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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

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

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Paul KieferJr

    In defense of Verstappen, you have to remember that he is still just 20 years old. There’s still some time needed for maturity. At times, he seems wise beyond his years. Other times, he’s still just a kid. Certainly, you don’t let what he did go, but you do have a quiet chat with him. After that, if he does it again, that’s when you bring the hammer down.

    With Vettel, however, he’d already been in Formula 1 for a number of years. He’s definitely at the “old enough to know better” stage. Ergo, that one would require a firm hand.

    • Sid

      I see it in the opposite manner. Isn’t it all the more reason to make sure he is not coddled then? If he learns now that he is not to make such personal outbursts early in his career as it will lead to repercussions (at the very least a public apology) then perhaps he will take it to heart and not repeat it later? If he is merely told that it is “not nice”, it seems akin to a let-off, and no doubt Max too will see it that way.

      Don’t get me wrong. I like Max. I strongly feel there was a lack of consistency in the stewarding decisions last week, but Max was equally at fault for letting his emotions get the better of him, and if we are demanding consistency in the stewarding decisions then the same yardstick needs to be apply to such personal attacks as well.

      • Paul KieferJr

        Update: Charlie did talk to Max and then Max apologized for his behavior….albeit on Instagram, but there it is.

  • Salvu Borg

    He was not only wrong in the way he overtook Kimi, he was also wrong in what he said about the race stewards, plus above all that he was quoted by “DE TELEGRAAF” as having told them “I called that steward an idiot, and I will not take it back”.

    • Formerly Known As

      You keep moaning about alot of biased British F1 sites yet you quote Da Teleggraaf, the largest pulp paper in Holland who caters to a demographic that loves sensationalism, the same complaint you have against British media.

      The Da Telegraaf quote, according to most Dutch fans may or may not have happened because the paper loves to sensationalize everything.

      I assume you don’t speak Dutch so you read that report from another F1 site who has now changed it’s story and has now published an article where Max indeed apologized in an actual recorded interview the day after the race.

      According to one Dutch F1 fan, Dutch TV Ziggo Peptalk always have the very first interview with Max after the races and do a skype interview usually on Monday night. Here are the actual recorded quotes.

      “Look, in the heat of the moment you say things, but of course I didn’t mean anything bad. At that moment, it just blurts out. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

      That interview with his apology was recorded on Monday night, the 23rd while your quote from Da Telegraaf was written on the 24th.

      Apology first. Sensationalism next.

      Please show some objectivity. If you will throw a quote from one source, make sure your include a quote from the rest or you’ll just come out looking very biased yourself.

      It’s not fair to Max and not fair to the readers of this blog that they are being influenced by one poster’s bias.

      • p1ngu

        It’s entirely fair to Max. The majority of the world doesn’t speak Dutch; the biggest part of the F1 audience is either native English speaking or know it as a second language. It would make sense for him to ensure that his apology gets out in English, to ensure that he’s not overtaken by the story.

        He’s only just apologised in English, via Instagram. Up to him what he does, obviously, but by leaving things as he did for almost a week means that it’s harder for him to control the story and get on top of it.

        • Formerly Known As

          I appreciate the comment but I would like to point out that what the original poster also quoted was originally in Dutch.

          My point was not what language was used but what was already out there to be quoted.

      • Salvu Borg

        Yes there are “some” very biased British F1 sites, they do have to be biased because they gathers for a particular section of fanboys which they depends on for their clicks/number of followers. just try disagree with what they say and see the result, they will not let their apple cart be upset.
        No DUTCH is not one of the languages I speak, but I am assuming you do.The De Telegraaf did not change the story, what they did was quoting him eating back all he first said later on.

  • Sakae

    To some posters – twenty years old is not enough of age to know wrong from right? Moreover, Vettel outburst occurred in the heat of fight in the car, yet MV said a few things after race. How that can be excusable without some reward is for me hard to understand. I’ve raised the same observation (as NG in his article) earlier this week on some other forum, and my post got deleted by a moderator (without explanation). So much for claims that FiA = Ferrari Int. Assistance.

    • Salvu Borg

      Furthermore, after all he said and repeated and also strongly stood-by Yesterday 26th he in one gulp had swallowed all he spit-out down and right back.
      And SAKAE, You are not an exception, but please don’t start-me on regarding the usual well known impartiality of some of the BRITISH F1 SITES which are always breaking records with dick-heads clicks.

  • p1ngu

    I always thought Jos “in my own mind I’m the boss” Verstappen was an absolute muppet. There’s the violence against his own father, against his ex-wife, the attempted murder charge against his ex-girlfriend (that one got him a stay in jail), the nightclub incident a few months back…. that’s in no way a complete list. A great driver but a moral reprobate.

    Obviously one must not visit the sins of the father upon the son, but it’s clear that Max hasn’t got much of a role model; the reverse would appear to be the case, with Jos stoking the fires and tweeting that “this is bull****” and “FIA = Ferrari International Assistance.” Within that context, Max has been pretty restrained and I think he’d benefit from an arm round the shoulder rather than a kick in the teeth. If it were me I’d make it clear that he’d had his free punch at the referee and that future outbursts would be treated far more severely. I’d make the friendly warning public, just sop everyone when where they stood.

    Oh, and I’d be a lot more consistent with track limits. Even if it was just to remind at the driver’s meeting that the stewards will be paying particular attention to Corner 12 etc.

  • CARLOS PALOMO PUENTE

    Y agree with Max Verstappen: most stewards are idiots. I do not see anything wrong with his reaction.

    • p1ngu

      Most stewards are far from idiots; quite the reverse. Back in the old days when you had a local dignitary invited along for a jolly, perhaps, but nowadays you have some very good stewards, plus you have driver stewards, many of whom are former F1 drivers.

      As for Max’s reaction, he should take it on the chin. If you’re racing beyond the limits you might get away with it, you might not. If you get caught by the stewards, the best thing you can do is take your punishment and shut up; the more you should, the greater the chance that it’ll come back at you twice as hard.

      • pmr

        I agree Max could have used other words. But this is exactly why the first thing they have to do after coming out of the car is meet the press. To get reaction like this. Don’t give them time to cool down and think about what they’re gonna say. Nope, just shove a microphone under their noses right away. He had just been yanked out of the green room and thrown at the media wolves. Even the dutch journalist doesn’t try to calm him down, but instead throws some more oil on the fire. The mdeia loves nothing more then controversy.

        And as for him blaming Connely he’s absolutely spot on.Connely has been a steward in 8 of all the races Max has been in F1. And he gave max a penalty in 5 of them, and tried in a 6th. In Japan last year he was over ruled by his fellow stewards and in stead of accepting it he goes to Paddy Lowe and tells him to lodge a complaint. Thats got bias written all over it.

  • pmr

    The FIA was consistent in not punishing Max for his outburst. Vettel didn’t get penalized last year, he got off with an apology letter. His community service and points on his license were for his road rage incident in Baku this year.

  • jakobusvdl

    All very well reasoned from Charlie Whiting, and the fan reaction is typically passionate.
    I’m okay with the decision, and the penalty, far from okay with the reactions of the Verstappen’s and outraged Max-fans. Insulting and threatening the stewards, thats the bull#%^t in this situation.
    Todd needs to send Max and Jos a ‘decorum and civility’ message.