Todt warns Vet­tel to mind his lan­guage

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Quadru­ple cham­pion has his knuck­les rapped by FIA pres­i­dent af­ter a some­what inel­e­gant de­scrip­tion of the new en­gines

FIA pres­i­dent Jean Todt has writ­ten to Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, ad­vis­ing him not to use swear words in pub­lic ap­pear­ances. The Red Bull driver caused con­tro­versy when he de­scribed the sound of the new en­gines as “shit” in a news con­fer­ence at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Todt did not want to make too big an is­sue of the sit­u­a­tion, but was keen to re­mind Vet­tel of his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a high-prole am­bas­sador for the sport. He had al­ready is­sued a gen­eral warn­ing to all driv­ers not to use bad lan­guage af­ter Vet­tel and Räikkö­nen swore on the podium af­ter the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That ear­lier warn­ing, which came in the form of letters writ­ten to the teams, said it was “very much our col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure driv­ers are aware such lan­guage has no place dur­ing me­dia events”.

It added that bad lan­guage “shines an un­wel­come beam of ad­verse pub­lic­ity on their teams and spon­sors, the sport and the FIA”.

A spokesman warned at the time that fur­ther in­ci­dents could lead to dis­ci­plinary ac­tion. Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner ac­cepted that Vet­tel should not have sworn, but de­fended his right to speak his mind.

“He has just said what he thinks, and rather than oth­ers in the pit­lane damn­ing him for it, I think he should be ap­plauded for say­ing what he thinks,” Horner said. “Un­for­tu­nately we live in quite a po­lit­i­cally cor­rect world, and part of Red Bull’s phi­los­o­phy, even though some­times un­com­fort­able for the team, is for the driv­ers to have free­dom of speech and ex­pres­sion.

“All the driv­ers are al­lowed to ex­press their own opin­ion. Se­bas­tian has ex­pressed his opin­ion and I don’t think any­body would con­demn a driver for voic­ing an opin­ion.” But McLaren chair­man Ron Den­nis dis­agreed: “Be­ing a world cham­pion re­quires a dignied ap­proach to ev­ery­thing, so, putting aside the lan­guage, even the sen­ti­ment is in­ap­pro­pri­ate. The fact is, if he were sit­ting in a Mercedes he’d be ex­tremely happy. And I’m quite sure any four or ve-let­ter words would be more of joy.

“He should reect on the fact that he’s had a pe­riod of dom­i­nance. Just be­cause that has been shaken by Mercedes-Benz, it doesn’t give him the li­cence to be dis­re­spect­ful of the obli­ga­tions placed on him as world cham­pion.”

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