FIA Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael is set to return to the series for the next round at Budapest after withdrawing from the Silverstone Feature and Sprint races due to a late penalty decision against the Indonesian driver.
Hours before Saturday’s Feature race was due to start at Silverstone, the F2 race stewards handed Gelael a three-place grid drop for the race in relation to a Practice incident with Carlin‘s Louis Delétraz. Initially the stewards handed a reprimand to Gelael, but also granted him two penalty points.
During the opening minutes of practice, Gelael was on a hot lap and was attempting to pass Delétraz into Brooklands, going for the inside of the corner. But the Prema’s rear wheel collided with the Carlin’s front wing, resulting in Gelael suffering rear suspension damage and ending his session whilst Delétraz was able to resume running.
Gelael’s Prema Racing team protested to the race stewards over the two penalty points, stating in the regulations that a driver can’t be handed a reprimand alongside penalty points. This led to the race stewards re-opening the case and changing their decision hours before the first race was due to take place.
In response to the late decision, Gelael left the Silverstone circuit and withdrew from the round citing ‘personal reasons’ according to his team, leaving Mick Schumacher to race for Prema and have 19 cars competing over the weekend. F2’s CEO Bruno Michel said after the round that he regrets how the race stewards handled the situation with Gelael.
Gelael’s unexpected withdrawal from the weekend has led to questions whether the Indonesian driver will return to the series for the next round in Budapest at the Hungaroring, which takes place on the 2nd-4th August.
But during the short break between the two rounds, Gelael posted on his official Instagram account about saying ‘comeback is stronger than the setback’, indicating that he is set to make a return to the series.
The post grabbed the attention of his fellow F2 drivers with the likes of Nobuharu Matsushita and former Prema team-mate and current points leader Nyck de Vries commenting on the post and showing their delight on Gelael looking to come back.
Hungary will mark the last round of the 2019 Formula 2 Season before they enter the summer break and kick start the final four rounds consisting of Belgium, Italy, Russia and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Gelael currently lies sixteenth overall in the drivers’ championship, suffering a challenging start to his fifth year in Formula 2/GP2 Series.