Sebastian Vettel Escapes Further Action Over Baku Incident
Those who would have wished to see four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel be further penalized for his unusual wheel-to-wheel contact with three-time champion Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be disappointed to learn that the FIA has announced it would not take further action.
Many had hoped for at least some punishment perhaps involving a disqualification from the race in Baku or a ban from the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, if not because of the aforementioned contact then because it would tighten the championship fight, which Vettel currently leads by 14 points. Though the stewards in Baku had already penalized Vettel, the FIA had the opportunity to penalize him even further, given the unusual circumstances.
“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,” the FIA said in a statement.
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Following a “sincere apology”—since made public—by the German driver, in which he took full responsibility for the incident, the FIA chose not take further action. In return, Vettel has committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA events and championship, including in Formula 2, 3, and 4, though FIA President Jean Todt instructed that no road safety activities should be endorsed by Vettel until the end of 2017.
“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,” said Todt. “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.”
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Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.