FIA boss Jean Todt has obviously heard and seen Red Bull’s Max Verstappen thoughts on receiving off-track punishment in the form of community service, and appears to be willing to embarrass the boy.
During the Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen and Ocon had an altercation, ultimately costing the young Red Bull driver a comfortable win over Mercedes Lewis Hamilton.
Ocon, trying unlap himself on brand new tyres, made contact with an uncompromising Verstappen who closed the door on the Frenchman, resulting in contact that spun both out. Verstappen subsequently lost the lead to Hamilton, and failed to claim it back.
After the race, during the mandatory FIA driver weigh in, Ocon failed to apologise to the Dutchman and smiled at him, infuriating Verstappen. The Red Bull driver decided to get physical with Ocon, unfortunately the images being captured by Canal+ TV cameras and broadcast across the globe.
Speaking on Austrian TV last week, TJ13 reported that Verstappen appeared to have a total lack of regret over the incident, citing that he felt it “not fair that I got the two days” community service by the FIA.
Further, Verstappen then began to list off what he thought the punishment shouldn’t be.
Verstappen then insisted after Abu Dhabi, that he wouldn’t accept anything that would make him “look like an idiot”.
“I’m definitely not going to look silly,” he said.
“I think anyway I’m already very hard-treated by that, so we’ll find something suitable, because I’m not going to look like an idiot.
“We’ll discuss, between the team and the FIA, what we’re going to do. If I agree [with the punishment], it doesn’t really matter, does it? What can you do about it?
“I find it a bit harsh but yeah… we’ll find a solution.”
Onboard with Ocon against Verstappen Brazil 2018
Take this attitude in contrast to Sebastian Vettel in 2017, after he angrily used his Ferrari car as a battering ram against Lewis Hamilton during the Baku race in Azerbaijan.
The FIA mandated that the Ferrari driver must perform ‘community service’ as punishment for taking the sport into disrepute, and perhaps rightly so. Vettel actually ended up finishing ahead of Hamilton at that particular race, despite being handed a race penalty due to headrest issues for the Mercedes driver.
Lewis Hamilton actually made a valid point post race in Baku after that incident, pointing out that it showed a very poor example to youngsters making their way in the sport.
As it turned out, Vettel was let off the community service punishment after admitting “full responsibility” and “extending sincere apologies” at meeting with FIA in Paris.
“In light of these developments, FIA President Jean Todt decided that on this occasion the matter should be closed,” it concluded.
Vettel certainly ate humble pie, but by doing so avoided the embarrassment of ‘community service’.
Todt hints at punishment
During a recent interview with Sky Sports F1, FIA president Jean Todt revealed his thoughts on Verstappens apparent lack of regret and rather arrogant sounding spiel on Servus TV and Abu Dhabi.
“When you have these kinds of exposures, this kind of fame, it gives you also responsibilities,” Todt said;
“So it means that whatever your emotions you must be able to control them. And to respect your supporters, to respect your word.
“If not you have some consequences. But I will say the consequences finally are quite small. Rightly so.
“What’ll it be? Honestly nothing has been decided,” he added.
“But clearly it has to be something that will be supportive to the Formula 1 world, supportive to the racing world.
“Maybe a contribution to work closer with some stewards or some officials during some training, during some education groups. We have different things which are going to happen next year.
“Maybe participate in a group panel of stewards in another category of motorsport to put yourself in the other side and understand that it’s not always easy.
“But I’m sure we’ll find some constructive programmes.”
So rather than allocating a punishment that actually benefits the motorsport community, or up and coming karters (as Verstappen wished), Jean Todt looks to be threatening a more embarrassing punishment for Max, by sitting him down with responsible adults during a motorsport event, to try and teach him another viewpoint that differs to his.
The fact that Verstappen is unlikely to be allowed to work with young karters speaks volumes, first it goes against his wishes and suggestion, but also it proves that Todt doesn’t think Verstappen is a good example of what youngster should be aiming for in their racing career.