After practice, Friday’s qualifying took a challenging turn, the drivers were divided into two groups, with only the top 12 of each group eligible to take the start in both races. Franco and MP Motorsport did a fantastic job to set the fourth fastest lap overall.
Unbelievably, the result was short-lived, after the organisers/stewards found the #43 MP Motorsport car non-compliant to the technical regulations in the post-Qualifying scrutineering. They checked the steering rack in parc fermé and found that the two small spacers which were both installed on the car, were the wrong way round, giving no performance advantage to Colapinto or MP Motorsport.
The Argentinean was hit with a harsh penalty and had all his qualifying laps deleted. Because of the format of the Monaco weekend, this means that Franco will be excluded from one of the races and would have to start dead last in the other race. A penalty which is not only harsh on a driver that has done nothing wrong but also on his team, who have made an honest mistake with no performance advantage.
Since the next round of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine is only a week away, Colapinto and his team decided to withdraw from Race 1, to prevent any serious damage on the car, which is almost inevitable when starting from P28 in the narrow streets of Monaco.
Franco Colapinto: “I am devastated for not being able to race here in Monaco. I’ve been looking forward to this race, and I enjoyed driving on the track even though our time was very limited. The car felt great over the entire weekend and we had a strong qualifying which gave us high hopes for the races, but unfortunately, I won’t get the chance to prove myself on this circuit and I feel really sorry for my backers from MP and ROFGO. This was a special weekend for ROFGO because of the livery of my car being in Gulf Oil International’s iconic colours. I am now focusing on the next challenges ahead in Paul Ricard with my team.”
Sander Dorsman (MP Motorsport): “In life, sometimes things don’t go your way but, what happened today is a disgrace. We feel devastated for Franco because he has done a good job so far this weekend. He has been working well with the team and progressing forward with every session. To be excluded from not only one race, but also sent to the back of the grid for the other race, really is a tough pill to swallow. The scrutineers and stewards of the FRECA championship should feel awful from penalising a driver in such a way on one of the most important weekends of Franco´s career. The decision to withdraw has not been taken lightly but it is clear with no way of appealing the decision of the stewards, that we will not take the risk of starting one race from last with no options to overtake in Monaco and the opportunity for taking any points.”