FIA launches investigation into Vettel clash with Hamilton

The FIA has decided to hold a formal investigation into whether or not further action is required against Sebastian Vettel following his controversial clash with Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

FIA launches investigation into Vettel clash with Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Fans observe podium celebrations, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 who celebrates on the podium, David Coulthard, the flag of Azerbaijan

Amid ongoing suggestions that motor racing’s governing body was not satisfied with the 10-second stop-go penalty handed to Vettel for his part in the move, the FIA confirmed on Wednesday that the situation was being looked into again.

A spokesman for the FIA said that evidence would be evaluated next week and a decision on whether or not more action is needed will be made before the next race at the Red Bull Ring.

A FIA statement said: “Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes on the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary.

“A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix.” 

The collision

Vettel’s clash with Hamilton came ahead of the second safety car restart in Baku, when he was angered at what he felt was a brake-test from the race-leading Mercedes car.

The German pulled alongside Hamilton and veered his Ferrari into the side of the Mercedes car – banging wheels with his world title rival.

The race stewards concluded that Vettel had driven in a potentially dangerous manner with his move, and elected to hand him a 10-second stop-go penalty.

Analysis of Hamilton’s telemetry by the stewards, to see whether or not he had done anything wrong, confirmed the Briton had acted correctly and that there had been no brake testing.

Shortly after Vettel had taken his punishment, Hamilton came on the radio to complain that he felt the sanction had not been enough.

In a message aimed at F1 race director Charlie Whiting he said: “The 10-second penalty is not enough for driving behaviour like that. You know that Charlie.”

Later on, Hamilton told media that he felt the punishment should have been greater to help set an example for junior categories.

Vettel denial

Vettel himself refused to acknowledge after the race that he had done anything wrong – and suggested that banging wheels with Hamilton had been an unintentional consequence of waving his fists at his rival.

Amid growing suggestions that there was unease at the penalty, the FIA has now decided to look again at what happened to better understand if a heavier sanction is needed.

Last year Vettel escaped being hauled up in front of the FIA’s International Tribunal for having used foul language against Whiting at the Mexican Grand Prix.

But in a statement issued by the governing body after the decision was made not to take the matter further, because Vettel had apologised, it warned that the door was open for action to be taken if events repeated themselves.

It said: “The FIA takes this opportunity to advise that, in the event of any future incident similar to the one that occurred in Mexico, disciplinary action will be taken by bringing such incident before the FIA International Tribunal to be judged.”

While the use of bad language is not central to the case here, Vettel's defiance in not accepting he has done anything wrong could be an issue.

Should the FIA decide on July 3 – which happens to be Vettel's birthday – that further action is required, then a Tribunal meeting would be likely.

Sanctions could include a race ban.

shares
comments
Baku comeback a lesson in not giving up, says Bottas
Previous article

Baku comeback a lesson in not giving up, says Bottas

Next article

Tech analysis: How top teams reacted to Baku layout headache

Tech analysis: How top teams reacted to Baku layout headache
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Prime

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year" Prime

Qatar's long-term plans for a "World Cup every single year"

Qatar is preparing to host the football World Cup next year, but will be thrown into the sporting spotlight this weekend as Formula 1 prepares to race in the country. Ahead of a 10-year deal to hold a grand prix from 2023 onwards, it's a much-needed opportunity to highlight reforms in the country

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2021