Official Press Release from FIA
Paris, July 3 – Following an incident at the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix involving a collision between Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) and Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), Sebastian Vettel was today invited to attend a meeting at the FIA’s Paris headquarters. He was accompanied by his Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene. He reviewed the incident together with a panel comprised of 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.
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. 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 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.
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 (ed. letter below this script) 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.
Nevertheless, in noting the severity of the offence and its potential negative consequences, FIA President Todt made it clear that should there be any repetition of such behaviour, the matter would immediately be referred to the FIA International Tribunal for further investigation.
Commenting on the outcome of today’s meeting, FIA President Jean Todt said: “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.”
Vettel’s Apology letter:
Earlier today we reported that some observers have felt the punitive measures issued to Vettel by the FIA over what has now been described as a “potentially dangerous” manoeuvre were not harsh enough. It appears these extra investigations are directed at the moment Vettel appeared to drive into the side of Hamilton’s car. It would seem the situation has finally been closed.
FIA statements went from “…data shows Hamilton didn’t brake test…” – no further action required, to “could” Further examine (28/06) to WILL later the same day. Why? I ask myself how much pressure internet discussions are bearing down on the president’s shoulders, when after less than a week ago the FIA leader (who also serves as UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety) preached about his responsibility of “taking leadership” around such matters.
Others chipped in:
Latest to come out of retirement to throw their hat into the ring is Button with a “Move on”. He stated “Azerbaijan GP was a pleasure to watch,” via Twitter on Thursday. “Why? because adrenaline and emotions were high. What Vettel did was silly but he’s been punished. Move on.”
Button, who was a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) with Vettel before leaving Formula One at the end of last year, said a 10 second stop and go penalty was effectively 30 seconds with time lost at the pit entry and exit.
And Max (fifty shades) Mosley has labelled Sebastian Vettel’s behaviour as “intolerable” and calling for a black flag. I was surprised to see Max’s involvement, he hates it when people violate HIS private sphere.
Finally, it would seem, we can all move on and enjoy Spielberg