Vettel given reprimand and €25k fine for Brazil weighbridge incident
Sebastian Vettel has been hit with a reprimand and a €25,000 fine after an incident at the weighbridge midway through Formula 1 qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on Saturday afternoon.
Vettel was summoned to see the stewards for failing to follow the FIA officials’ instructions when he was called to the weighbridge during in Q2.
Keen to return to his pit box and fit a new set of tyres with rain incoming, Vettel knocked over a cone before gesticulating at an FIA official to move out of the way when called to the weighbridge. Drivers are selected at random to complete the weight check after pitting.
Vettel failed to turn off the engine on his car, which made it “difficult to get a stable result,” and “destroyed the scales” after driving away under the car’s own power.
Vettel said after the session that it was “unfair” he had been called to the weighbridge when he was trying to get back out on-track as quickly as possible.
After seeing the stewards at 4:45pm local time at Interlagos, it was confirmed that Vettel had been hit with his first reprimand of the season and a €25,000 fine.
It means the Ferrari driver will still start Sunday’s race from second on the grid after qualifying 0.093 seconds behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
The FIA stewards found there was no breach of Vettel not stopping at the weighbridge that would have resulted in an exclusion in qualifying, as he did stop the engine outside the FIA garage and move onto the scales, allowing a weight to be obtained.
“Nevertheless, the officials give directions to the drivers at the scales in order for the weighing procedure to be accomplished in an orderly and safe way, without the possibility of damaging the scales,” the stewards’ statement reads.
“The Stewards observed that the driver did not stop the engine at the time he was directed by the official at the scales, knocked over the cone placed to stop the driver from driving onto the scales, which he then did.
“At the time he was being shown a sign to have his ‘Brakes On’ by an official that was standing in front of the car, and while not hitting the official did force him out of the way while driving onto the scales. He then turned off the engine.
“Once the weight was taken he then did not wait for the officials to push the car off the scales, and while the Stewards accept that he may have mis-understood the indication from the official, he then re-fired the car and drove off the scales, which is not the procedure because it can damage the scales, which in this case he did.
“While no one was hurt by the scales being thrown out from behind the car, and while the Stewards accept that the driver did not drive off the scales in a reckless manner, the procedure is established exactly to prevent damage to the scales or a potentially dangerous situation, which is exactly what was caused.
“The Stewards found that the driver failed to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the Event and order a Reprimand (Non- Driving) and a fine of €25,000.”
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November 10, 2018 at 11:10PM