FIA wrong on two counts with Vet­tel, says Her­bert

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


Formula One’s gov­ern­ing body got it wrong twice over with Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel at last week­end’s Mex­i­can Grand Prix, ac­cord­ing to for­mer race win­ner and tele­vi­sion pun­dit Johnny Her­bert.

Stew­ards pro­moted and de­moted the German to and from the podium af­ter he tan­gled with Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen and Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, and then let him off for hurl­ing abuse at race di­rec­tor Char­lie Whit­ing over the ra­dio.

Her­bert told Reuters that, while he wel­comed the air­ing of com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween driver and team as an in­sight into the stresses of rac­ing, Vet­tel’s swear­ing at Whit­ing had gone too far.

“The worst thing was the stuff di­rectly at Char­lie. I thought that was out of or­der and some­thing should have been done about that one. It’s a step too far,” said the Bri­ton.

Her­bert, who won three grands prix be­tween 1989 and 2000 and was Michael Schumacher’s team mate at Benet­ton in 1994 and 1995, said a race ban would have been too hard but a grid penalty or fine could have been im­posed.

The FIA said on Tues­day that its pres­i­dent Jean Todt had de­cided, “on an ex­cep­tional ba­sis”, not to take dis­ci­plinary action against the four-times world cham­pion af­ter he apol­o­gised.

“You are hear­ing a frus­trated Se­bas­tian Vet­tel com­ing out with all this stuff and we want to hear it. But you know you’ve got to be some­times care­ful with what you say and how you say it,” said Her­bert.

“We heard it, it was di­rected at Char­lie in a very rude man­ner which is un­ac­cept­able. He should have got some­thing. He got off scot-free.”

Vet­tel fin­ished fourth on the road in Mex­ico but was pro­moted to the podium af­ter Ver­stap­pen was de­moted to fifth for gain­ing an ad­van­tage by go­ing off the track while de­fend­ing against the Fer­rari driver. The Dutch­man had re­fused to cede po­si­tion to the German on the track, trig­ger­ing the ex­ple­tive-laden rant by Vet­tel who then clashed with Ver­stap­pen’s team mate Ric­cia­rdo.

Af­ter a stew­ards’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Vet­tel was then handed a penalty that de­moted him to fifth for a dan­ger­ous move while de­fend­ing his po­si­tion, el­e­vat­ing Ric­cia­rdo to third and Ver­stap­pen to fourth.

Her­bert felt that penalty was an­other wrong de­ci­sion. “I’m sur­prised he (Vet­tel) got some­thing for that. That’s what I want to see, was there any­thing wrong with it? It was a squeeze, there wasn’t any­thing wrong with it,” he said. “I’m ‘let them race, let them get on with it’.” Speak­ing at Blackwell’s Hol­born book­shop in London, where he

was pro­mot­ing his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy ‘What Doesn’t Kill you...”, Her­bert also said some­thing had to be done to en­sure driv­ers kept within the track lim­its.

“I re­mem­ber when I was rac­ing, I would try and take a lit­tle bit of the track if I knew I could get away with it,” he said.

“I’m still of the think­ing that track lim­its are track lim­its. Full stop. What­ever the ar­gu­ment I keep hear­ing from peo­ple, there is al­ways a gain (by go­ing off the track).” — Reuters

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