The Trident Formula 2 Championship team has fired Santino Ferrucci, barely a week after the American driver was issued a four-race ban for deliberately crashing into his teammate Arjun Maini at the end of the Sprint Race at Silverstone.
Ferrucci, who along with Maini is also contracted as a junior driver with the Haas F1 Team, was banned from the upcoming Hungary and Belgium rounds of the Formula 2 season, after driving into the left-rear of Maini’s car on the cool-down lap back to the pits.
The pair had clashed earlier in Saturday’s Feature Race and Sunday’s Sprint Race, with Ferrucci found guilty of forcing Maini off-track in both instances.
“Trident Motorsport informs to have communicated to Santino Ferrucci and to its guarantor, a company represented by Mr. Michael Ferrucci, the termination of the contract with the Team,” a statement from the Italian squad reads, which also claimed that he had defaulted on payments to the team.
“This decision was motivated by the events – which are now of public domain – occurred at Silverstone, as well as by the serious breach of driver’s payment obligations. Since the beginning of the championship, the driver justified its payment default with alleged failure by his sponsors to fulfil their obligations.”
Punishments in the form of multiple race bands are extremely rare in motorsport, but serve to show the severity that his misconduct is being viewed by both motorsport officials and his former employer.
Over 24 hours passed after the incident before Ferrucci issued a public apology. He blamed a “horrific year” for his “mental lapse”.
“I have no excuse other than the fact I am a 20-year-old Italian American with a deep passion for motorsport, which is a very emotional sport. While there has been much provocation leading to my mental lapse, it is still not an excuse and I will make sure that this does not happen again,” he explained in a lengthy statement posted to his Twitter feed.
There were further plot twists to this surprising story that emerged in the days after his suspension was announced.
One such story was that Ferrucci’s camp had asked for the ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan – made infamous by American President Donald Trump – be adorned on his race car during the round at Silverstone.
Another are allegations – which no one is prepared to put on the record – that he and his family racially abused Maini and other drivers on the Formula 2 grid.
Weirder still is the silence of the Haas F1 Team, for whom Ferrucci has driven in a number of in-season test sessions, which is yet to take a public stance on his misconduct.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship