Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel criticizes the FIA for their slow response time in penalizing errors; race director Michael Masi responds.
Vettel was penalised for a breach of the FIA sporting regulations prior to the start of the F1 Imola GP, receiving a ten-second stop-and-go penalty for failing to have all four tyres on his car five minutes before the formation lap.
But it wouldn’t be until much later into the race that Vettel would be informed of the penalty, the German getting his first opportunity to serve the ten seconds on Lap 22 – at which point, he tells Sky Sports, the lost time was vastly more consequential. In fact, the penalty came just after the German had fitted the slick tyres.
The Aston Martin driver criticised the FIA’s behavior, questioning the professionalism of the governing body which has come under fire in the wake of a controversial Bahrain GP: “The guys tried everything on the grid and I think they did really well,” Vettel began.
“I think we could have had a better race if the FIA was more alert, because we broke a rule I guess [and] that’s why we got a penalty, but they didn’t bother [to tell us] until way later in the race, and at that time the penalty cost a lot more than it would have earlier.
“That’s not very professional. But that certainly wasn’t the decider for us today. We had plenty of issues, so not the trouble-free race we were hoping for,” Vettel confessed. The German eventually retired with one lap to go due to gearbox issue.
FIA race director Michael Masi disagreed with the view that the governing body took too long in notifying Aston Martin of their penalty, explaining that an investigation process was the cause of any delay: “I don’t know about taking longer than it should have,” he told media including F1, Motorsport Network, Racefans and more.
“It was obviously reported by the technical delegate. I’d have to have a look at the report but once it was reported by the technical delegate, the paper report that he presents appears in the document management system, at that point the stewards had a look at the regulations, confirmed the evidence and determined what the penalty was.”
Here’s how F1 Imola GP panned out