Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff found himself in trouble with the FIA before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix even got underway, as he was summoned to see the stewards on Friday.
Wolff and Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur were both slapped with official reprimands by the governing body, for swearing during the recent Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The Mercedes boss swore following a heated exchange with a journalist, following the embarrassing opening day in Sin City.
Free Practice 1 in Las Vegas was cancelled after eight minutes after Carlos Sainz struck a loose manhole cover, which led to a 150-minute delay to Free Practice 2.
As so much work into the Las Vegas event, F1 came under heavy scrutiny for the woeful start to the Grand Prix, with Wolff having brutally defended the organisers and Liberty Media.
It was whilst he was defending the event that he swore; however, it was arguably triggered by a journalist interrupting him.
“It’s FP1 – how can you even dare trying to talk bad about an event that sets new standards to everything?” Wolff fumed in the team principals’ press conference after FP1 in Vegas.
“You’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone, that has happened before. That’s nothing – it’s FP1.
“Give credit to the people that have set up this grand prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning.”
Wolff and Vasseur’s use of foul-language was accepted by the FIA as being out of character, although they still warned the duo as they are seen as role models.
After receiving his warning, Wolff acknowledged that it was “very good” to be reminded that he’s viewed as a “role model” and that the poor language he used should never be heard in the paddock or in the car.
Wolff is hopeful that himself and Vasseur being warned by the governing body can help reduce the amount of explicit language in the sport.
“I find it very good that we remind all stakeholders that have a public profile, that we are responsible to what we say in the media and on TV,” Wolff told reporters in Abu Dhabi, as reported by The Mirror.
“If it is Fred and I going to the stewards, if we can trigger a general change of approach of the stewards to sanction swearing, then that is good.
“Nobody should use the ‘F word’ in the car or outside of the car. We should be role models, especially for the fans that we have, especially the young ones.”