Verstappen handed suspended race ban after clash

2015 Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen has been handed a suspended one-race ban for his part in the collision that eliminated himself and the Mücke Motorsport machine of Roy Nissany in the closing stages of the opening race of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship event at Imola.

The Dutchman had damaged the rear of his Van Amersfoort Racing machine earlier in the race as he jumped over the kerbs at the Tamburello chicane whilst battling with Jake Dennis.

A few laps later he was pushed into the gravel trap at the Rivazza corner by Italian Antonio Fuoco, a move that earned the Prema Powerteam driver a drive through penalty.

The collision with Nissany at the same corner saw the Dutchman’s left front wheel become damaged, and both he and the Israeli driver were forced to call it a day.

His team boss Fritz van Amersfoort thought the punishment handed out to his lead driver was unfair and uncalled for, and thought that the Dutchman was harshly dealt with on this occasion.

“I think it’s quite harsh on Max,” said van Amersfoort. “I understand that everybody is looking at Max and he has been involved in some incidents this year, but a lot were not his account.”

Verstappen’s retirement and the subsequent victory for Esteban Ocon means the Dutchman is 102 points behind the Frenchman in the championship with only 125 available, with another ten place penalty to come in race two for the engine change in Germany.