The FIA has decided that Sebastian Vettel’s behaviour at the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix warranted no additional penalty after a Paris meeting with Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene and Vettel.
During the race, the incident was reviewed by stewards and Vettel was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for driving his car into Lewis Hamilton’s leading Mercedes behind the Safety Car.
The drivers’ championship leader was also given three additional penalty points on his FIA Superlicence, taking his total to nine. Since the licence system has been implemented, no driver has faced a ban.
Daniil Kvyat has had 12 non-concurrent points and Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen have both been on eight points at times. Sergio Perez has incurred points in four seasons without risking a race ban.
On Tuesday, FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting (photographed below with Vettel in Bahrain), Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker, General Secretary for Sport Peter Bayer, and Deputy Race Director/Safety Director Laurent Mekies met with Vettel and Arrivabene at the FIA’s Paris headquarters, having released a statement this evening.
The statement read: “Following detailed discussion and further examination of video and data evidence related to the incident, Sebastian Vettel admitted full responsibility.
“Sebastian Vettel extended his sincere apologies to the FIA and the wider motor sport family. He additionally committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events, including in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, at an FIA Formula 4 Championship to be defined and at the FIA Stewards’ seminar.
“Due to this incident, President Jean Todt instructed that no road safety activities should be endorsed by Sebastian Vettel until the end of this year.
“The FIA notes this commitment, the personal apology made by Sebastian Vettel and his pledge to make that apology public. The FIA also notes that Scuderia Ferrari is aligned with the values and objectives of the FIA.
“In light of these developments, FIA President Jean Todt decided that on this occasion the matter should be closed.”
Vettel’s penalties at the Azerbaijan GP will therefore be the only ones he bears for swerving into Hamilton, over whom he has a 14-point lead in the drivers’ championship standings heading into the Austrian GP this weekend. The German four-time F1 champion is expected to make a public apology.
“Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare,” said FIA President Jean Todt.
“However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with that pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport but which befits the elevated status they enjoy.
“Sportsmen must be cognisant of the impact their behaviour can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models and to millions of fans worldwide and must conduct themselves accordingly.”
The FIA statement continued, “However, while respecting the Stewards’ decision, the FIA remained deeply concerned by the wider implications of the incident, firstly through the impact such behaviour may have on fans and young competitors worldwide and secondly due to the damage such behaviour may cause to the FIA’s image and reputation of the sport.”
Have your say on the FIA’s verdict on Vettel ahead of the Austrian GP on July 7-9 in the comment section.