Sebastian Vettel should have been punished for his radio outburst during the Mexican GP according to this week’s F1 report guests.
Vettel launched a foul-mouthed tirade over the radio targeting both Max Verstappen and FIA race director Charlie Whiting.
However, after an investigation, the FIA, the sports governing body, opted not to punish Vettel for the outburst.
“If you equate it to other sports it is like running up to the referee or the umpire and publicly and vocally being abusive,” said Sky F1’s Marc Priestley.
“Football has got itself into a mess because of this and we all think rugby and the way they respect referees is much better. We’ve got to make an example of this.”
Indeed, taking the football analogy, Renault development driver Oli Rowland thinks the FIA could have imposed a race ban had they decided to punish Vettel.
“In football I think it would have been a three match ban. I’m not saying they need to do that in this case, but that is a precedent for one sport so why not another,” said the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 champion.
Vettel was given a 10-second time penalty for moving in the braking zone while defending from Daniel Ricciardo late in the race. That relegated him from third to fifth, but was the penalty harsher because of his outburst?
“I think they have to treat them both separately, what happened in that incident was on circuit and that should be treated like any other situation,” said Rowland.
“What happened over the radio is quite bizarre and it is not good for anybody, especially young kids watching at home, we don’t want to see that sort of thing happening. I think they should take some sort of stance in penalising him after the race.”
The radio rant was the latest in a number of outbursts from the German, although more extreme than the usual “blue flag” messages.
However, Priestley believes tensions are mounting between Vettel and Ferrari and their partnership could be coming to an acrimonious end.
“I don’t know if he is cracking under pressure, I think he is cracking under frustration,” said the former McLaren mechanic.
“He made the move from a quadruple title-winning team to Ferrari where he thought he would be going onto bigger and better things and it hasn’t worked out. Perhaps it is a little bit like the Fernando Alonso story of a few years back.
“He wanted to go there and win more titles in the red overalls and the team have stagnated and he has been central to all of that, he has been in the middle of it, desperately wanting to go one better and I think that is a symptom of that wider problem for him.
“I genuinely think there are some serious cracks forming between Seb and the Ferrari team as a hole. Inside me I honestly feel this is the beginning of the end for their relationship.”
Rowland likened the recent struggles of Ferrari to those currently being experience by Manchester United, but believes Vettel can be a uniting factor.
“I think a lot of the pressure is from himself. He expects and he wants to be at the front and he is frustrated within himself that he is not doing that,” said the GP2 driver.
“Obviously he can’t do that because of the team and we’ve seen at Ferrari in the media, the whole situation there that everyone is a bit scared to work there.
“It does seem a little bit similar to the situation at Manchester United, I think Ferrari are expected to be at the front and at the moment they are not.
“Sebastian has to focus now on motivating the people at Ferrari to work hard and in the right direction and I think that is where he needs to work as hard as possible.”