Carlin’s Nobuhraru Matsushita will remain in the hospital after his FIA Formula 2 (F2) Championship hit in Sochi’s sprint race as Nikita Mazepin handed heavy penalty.

It was a horror start to Sochi’s sprint F2 racer when a forced off moment for Campos Racing’s Jack Aitken at Turn 2 had him collide with reverse grid pole-sitter and ART Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin.

The Russian then slid across to hit Matshushita, who rammed into the tyre barrier and bounced back into Mazepin. The race was red flagged and re-started after repairs, with only 15 laps being run.

UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Luca Ghiotto won from ART’s Nyck de Vries and Sauber Junior Team by Charouz’s Callum Ilott as Matshushita and Mazepin were taken to the hospital for precautionary measure.

While Mazepin was released, Honda junior Matsushita will remain in the Sochi Hospital – MBUZ for the doctors to run more tests on Monday. The initial CT Scan revealed no major injuries for the Japanese.

The statement from the FIA read:

“The FIA advises that an incident occurred during the opening lap of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint race today, 29/09/19, in Sochi, involving car #2, Nobuharu Matsushita and car #3, Nikita Mazepin.

“Both drivers were immediately attended to by emergency and medical crews. The driver of car #3 self-extricated, and the driver of car #2 was extricated by the attending medical crew.

“Both were conscious at all times and were taken to the medical centre before being transferred to Sochi Hospital – MBUZ by helicopter for precautionary checks.

“Nikita Mazepin has been declared fit following these checks. Scans for Nobuharu Matsushita revealed no injuries, however he will remain in the hospital overnight for another precautionary scan tomorrow.”

The driver himself shared his thoughts on Instagram: “Hi guys, I am okay!! Thank you for kind messages, luckily I have no serious injuries after big hit. I’ll have proper CT check again to make sure that all is fine.”

The stewards, meanwhile, have come down hard on Mazepin as they lay sole blame on the Russian for the incident. The explained that he forced Aitken off and failed to adhere to the said rules at Turn 2.

It led to the collision with Aitken, which turned violent as he collected Matsushita. The Russian has been handed a 15-place grid drop for 2019 finale’s feature race in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina circuit.

The statement from F2 stated:

“Nikita Mazepin has received a large number of grid drops following a collision in today’s Sprint Race at the Sochi Autodrom. The incident began when Louis Delétraz arrived at the entrance of Turn 2 at an excessively high speed and was unable to negotiate the corner.

“Subsequently, Mazepin forced Jack Aitken off the track. The Campos Racing driver successfully negotiated the Styrofoam blocks in the runoff area, as directed by the Race Director’s notes, but Mazepin did not follow the same path and instead took a short cut, which resulted in a collision with both Aitken and Nobuharu Matsushita.

“Both Mazepin and Matsushita retired, which brought out a red flag. The ART Grand Prix driver was found to be at fault for the accident because, in the opinion of the stewards, he showed a total lack of due care for his fellow drivers and caused a bad incident, which could have been much worse.  As a consequence, Mazepin has been handed a 15-place grid drop for the final round of the Formula 2 season, at Yas Marina.”