FIA wrong on two counts with Sebastian Vettel, says Formula one great Johnny Herbert

Stewards promoted and demoted Sebastian Vettel to and from the podium after he tangled with Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

By: Reuters | London | Published:November 4, 2016 10:08 pm
sebastian vettel, vettel, verstappen, max verstappen, formula 1, mexican gp, mexican grand prix, formula 1 news, sports news The FIA said on Tuesday that its president Jean Todt had decided, “on an exceptional basis”, not to take disciplinary action against the four-times world champion after he apologised. (Source: Reuters)

Formula One’s governing body got it wrong twice over with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, according to former race winner and television pundit Johnny Herbert.

Stewards promoted and demoted the German to and from the podium after he tangled with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, and then let him off for hurling abuse at race director Charlie Whiting over the radio.

Herbert told Reuters that, while he welcomed the airing of communications between driver and team as an insight into the stresses of racing, Vettel’s swearing at Whiting had gone too far.

“The worst thing was the stuff directly at Charlie. I thought that was out of order and something should have been done about that one. It’s a step too far,” said the Briton.

Herbert, who won three grands prix between 1989 and 2000 and was Michael Schumacher’s team mate at Benetton in 1994 and 1995, said a race ban would have been too hard but a grid penalty or fine could have been imposed.

The FIA said on Tuesday that its president Jean Todt had decided, “on an exceptional basis”, not to take disciplinary action against the four-times world champion after he apologised.

“You are hearing a frustrated Sebastian Vettel coming out with all this stuff and we want to hear it. But you know you’ve got to be sometimes careful with what you say and how you say it,” said Herbert.

“We heard it, it was directed at Charlie in a very rude manner which is unacceptable. He should have got something. He got off scot-free.”

Vettel finished fourth on the road in Mexico but was promoted to the podium after Verstappen was demoted to fifth for gaining an advantage by going off the track while defending against the Ferrari driver.

The Dutchman had refused to cede position to the German on the track, triggering the expletive-laden rant by Vettel who then clashed with Verstappen’s team mate Ricciardo.

After a stewards’ investigation, Vettel was then handed a penalty that demoted him to fifth for a dangerous move while defending his position, elevating Ricciardo to third and Verstappen to fourth.

Herbert felt that penalty was another wrong decision. “I’m surprised he (Vettel) got something for that. That’s what I want to see, was there anything wrong with it? It was a squeeze, there wasn’t anything wrong with it,” he said.

“I’m ‘let them race, let them get on with it’.”

Speaking at Blackwell’s Holborn bookshop in London, where he was promoting his autobiography ‘What Doesn’t Kill you…”, Herbert also said something had to be done to ensure drivers kept within the track limits.

“I remember when I was racing, I would try and take a little bit of the track if I knew I could get away with it,” he said.

“I’m still of the thinking that track limits are track limits. Full stop. Whatever the argument I keep hearing from people, there is always a gain (by going off the track).”

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  1. N
    Nishanth Ashok
    Nov 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm
    Grid Penalty for swearing??? I think that is equally harsh like a race ban. A fine would have been the best punishment but CW accepted SV's apology. Furthermore his move on Daniel looked pretty OK to me. My feeling is the penalty imposed on Vettel after the race had something to do with his swearing at Charlie. Another thing is Max Verstappen. lt;br/gt;He is such a talented and fast driver, I think had I been in his place I would have minded my own business and let the big guys of the sport take care of the proceedings. I feel he was wrong in telling off Vettel about his move on Daniel when the w rule of 'moving under braking' came into existence thanks to the Belgian's repeated movement across drivers while defending when they were almost side by side with him. So if I was in Max's place I would have said no comments and have to see the replay of it and then sat down with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko and listen to their advice and react to the media the next time I would have faced them.
    Reply
  2. G
    G.J.Dellabarca
    Nov 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm
    Charlie Whiting deserved what he got he was totally incompetent in his job and is giving an arrogant young driver the freedom to get worse and possibly kill someone or himself there is no way that either of those Red Bull cars had any chance of beating Vettel if the rules had been applied correctly immediately.Get Charlie Whiting off the scene he is the trouble maker.
    Reply
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