Sebastian Vettel has been handed a suspended €25,000 ($25,400) fine for leaving the Austrian Grand Prix drivers’ briefing on Friday after a heated exchange, but is one of seven drivers to avoid punishment over radio messages before the Sprint.
The four-time world champion was summoned for his “behavior in the drivers’ meeting” and it transpired that he left the meeting early after a heated exchange of views. The stewards deemed that it is not up to drivers when they can leave and that they must set an example to other drivers around the world, something Vettel did not do in their opinion.
“Subsequently Vettel had a meeting with the Race Director, who informed the stewards that Vettel apologized without reservation, and that further, they had a very constructive conversation covering the topics in the meeting and more,” the stewards’ decision read. “The stewards determine that there is a breach, which cannot go without penalty, but that based on the report from the Race Director there are factors in mitigation.”
As a result, Vettel’s fine is suspended for the remained of the season, as long as he doesn’t breach the International Sporting Code.
Vettel was also one of seven drivers who were investigated over their teams communicating to them during the second formation lap ahead of the Sprint. The first formation lap was aborted due to Guanyu Zhou stopping at the final corner, but teams are prevented from delivering certain messages to drivers during formation laps under a regulation that reads: “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
However, after summoning the representatives for Vettel, George Russell, Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon, Mick Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll, the stewards “determined that the messages that were under investigation were permitted.”