Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has slammed the FIA for fining him after he ventured out onto the circuit on a scooter during Friday practice.
The German missed the first two rounds of the 2022 season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia having tested positive for COVID-19, so track time was indispensable for him as he made his anticipated return in Australia.
However, his running was cut short by an engine failure during the first session of the weekend, forcing him to stop in the third sector.
The subsequent red flag left the track empty and, eager to return to the pits, the four-time champion took a scooter from one of the marshals and made his way round the rest of the lap.
It made for entertaining viewing for the fans, but the stewards ruled that this contravened regulations, thus deciding to hand him a 5,000 euro fine.
Vettel is not impressed, and described the fine as a “joke,” indicating his desire for disclosure on what the money will be used on.
“It would be good to know what happens to that money,” he told Motorsport.com
“I think we are still not aware what happened to the $50,000 that Max [Verstappen] or [Sir] Lewis [Hamilton] or one of them had to pay for touching a rear wing,” added Vettel, referring to the Brazilian Grand Prix last year when Max Verstappen was fined for touching Sir Lewis Hamilton’s rear wing in Parc Ferme.
The 34-year-old’s weekend has been compounded by a 600 euro fine for speeding in the pitlane in his haste to set a lap in qualifying.
The reason for this rush was his crash in FP3, necessitating a mammoth task for his team to repair his car and that of team-mate Lance Stroll when he too found the wall.
Vettel laments a “really bad day” for his team.
“I didn’t know where the limit was to be honest. What I think today is a really bad day for the team,” he explained.
A further crash for Stroll with Nicholas Latifi – for which the Aston Martin driver has been penalised – gave the Silverstone squad enough time to get the former Ferrari driver’s car ready, but he was unable to make it out of the first phase of qualifying.
Nonetheless, he praised the tremendous work his team put in to get him out on track following his earlier undesirable adventures.
“They did incredible, all of the girls and boys in the garage worked really hard to get both cars out, and it was a miracle we got one out, and then we had the red flag and the guys jumped from one side to the other and were trying their best to get me out, which worked,” he added.
“Obviously at the minute where we are with pace we’re not going to jump to the front and create a miracle. We are not strong enough for that right now, but still it was a great team effort.”
Vettel and Stroll will start Sunday’s race 17th and 19th, respectively, after the Canadian’s grid penalty and Alex Albon’s disqualification for failing to provide a fuel sample after his Williams ground to a halt at the end of Q1.