Last year Sebastian Vettel had some very critical words to say about the FIA when he was upset with a move Max Verstappen made during the Mexican Grand Prix. In fact, the FIA was so concerned over their image being soiled, they hauled Vettel into the president’s office for a good talking to, docked him Super License points and demanded, effectively, community service to be performed for the FIA. Max had some choice things to say about the words Vettel said and accused him of needing language lessons.
At last weekend’s US Grand Prix, Max was penalized on the last lap of the race for cutting a corner, running all four wheels over the white circuit line on the inside of Kimi Raikkonen and he lost a podium position in the process. His team were upset, some competitors of his were upset and Max launched into a critical attack on FIA race steward Gary Connelly calling him a name I won’t repeat here but let’s just say that it is incredibly insensitive to people with disabilities. Unlike Vettel, who was only insulting to the FIA race director, Max insulted an FIA race steward and an entire group of people with disabilities.
I’ve been waiting for his Super License penalty and compulsory community service and language lessons but a week on and nothing has happened. Why is that?
Today, Sky Sports ran a story in which the FIA defended its penalty for Verstappen during the US Grand Prix. Race director Charlie Whiting came very close to calling out the name-calling but stopped short of saying that any punitive action would be taken for the offense.
“It wasn’t appropriate and we are discussing things with Max,” Whiting told Sky Sports News. “It would be nice if he was to apologize for using inappropriate language.”
It would “be nice” but in Vettel’s case it was demanded and a special meeting was held at the FIA offices to press Vettel for an apology made publicly and a recant of any criticism he made of the FIA including a points deduction and community service. That’s a far cry from it being “nice” if he would apologize.
Felipe Massa has had a radio tirade yelling; “Unacceptable FIA…unbelievable…unacceptable FIA” but that was a collective, I don’t agree with your decision. Max and Vettel singled an FIA official out and used very harsh language directed toward them.
I’ve nothing against Max, I rather like the young Dutchman, but I also believe that the FIA has to be consistent in its approach toward undermining the efficacy of its race stewarding program as well as the character and integrity of its officers as well as seek the respect the governing body deserves from drivers and teams. In Vettel’s case, that was very much what the FIA did. In Max’s case? The sound of crickets. Why is that?
Vettel, like Verstappen, are not above the regulatory body of the sport or the commercial body of the sport. They adhere to the rules set forth by the governing body and are expected to comply with them. Regardless if they like a steward’s call, they need to take that up in private. What didn’t help is Max’s father’s tirade on social media. Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner handled his disagreement with the call as a professional would be expected to. Max would have done well to follow his bosses lead in this situation but if the FIA aren’t going to do anything about it, then I would recommend that Sebastian Vettel tell the FIA to get stuffed over the community service requirements and demand his points back on his license.
The article goes on to explain the FIA’s justification and you can read that by clicking the link below but in the rest of the story, Charlie Whiting is having to outright defend the honor and integrity of Gary Connelly and surely Jean Todt finds that…well, to quote Massa…unacceptable.
Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1