Ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur have been officially warned by the FIA, for using foul-language during Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Both incidents took place on the opening day of last weekend’s event in Sin City, where the Grand Prix came under heavy scrutiny after Free Practice 1 was cancelled after just eight minutes.
The session was cancelled after Carlos Sainz struck a loose manhole cover, which caused significant damage to his SF-23.
Several parts had to be changed, including, his battery, of which he didn’t have any left in his legal pool.
Despite the change being needed following an issue with the circuit, Sainz was slapped with a 10-place grid penalty, which was viewed as outrageous by Vasseur.
Vasseur’s use of foul-language was made whilst describing the context of the damage to Sainz’s car, with the FIA having acknowledged that it was out of character for him.
The report by the stewards into the use of poor language stated that Vasseur “was extremely upset and frustrated by the incident that had occurred in FP1 and that language such as this, by him, was not usual”.
Wolff’s use of poor language came after a journalist interrupted him and accused him of talking “absolute rubbish”, something which rattled the Mercedes team principal.
The stewards accepted that Wolff’s poor use of language occurred after he was “provoked” by a journalist and that similarly with Vasseur, it was out of character for him.
“The use of the language concerned was in this case unusual and was provoked by an abrupt interjection during the press conference and therefore cannot be regarded as typical from this team principal,” the report stated.
Despite recognising that the use of bad language was out of character for both individuals, they still received an official warning by the FIA given that they are both regarded as “role models”.
An FIA statement said: “The FIA regards language of this type to be unacceptable, moving forward, particularly when used by participants in the sport who have a high public profile and who are seen by many, especially younger, followers of the sport, as role models, and that in future the FIA will not tolerate the use of such language in FIA forums by any stakeholder.”