the battle for the championship are scoring."

Russian Time's Sam Bird managed to pick his way through the incident but behind him Jolyon Palmer spun, blocking the remaining path to the majority of the chasing pack who were left piling into one another. 15 cars in total ended up parked at turn 1 as a result, with nine suffering damage to the point where they were unable to take the restart after a 40-minute red flag stoppage.

Bird went on to win the race ahead of Trident's Kevin Ceccon and Cecotto's team mate Evans at the line.

A post-race stewards meeting then handed the 23-year-old Cecotto, the son of former racing driver and motorcycle world champion Johnny Cecotto, a one-race ban for causing the multi-car accident. If his car has been repairable before tomorrow's race, Cecotto had been due to start from 18th place on the sprint grid.

Cecotto had been criticised by many spectators and commentators after seemingly swerving into EQ8 Caterham's Sergio Canamasas at the previous race in Barcelona, but the race stewards had found him to not be at fault for that incident and instead penalised Barwa Addax's Rio Haryanto.


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