Motorsport is dangerous. These words are printed on the back of every race ticket. They are written on every credential I’ve ever held as a journalist and broadcaster.
The possibility of a large, potentially life threatening accident is an ever present reality in motor racing. Perhaps that’s what gives the sport its edge. Perhaps that’s what makes these racers so heroic. Perhaps that’s why some people watch.
Every weekend I arrive at the track and go into the commentary box knowing that at any point any one of these brilliantly talented men and women, whose stories and racing exploits it is my honour to narrate, may be taken from us. But because of the actions of one man, that possibility becomes ever more real. That fear of the unlikely becomes increasingly likely. The concept of “if” is replaced by the knowledge of “when.”
For more than two years, Sergio Canamasas has raced in the GP2 Series without an apparent care or consideration for the morality or regulation of the sport in which he is engaged and with a seeming disregard for his own safety and that of those with whom he shares a track. He is irresponsible. He is reckless. And he should not be racing.
His actions over the past two weekends in Spa and Monza have seen a return of the driver who cast himself into the role of arch villain in his first season and a half in the championship. He has been kicked out of qualifying sessions for using his car as a weapon. He has driven competitors off track and pushed them into walls at 200mph. He has been disqualified and then ignored his removal from competition. He offends time and again. He does not change. He does not learn.
When it was announced that he would be lining up alongside Johnny Cecotto at Trident this season, many (including this author) predicted disaster. Cecotto, much as Canamasas, had marked himself out as a liability in the 2013 season. But Trident had an ace up their sleeve, and in their new team-manager Giacomo Ricci, himself a GP2 race winner, they have found a man who has played a tremendous role in turning the fast but erratic Cecotto into a complete and rounded racer. Gone is the temper, gone the propensity towards stupidity, replaced by an inner calm which has been at the root of one of the most impressive racers of the season.
But for all of Ricci’s achievements with Cecotto, he has been unable to turn the tide with Canamasas.
GP2 implemented penalty points this season. They have been handed out reluctantly and ineffectively. Canamasas received his first points of the season in Monza… two on Saturday and five for his idiocy on Sunday. He sits a further five from a race ban, but he should not be given the opportunity to amass any more.
Sergio Canamasas displayed to the world on Sunday in Monza that he should not be allowed on a race track. At all. His blatant disregard for track limits, his appalling awareness of his own actions and his utter incomprehension of their consequences resulted in multiple accidents, retirements and his eventual disqualification.
But, having been disqualified from the race itself, it seems the GP2 stewards once again will fail to act accordingly and hand down the race suspension that his so called racecraft requires.
The most dangerous aspect of this young man is not just that he does not learn from his mistakes and his reprehensible actions. It is that he fails to comprehend what he has done wrong. He genuinely believes that it is those around him that are at fault and that he is the innocent party. Far from failing to grasp the reality of his own inadequacies as a racer, he believes that he is of a higher level than those whose lives he places at constant risk.
It has reached a point where, unless the GP2 stewards take decisive action against him, I question for how much longer I will be involved in any capacity with a championship into which I have invested my heart and soul for over a decade. I do not wish to watch on and commentate the death of a racing driver. And for as long as Sergio Canamasas takes the start of a motor race, I fear that I will have to.
The men with whom he shares a track feel the same.
Many have taken to social media to express their upset with him after Monza. Behind the scenes, more still are discussing the possibility of filing a petition, signed by every driver of the GP2 Series, which they will hand to Charlie Whiting in Sochi detailing their insistence that they will not drive for as long as he is permitted on track.
The time has come. Enough is enough.