Sebastian Vettel apologised to Charlie Whiting immediately after the Mexican Grand Prix, following a furious radio outburst where he told Formula 1’s race director to ‘****’ off.
The Ferrari driver publicly lashed out after Whiting did not order Max Verstappen to move aside for him after the Dutchman ran across the grass at Turn 1 to retain third place during their late-race battle.
Vettel got increasingly angry with the situation and, after being told by his engineer about Whiting’s view point, he responded: “You know what – here is a message for Charlie: **** off. Honestly. **** off.”
Motorsport.com has learned that immediately after the post-race press conferences – with Verstappen having been penalised five seconds for what happened – Vettel sought out Whiting to say sorry.
However, it is understood that Whiting was unaware of what Vettel was talking about, as he had not heard the radio message at the time.
Further sanction possible
Despite speaking to Whiting, it remains a possibility that Vettel could face a subsequent FIA investigation for his actions – with the governing body not yet having issued a formal statement on the matter.
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene refused to criticise Vettel for his actions and said that, after the apology, he was sure there would be no repeat in the future.
“We talked together me and Sebastian – and that is it,” explained Arrivabene. “I don’t have to tell in public about what I am doing with the driver. He excused himself and I am sure it is not going to happen again.
“And by the way, you look at what happened. Sometimes I am expecting a reaction quite quickly from the FIA. Okay….”
Vettel celebrated his third place on the podium, but was subsequently given a 10-second time penalty for having been deemed to have moved under braking while defending his position from Daniel Ricciardo.