Vettel warned of 'very severe' consequences
8 July 2017 – FIA President Jean Todt has warned Sebastian Vettel that he will face "very severe" consequences if he reoffends in the future, following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix controversy.
Vettel attended a hearing at the FIA's headquarters in Paris on Monday, where his incident with Lewis Hamilton behind the Safety Car at the Baku City Circuit was assessed.
After running into the back of Hamilton's Mercedes, and suspecting that he had been brake tested, Ferrari driver Vettel pulled alongside his rival and made side-on-side contact.
But after Vettel accepted responsibility and issued a full apology, Todt and the FIA closed the case, with no further action taken, beyond the initial 10-second stop/go penalty.
However, speaking at the Austrian Grand Prix, Todt emphasised that, should Vettel find himself in a similar situation in the future, he will not get away with another warning.
Prior to the Baku incident, Vettel had already been warned about his behaviour, having sworn at Race Director Charlie Whiting over the radio at last year's Mexican Grand Prix.
"It is up to the President of the FIA to decide whether he should be asked to go in front of the International Tribunal," Todt told Sky Sports, when asked about the process.
"After Mexico, which was a completely different offence, and clearly we see that Sebastian, who is a great driver, sometimes is not able to control himself as much as he should.
"I used to run drivers, and they are in a very tense situation.
"It's so easy to make decisions behind a desk, or to judge behind a desk.
"This thing was a completely different matter, but Sebastian has had some very strong warnings. It won't happen again and, if it would, then the consequences would be very severe.
"He suggested he could try and bring something back to the sport, to the fans, to people who are giving so much of themselves, like stewards, like marshals, so we accepted that.
"I refused any support on road safety activities, because it would look completely inappropriate.
"But I think it is very good if Sebastian is helping Formula 4 drivers, Formula 3 drivers, Formula 2 drivers. He will probably tell them what they should not do, as he did."
When pushed about the sincerity of the apology, given Vettel's comments post-race, Todt said: "He was digesting the scene... slowly he understood that he did a big mistake.
"He ensured me that it would never happen again and time will tell if it will happen again."
Vettel holds a 14-point advantage over Hamilton heading into Sunday's race at the Red Bull Ring; Vettel will start second, with Hamilton lining up eighth, following a gearbox penalty.