FIA Formula 2 CEO Bruno Michel says he can understand Sean Gelael‘s frustration and reaction to withdraw from all Silverstone races when he was handed a penalty hours before the start of the Feature race on Saturday.
The Indonesian driver was involved in an incident with Carlin‘s Louis Delétraz during the sole practice session at Silverstone. Gelael whilst on a hot lap attempted to pass Delétraz on the inside of Brooklands, but the two tagged each other, resulting in the Prema Racing driver breaking his suspension.
Initially, the stewards handed Gelael a reprimand but two penalty points were given. Gelael and Prema noticed the penalty points and protested to the race stewards over why Gelael was handed penalty points with a reprimand. Just hours before the race, the penalty was revised and Gelael was given a three-place grid drop. Gelael initially qualified eighteenth.
After the decision was made by the stewards, Gelael decided to withdraw from the races at Silverstone, with Prema citing ‘personal reasons relating to the first part of the weekend’. This left with Mick Schumacher representing the Italian team for the weekend.
Nineteen cars took the field in both races, with UNI-Virtuosi Racing‘s Luca Ghiotto and Campos Racing‘s Jack Aitken taking the honours over the weekend.
After the Silverstone weekend, F2 CEO Michel took to the FIA Formula 2 website in his post-race blog to discuss about Gelael and how he regrets that the race stewards handled the proceedings with his penalty.
“For the first time in the history of Formula 2, the starting grid was only made up of 19 cars following the decision of Sean Gelael to withdraw from the event on Saturday,” said Gelael.
“It’s never the promoter’s place to give an opinion on the Steward’s decisions. However, I can only regret the way Sean’s penalty was revised at the last minute just ahead of the Feature Race.
“I can fully understand Sean’s frustration and reaction. I can only hope that he will return to the grid to finish the season as he and his family have been an important part of this category for the past four years.”
It is unclear whether Gelael will return to the championship, or will call quits with the series after five years within the series.
Gelael pays a big role within Prema with his backing from Pertamina and his father running the KFC franchise in Indonesia, with majority of the names on the Prema livery coming from Gelael side of the garage. In 2019, The Indonesian driver has suffered a slow start to the season, placing himself sixteenth overall in the drivers’ championship.