Dino Zamparelli has been suspended from the second Monza GP3 race for triggering the race one pileup that took out his title-chasing teammate Tio Ellinas.
The two Marussia-affiliated Manor cars collided when Zamparelli, who had qualified 11th, slewed across the grass approaching the first chicane at the start and collected his team-mate, who started third.
The chain reaction chaos that ensued delayed several other cars, with Carlos Sainz Jr. spun to the back and both Conor Daly and Robert Visoiu forced to retire.
Monza stewards ruled that Zamparelli “made a serious breach of the regulations which had the potential to cause injury to others. Stewards had evidence Zamparelli had left the track deliberately and rejoined the track, colliding with another three cars.”
Zamparelli issued a statement via his Twitter feed on Saturday night to apologize for the incident.
“I’m very sorry for what happen today,” he wrote. “We make split[-second] decisions, I made mine. I tried with all my might to get the thing slowed down but it wasn’t enough.
“I’m sorry to my whole team, Daly, Visoiu and anyone else whose race I ended. It’s never the way I’ve driven and won’t be again.
“A costly mistake but one I will learn from and that’s the way racing goes sometimes.”
The Monza incident means long-time series leader Ellinas (pictured) has only scored in one of the last five races. He has now fallen to fifth in the standings, 35 points behind leader Facu Regalia and also trailing Daniil Kvyat, Daly and Kevin Korjus with three rounds left.
Ellinas will start Sunday morning’s race from 25th on the grid.
Carlin driver Luis Sa Silva was also given a post-race punishment, with a five-place grid demotion for Sunday following a collision with Ryan Cullen in the third Manor car.