Ex-Toro Rosso driver fined for misconduct

Formula E driver Jean-Eric Vergne has been handed a €3000 fine for public criticism of a penalty imposed on his team.

Jean-Eric Vergne, the Formula E driver for DS Penske, has been fined €3,000 (£2,564) due to his public criticism of a penalty imposed on his team during the previous Formula E round in the USA. 

This penalty follows a recent trend of similar sanctions being issued for public comments in motorsport.

Guenther Steiner, the team principal of the Haas F1 team, received a reprimand for referring to the Monaco Grand Prix stewards as “laymen.” 

In another peculiar incident, the Formula Regional European Championship team, MP Motorsport, was issued a suspended fine after a staff member responded to a stewards’ bulletin in a WhatsApp group using a poo emoji.

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In Vergne’s case, the specific language he used was not mentioned by the stewards. 

Following a hearing with Vergne, they stated that “the driver stated that some of the written words in the press [were] not said by him.” 

However, Vergne acknowledged that certain comments he made were disrespectful toward the stewards and the FIA. 

He assured the stewards that he would strive to avoid such behaviour in the future, as he holds full respect for their work.

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The stewards found Vergne guilty of “misconduct towards officials and the FIA” and a violation of article 12.2.1 clauses (c), (f), and (k) of the International Sporting Code. 

These clauses prohibit fraudulent conduct, acts prejudicial to the interests of competition and motor sport in general, and any words, deeds, or writings that cause moral injury or loss to the FIA or its members. 

They also include provisions for misconduct towards FIA staff and other associated parties.

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The issuance of penalties for public comments reflects the governing bodies’ commitment to upholding the integrity and professionalism of motorsport. 

Such measures aim to maintain respect for officials and the organisations involved in the sport. 

As drivers and team principals navigate the challenges of competition, they are expected to adhere to the standards set by the FIA and exercise caution when expressing their views publicly.