No further action over Sebastian Vettel’s heated Azerbaijan F1 clash with Lewis Hamilton
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Editor   |  03 Jul 2017   |  10:10 pm GMT  |  643 comments

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.

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Yeah – Move on !

Hilarious all the attention such 35 mph rubber to rubber bump has gotten, despite both cars moved on without a scratch.


Lewis obviously thinks his driving offence on a public road in Melbourne was a good example ? a public road I emphasise not a race track ? Short term memory from this brat


No surprise here. The F in FIA stands for Ferrari. Vettel should be banned for at least one race, perhaps the rest of the season.


Did anyone really think FIA had the balls to stand up to Ferrari and Vettel?


I was hoping that they would proceed with no thought for those involved, or their positions in the championships, and just adjudicate the matter based solely on its merits. I still hope that will happen in F1 someday.


It would have been easier to do a harder penalty if Mercedes wouldn’t had this head rest affair: unsafe release and unsafe driving which was not investigated but probably would have resulted in penalties.
A head rest isn’t a part of the car which is unimportant for safety. And in difference to a normal pit stop where you can’t flame the driver for a mistake of a mechanic at mounting a wheel… it was a red flag and the driver had enough time to
check it.


30s and 3 points on his license. Sounds fair enough to me since Hamilton’s race wasn’t affected by this incident. Its just a disciplinary warning. Time to move on


He has got a way harder hidden penalty. Most F1 people are British. Given that none of the pro British stewards will be a fair judge in future if Seb is affected… this may be like thousands of lost points in future.
If Seb will be released with a not fixed head rest he will get a 30s and 3 grid penalty.
If Seb will try to repair a car one handed he will get a 30s penalty.
If Seb says anything on the radio Stewards will check if any of the used words is an insult in any of the thousands languages on the planet.
Ferrari will have to paint their cars green or follow a speed limit of 10km/h for safety reasons because fast moving red colours may cause epileptic attacks.
Oh yes, the stewards will be creative…


How very un-empiracle!


What garbage!


Read some scientific papers about decisions of referees. Even if they try to be neutral, their subconscious minds hinder them.
If a soccer player has the bad rumour to be a diver he often doesn’t get a free kick even if it is a real foul. The senses of humans can be fooled, the data processing in the brain let them see what they expected to see.
At ski jumping there was a jumper whose jumps were used in a training video for judges. Watching his jumps 10 years back it was obvious that he got in average 0,9 points (of 20) less for the same jump done by others because the judges expected mistakes and looked for them while overlooking -because not expecting them- at others.
My examples may be extreme, but there will be some 50:50 situations where the balance will slightly shift to 51:49 against Seb.


I can buy some of that. Of course, in F1, there will be 4 stewards deliberating on any incident. Unless all stewards are subconsciously biased in the same direction, they would usually work to cancel out each other.

Vettel still has a part to play in any subconscious biases that build up … if he doesn’t provide any flashpoints, like the incident in Baku, then there is no impetus to build up further biases.


How about s more detailed look at the telemetry from just prior to the point of impact? Lewis’ red line drops down as his speed reduces, but crucially then flattens out meaning constant speed. There is very small reduction, but this equates to between one and two kph going by the scale on the y axis, so hardly counts as s brake test or even a sudden slowing down. The flat part of his line lasts for around 0.8 seconds, which bearing in mind we are talking about F1 drivers, should be plenty of time for Seb to realise that Lewis isn’t accelerating yet. It’s slso worth remembering that Lewis is still in the corner at this point, so assuming he is going to punch the throttle is strange to say the least, add in the fact that they are at least three corners away from going for it, and it makes Seb’s decision to be so close to Lewis even doubt people will point to Lewis’ line st the apex and say it’s erratic, but these speed variations are very small, erratic means flooring the throttle and stamping on the brake, this would cause wildly fluctuating lines, not the mildly varying line we see here.


Shall we have s look at this telemetry that everyone is talking about? This picture shows Lewis’ speed in red and Seb’s in blue. It’s important to remember what is happening at this point in the race, the cars have spent several laps circulating at the same speed as the safety car, but now the lights have gone off and so Lewis needs to reduce his speed to significantly slower than the safety car to let it get back to the pit lane before he crosses the safety car line. It’s obvious that he has to reduce his pace at this point, and should have been obvious to Seb, but look at how much faster he is going than Lewis. All the time the blue line is higher than the red, means Seb is travelling at a higher speed than Lewis, why is this? Surely he knows that he can’t do this without the gap reducing? Have a look at the general slope of the lines, who’s is closer to a steadily dropping straight line? Seb’s speed is much more erratic than Lewis’, again why is this?


I’m not so sure Vettel’s speed is more erratic than Lewis’s at all. I think you might be reading too much into it, though. Things are inherently like this behind a safety car.


Mathew, look at Seb’s blue line after the apex of t14, and then compare the two lines in the part of the graph labelled “steady deceleration”, whose line is smoother?


Thanks Tim -great post!
Seb’s speed is not the issue -Lewis’ lack of acceleration out of the 15 apex (compared to say the acceleration path out of 14), is what caught herr Vettel out. Lewis is a clever duck!
Anyway, I though you were moving on?
See you for a schnitzel mit preiselbeere in Austria!


Isn’t Seb’s speed the issue? He was driving faster than the pace car (Aka Safety cafr) which exiting the cornerwas Lewis as the lights had gone out on the SC so it’s upto the race Leader to determine the pace needed for

1.>The SC to return to the pits so the field does not overtake it by the SC1 line

2.>Get a jump on the driver(s) behind.

And depending on who is behind hope he can put them into a place to be overtaken. So in the case of Baku he might want to see if he can control the pace in such a manner than Vettel would be overtaken, if his main championship rival is 2 positions fiurther down the road i.e 3rd instead of 2nd. He might want to try and control the field so that his rival doesn’t get the jump on who is following.

Besides it is the job of the driver behind to maintain a safe distance.


LKFE, I have been trying yo move in, but it seems that certain people are determined to blame Lewis, no matter what the evidence clearly says.
If Lewis had accelerated out of turn 15 in he same way that he did out of 14, then he would still have been right behind the safety car. You do understand that this would be a bad thing right? At some point during that lights out lap, the lead car HAS TO slow down and let the safety car go, obviously this involves travelling at a slower speed than the safety car, Lewis as race leader chose to do this through turn 15, in exactly the same way that he did on the previous restart. Where do you suggest he do this? Along the straight?! This isn’t a case of Lewis being a clear duck, it’s all about Seb being a lame one.


Hypothetical situation,

Your are leading the Championship in the final race and your rival has to finish ahead of you to win the championship. He comes up to overtake you all you need do is deliberatly drive into him as he passes (and take him out), and if you manage to keep going your punishment would be a 10 second stop-go penalty
and 3 points. But so what you will be World Champion.

You need to set a clear precident that deliberatly driving into another car in the manner in which Vettel did, will be an instant black flag.

But Hasn’t Vettel now recieved two warnings about his conduct on the track in less than 12 months, Mexico last year and Baku this year at what point do we say you’ve had enough warnings?

Could the FIA have handed down a suspended race ban (for 12 months), should Vettel come to the attention of the Stewards again for what ever reason?


A 10 second (40 if you like) stop-go for banging into your direct rival, in a seeming fit of rage, in what we would like to believe is a sports / sporting championship? Just not enough in my opinion. Not that I’ll be missed, but maybe it’s time I moved on.


James, Why are you not offering any opinion on Vettel’s behaviour and the apparent light penalty? Do you agree or disagree?


I think he’s been fortunate

I’ve made it clear over the last week that this looked like a ‘red card’ offence to me, rather than a ‘yellow card’ and I haven’t changed my view


I think I would be inclined to agree with you, if Vettel had bumped Hamilton deliberately. But because I’m of the opinion that he just lost his head and the contact was inadvertent, and because there was no damage to Hamilton, the stop-go was sufficient. I might have added a fine.


In a similar racing incident on Tour De France just now, a Peter Segan a top contender for the champiionship was disqualified for the whole race after elbowing Cavendish when going for it in the finish line. The marshalls did not care about the status of the culprit. FIA could learn a lesson from this , that rules are not meant to be broken no matter the player status or effect on the overall competition.


You can’t compare it.
Smashing an elbow deliberately against another cyclist at 65km/h is bodily harm close to manslaughter.
What Vettel did was the equivalent of a soccer player who goes face to face to another without actually head-butting. A yellow card…
Hamilton trying a repair at 300+ one handed is same as a soccer player tying his shoelaces mid in the goal area while the ball is near without asking the referee. As far as i know this is a yellow card too (F1 equivalent Unsafe driving).
Entering the game with dangerous equipment not shown to the 4th referee is a yellow card. (Unsafe release because of not properly fixed head rest)
Lewis would have a yellow/red at soccer.

The biggest mistake FIA made is saying that they don’t want to interfere with the title fight between Seb and Lewis. But by giving too weak penalties to these two they judge unfair against other drivers who still have a chance to become a WDC.
Same as all referees getting a message in november 2018 to no longer give a red card to a player from Arsenal or ManU because they would be currently 1st and 2nd.


Meanwhile, Peter Sagan is disqualified from the Tour du France for (succesfully) attempting to take out another competitor. Only wish the FIA had such balls.


Vettel didn’t break Hamilton’s shoulder.


Guess F1 has to hit rock bottom before it starts to get serious about its own rules.

The Grape Unwashed

Here’s what should have happened…
1. stewards announce they are investigating the contact between cars 5 & 44 within minutes of it happening.
2. during the red flag period stewards look at the evidence and announce a 10-second stop & go penalty + 3 points.
3. after the restart Vettel takes his penalty, but then Hamilton is forced to pit for the headrest problem.

Here’s what actually happened…
1. The stewards ignore the contact between 5 & 44.
2. After the red flag restart they realise that Hamilton has to come in – now they panic, how can they penalise Hamilton but ignore Vettel’s offence?
3. Stewards simultaneously tell Mercedes to pit Hamilton and issue a penalty to Vettel.

I reckon few would be complaining if the stewards had followed the normal procedure, but they clearly only penalised Vettel in order to ‘make things fair’, that’s the problem. And if you’re going to ‘make things fair’, allowing Vettel to walk away from Baku with a bigger points gap to his rival, despite having rammed him during a safety car period, seems a bit sick.


The FIA and its president, a former Ferrari general manager, again show that there is one set of rules for Ferrari and another for all other teams. The FIA might as well codify this since there is so much precedence to back it up.


James – are you of the view that the FIA made the right call on this (like Brundle et al), or that SV should have been handed further penalties (like J Saward)?

The FIA decision has proved almost as controversial as the incident itself.


Saward is bitter and salty because he feels as though his proclamation should have received the royal seal.


Saward is such a tool lol. I had a back and forth with him on Twitter last year…he blocked me when i told him to try to be a little more impartial, and to stop being a d-rider. He had to ask what d-rider meant, then blocked me when I explained it lmao. Some people are wound so bloody tight, I don’t get how they end up like that lol.


Saward is pretty much a very good journalist. His travel blogs and reports from behind the scenes are excellent.e also goes to every race since 1988.e has a lot of knowledge. But he is also a firm Hamilton Bandwagoneer. You rather have to except this, or you shall not read his blog. That said there is always a good fight in his commentary section between Hamilton followers and the rest of the F1 fans.


@ Mercury….I have read some excellent posts from saward. His problem is that he sees himself as above all others and he has an overblown sense of his own importance. He derides all and sundry as being ‘non professional’ but any serious professional in the F1 media business should be big enough to accept argument without simply denying them the right of reply. Personal attacks are another thing altogether and no one should just accept them and say nothing.


Excellent, no penalty as Ferrari have signed Alonso alongside Seb for 2018…

…the fans return in their droves to halt the downturn in global ‘bored with MercPU accelerator pedal dominance’ audiences.


Clarks, yes the fans are really bored of those Mercedes drivers leading the championship by such a huge margin, oh wait….


The rules are black and white, what Hamilton did is totally irrelevant, unless he himself broke the rules which he did not.
It’d be like saying, but officer, the car in front braked too early for the red light that’s why I ran up his rear end………..


Quite an interesting reaction from Toto Wolf or lack of reaction I’d have thought he’d have been a lot more vocal in protecting his own driver,seems to have went out of his way not to upset Vettel,writing on the wall for Botas maybe ,Vettel/Hamilton at Mercedes next year……or Hamilton/Alonso at Ferrari,now there’s a thought!


I think it might be more of a case of Wolf wanting to avoid bad publicity.


Ferrari again it makes a joke of F1 back to shumi rules


Cavendish Sagan. If cycling has better governance than you do, you know you are doing it wrong.


Sean Kelly and Eric Vanderaerden are no better than Vettel for sure.


FIA’s decision is a joke!

Compare Vettel’s action to today’s disqualification of world cycling champion, Peter Sagaen — who is disqualified for ‘elbowing’ Mark Cavendish. F1 should take a note!


Frame-by-frame analysis shows that Cav actually unclipped and was falling prior to the Sagan elbow movement, which brings into question whether the jury made the correct ruling.


Ironically, the cyclists were actually traveling at a much higher speed than the racecar drivers. The cyclist were in a normal race situation while the drivers were in a neutralized situation. I suppose in an absolute sense, these facts do not matter.


please can everyone just look at the facts. The FIA did, so did the stewards. It was agreed that it was Vettel in the wrong. Seb has admitted it and taken FULL responcibility for his actions. LH has not been asked to attend. So for all those who know more about this than the people above who have access to all the telemetry. Please can you contact the FIA. I would also like to add that Sir Jackie is no longer able to offer an informed un biased opinion. He uses every oppertunity to try and undermine LH. As did Bernie. Shame on you both.(dinosaurs) I am a little surprised at Toto,s part in all this?? He does not appear to have stuck to LH in fact he pretty much excused SV. Got to say Brundell and other so called experts have done their utmost to go with SV as well. Have they seen all the data?? If so then maybe they should contact the FIA as well?


I have no problem with SV apologizing. But he was warned last year that he would be punished if he did any thing serious that require the FIA. He did just that and nothing but a slap on the wrist. The FIA looks very sheepish to me and his left looking like amateurs.


The fact that Vettel can get away with his aggressive and dangerous behavior is a real joke. If Kevin Magnussen had done the same, he would have been punished with a race ban, that’s for sure, especially if english stewards are in command.


No further actions against Vettel is a joke. Nothing happens everytime one of the big names are involved. But if Kevin Magnussen (and others) had been involved he would get a race ban, that’s for sure.


Well done to Seb for wearing his heart on his sleeve on and off the track. Fans want passion, and the team does too.
Further action would have been scandalous. He only got the 10 second penalty once Lewis had to pit for his loose headrest. Charlie Whiting needs to be replaced by a German, Italian, Spaniard….or make the position rotational and therefore less partial. The stewards need a massive review too.

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