ASTON MARTIN star Sebastian Vettel received a five-figure fine for abruptly leaving the drivers’ meeting ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix
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Formula 1 ace Sebastian Vettel has received more than a slap on the wrist after prematurely leaving a drivers’ meeting ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. The four-time world champion is poised for his ninth outing at the Red Bull Ring, having yet to win at the venue since F1 returned to Austria in 2014.
His preparations have been anything but seamless, however, after Vettel was fined €25,000 (£21,000) for walking out of and “expressing frustration” during Friday’s drivers’ meeting. The International Sporting Code and Sporting Regulations require drivers to attend for the duration of each pre-race meeting with officials.
“Drivers at this level are role models for every driver around the world and in the opinion of the Stewards Vettel failed to live up to that standard in this case,” read an F1 statement. “Subsequently Vettel had a meeting with the race director, who informed the stewards that Vettel apologised without reservation, and that further, they had a very constructive conversation covering the topics in the meeting and more.”
Despite the upbeat nature of that conversation, stewards agreed the incident ‘could not go without penalty’. The 35-year-old has been frustrated after accumulating just 15 points so far this season, hoping to clinch back-to-back top-10 finishes for only the second time in 2022.
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Sebastian Vettel was fined for leaving a meeting (Image: Getty)
“Suspended €25,000 fine for Vettel for his behaviour at the drivers’ meeting,” tweeted F1 journalist Chris Medland. “Vettel ‘left the drivers’ meeting that was held at 19:30 on Friday 8 July, without permission, and expressing frustration at the meeting’. Vettel later met the race director and apologised.”
The ‘suspended’ part of Vettel’s penalty means he won’t have to pay the fine unless he commits an identical or similar offence for the rest of the current campaign. The veteran was handed a €5,000 (£4,200) fine in April for riding a scooter on track at the Australian Grand Prix after his Aston Martin suffered an engine failure during the practice.
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Vettel is campaigning to save the bee population (Image: Getty)
A bumpy weekend continued for Vettel on Saturday when he was forced to cut short his Austrian GP sprint session. The German earlier spun off track following contact with Williams’ Alexander Albon, the impact from which contributed to his retirement.
Standings leader Max Verstappen got a head-start on his weekend by winning Saturday’s sprint, securing a pole finish for Sunday’s race. Red Bull’s star man currently sits level with Alain Prost and Jo Siffert on three Austrian GP wins apiece, meaning victory this weekend would make him the race’s most decorated driver of all time.