Sep.4 (GMM/ The F1 fraternity has backed the governing FIA after Romain Grosjean was banned from contesting this weekend’s Italian grand prix.

On the face of it, the race suspension for a first-corner crash may seem harsh, especially as the last driver to be banned was Michael Schumacher in 1994.

But Frenchman Grosjean has been involved in seven similar incidents in the 12 races of his return to F1 so far.

And Sunday’s crash at Spa could have left Fernando Alonso – whose hands and head were only narrowly missed by Grosjean’s flying Lotus – seriously injured.

“It’s better to punish him before someone gets hurt,” Australian Mark Webber is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari agrees.

“The ban looks fair,” he said in his BBC column. “Obviously it is a hard decision but we are dealing with safety.”

Alguersuari acknowledged the rumour the FIA came down hard on Grosjean to make “an example” of him.

“I don’t know about that, but all I would say is that we have to be serious when we talk about these things and we should be proud of the FIA for doing such a good job on improving safety,” said the official Pirelli test driver.

But another former driver turned commentator, veteran David Coulthard, admitted he “felt a little sorry for Romain” when he heard about the ban.

“I think the stewards must have taken into account all the other opening-lap incidents he has been involved in this year and decided enough was enough,” he wrote in the Telegraph.

“If that’s the case then fair enough. Romain is a good driver, a popular driver, and hopefully he will come back a better one.”