FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

FIA declines to punish Vettel further over F1 Azerbaijan incident

The FIA ruled on Monday that it will take no further action against Sebastian Vettel for making contact with Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton during the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Vettel, who turned 30 today, appeared before an FIA panel comprising FIA deputy president for sport Graham Stoker, FIA general secretary for sport Peter Bayer, FIA Formula One World Championship race director Charlie Whiting and FIA Formula One World Championship deputy race director and FIA safety director Laurent Mekies to answer for his actions on June 25 in Azerbaijan.

The options open to the FIA ranged from taking no further action right up to a complete disqualification from the 2017 Formula One World Championship — a punishment previously handed to seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in 1997 for contact with Jacques Villeneuve.

“During the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, stewards officiating at the event issued a 10-second stop-and-go penalty to Sebastian Vettel, the most severe penalty immediately applicable before displaying a black flag notice to the driver,” read the official statement from the FIA. “Sebastian Vettel also had three penalty points applied to his FIA Superlicence, taking his current total to nine.

“However, while respecting the stewards’ decision, the FIA remained deeply concerned by the wider implications of the incident, firstly through the impact such behavior may have on fans and young competitors worldwide and secondly due to the damage such behavior may cause to the FIA’s image and reputation of the sport.

“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 motorsport 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.”

With what can only be seen as a favorable outcome by Vettel fans and a travesty by those who back Hamilton, Vettel will now have to keep his driving standards cleaner than clean after it was made clear to him that any further transgressions will have him hauled straight in front of the FIA International Tribunal.

In a personal statement, Todt added, “Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare. 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 cognizant of the impact their behavior can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models to millions of fans worldwide and must conduct themselves accordingly.”