FIA President Jean Todt has explained the decision not to take further action against Sebastian Vettel after the controversial coming together with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and accepted the German driver’s “sincere apology” following a review of the events which took place in Baku. The French motor sport executive also added that Formula One drivers should “be the heroes and role models” their status brings them.
Sebastian Vettel will not face further punishment for his unprecedented clash with Lweis Hamilton under the safety car during a fraught Baku race after the FIA reviewed the incident again. Despite the fact that it can be seen as a potentially surprising outcome for some given Sebastian was already under ‘notice’ following his expletive-laden tirade against FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting during last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, the ruling reveals the Ferrari driver will have to be committed to supporting FIA events over the next 12 months, after he was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty during the race in Baku. Commenting on the decision, though Jean Todt does not wish to discuss Vettel directly, he does say top sportspeople need to act with the gravitas that their status brings:
“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 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.” – Jean Todt explained, as reported by the Italian media.
It is not the first time the FIA has used ‘promotion’ in lieu of punishment after Michael Schumacher was tasked with attending various FIA promotions as a punishment for his title-deciding clash with Jacques Villeneuve back in the 1997 Formula 1 championship.