Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has been given a suspended fine by the stewards for his “behaviour” during the drivers’ meeting on Friday.
On every Friday of a race weekend, the drivers are mandated to arrive at the briefing room to be told of any important information for the remainder of the weekend, and discuss anything that might have popped up throughout practice.
In this instance, the drivers had just finished qualifying ahead of the sprint race in Austria, where many of them had their laps deleted for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
One of those was Vettel himself, so he ended up at the back of the grid for Saturday’s race, and there was reported frustration from him and fellow world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard had already spoken ahead of the weekend about the lack of penalties given to Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc for gaining an advantage for leaving the track and weaving respectively in Silverstone.
Alonso himself had been punished for both of those things in Miami and Canada, leading to yet more concerns over the woeful lack of consistency by race control.
The Race reported that there is a feeling among the drivers that the alternation between Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich is “not working effectively,” so they are “discontent” at the current situation.
Vettel is said to have strongly imparted his opinion onto Wittich, who has since held a “constructive conversation” with the four-time world champion, before walking out of the meeting without being excused.
“Drivers are not free to leave [the briefing] when they want, this being a breach of the requirement to attend,” said the stewards.
“Drivers at this level are role models for every driver around the world and in the opinion of the Stewards Vettel failed to live up to that standard in this case.”
Vettel’s fine has been suspended until the end of this year, so he will only be punished if he commits another similar offence between now and the end of the 2022 season.
There was more controversy during the sprint race on Saturday when Alex Albon was penalised for pushing Lando Norris off the circuit, but similar incidents had been let go in Silverstone last weekend.
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