FIA plays down obscene Vettel gesture

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday 24 March 2012.

Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia

Mar.29 (GMM) F1’s governing body, the FIA, has played down that claims Sebastian Vettel faces a penalty for his behaviour during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

After the race, the reigning world champion dismissed HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan as an “idiot” following their on-track collision.

On-board footage subsequently proved that Red Bull driver Vettel, 24, twice showed the Indian driver a ‘middle finger’ salute.

Reports in Germany suggested the behaviour was a breach of the stricter code of conduct under FIA president Jean Todt, with the German theoretically facing anything from a warning to the revocation of his superlicense.

“My understanding is these matters are dealt with by stewards at each grand prix,” an FIA spokesman told us. “I am not aware of any other action being contemplated.”

Karthikeyan, who was penalised after the clash, told the Hindustan Times newspaper that the stewards favoured world champion Vettel’s explanation.

“They [the stewards] didn’t care about what I had to say because Mr Vettel told them god knows what when he went and talked to them,” he said.

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner defended Vettel, telling the Mirror that it is “Karthikeyan’s responsibility to get out of the way of the leaders”.

Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, meanwhile, partly excused Vettel’s outbursts.

“I think Vettel was just emotional at that point [in] time. At the end of the day, he is just human and sometimes you get emotional,” the German is quoted by the Times of India.

Former Force India driver Adrian Sutil goes even further.

“I can understand him (Vettel),” he told Die Welt newspaper in Germany. “I was often angry when I was lapping people, when they make no room for you while they are fighting for places that have almost no significance.

“Karthikeyan ended up influencing not only Vettel’s race, but also Jenson Button’s. They [backmarkers] have to understand that as well.”

Subbed by AJN.
  • Evel

    That’s just ridiculous – Karthikeyan is absolutely pathetic – he messed up 2 championship contender’s races while fighting for 2nd last place.
    He was driving like a complete fool, which is not unusual for him.
    He shouldn’t be racing in F1, he’s not on the level of the other drivers and all he does is mess up the front runners races, in this case he had a dramatic effect on the outcome of the race – HE should have his licence revoked!

  • ?


    When Jenson hit him, he wasn’t technically a backmarker yet, he actually had track position. Maybe this one is one of the holes in FIA’s rule about backmarkers giving way. The Championship fighters probably wouldn’t realise it when the backmarker actually holds track position.

    In Vettel’s case, he would’ve been more careful if he knew that it wouldn’t be so easy, and would’ve slowed down, decreasing the chance of crashing. Hikers tend to be more annoyed by stones creeping into their shoes, not HUGE rocks.

    If you are to say that Karthikeyan is that bad, it’s probably much easier and more efficient to just pit him against Liuzzi, wo doesn’t fare that much better when pitted against Ricciardo last year, or Vettel half a decade ago.

  • zack

    come realistic..rewind the incident back,neutral your position than you will see who the stupid on the track..for me it’s more on racing incident, nobody shouldn’t blame anybody..when overtaking, the driver should not chopping the laps car to enter the racing line,if you do you will get a big prizes likes mr.vettel

  • Kevin

    Vettel did not, in any way “chop” across NK’s path. In fact, he exited the corner and stayed short of track out to provide NK room, passing in a straight line, with right steering input. The videos are very clear on this. NK cut back onto the race line behind Vettel, but miss-judged his wing proximity (can’t be seen from the driver position in any of the cars) and cut just slightly into Vettel’s left rear tire. It was NK’s fault, period. His feigning innocence is pathetic and tiresome. He has lied about the incident to cover his incompetence, and is maintaining that lie to keep the blame from being put on him for being an obstacle on the track, which he and the HRT are proving to be. Now his claiming to be a victim of bullying is adding lie on lie. Yes, faster cars are scary when they pass back-markers – that’s racing – get over it or get out.

  • fawxx

    i wonder what will everybody’s response be if it was the other way around.

  • k


    did you actually see the race?? vettel had loads of room to move and go ahead, he basically thought he was ahead of NK’s car full length, he overestimates the cars pace. Even RED BULL ardent fan David C thought there was no fault of NK.

    and jenson has admitted that it was his fault. so thats that.

    vettel has caused crashes so many times..and even webber,and not feather touches..proper crashes.. they dont call each other idiots..HRT,NK are a easy target.

    HRT should get 200 mill budget and buy C honer..and then we’ll see.

    whatever happens in the race,racing incident or someone’s mistake..a champion should not behave like that. FIA should revoke 3 year old baby vettel’s licence ..oh..poor baby the car is not as fast before..fighting for the 4 th place..

  • k

    get lost vettel…stupid baby..go and see the replay..and then..see 2010 turkish GP replay .ur just a bully thinking the world will bend for you…

  • alonsofan

    It was a racing incident and both men should get over it and move on.But Vettel showing NK the finger twice,thats just wrong and demeaning to back markers.Put NK in a Mclaren or Redbull,if he loses then we say that he is a poor driver.

  • http://Yalla enough already

    Poor Vettel having to race with those idiots. I really feel sorry for him . Don’t they know his way should always be clear.Force India ,Williams all of them should just park when he’s near.

  • TeamRosbergRaikkonenKobayashi

    Wow what a cry baby and what favoritism. I’m sorry their places don’t seem significant to you because you’ve been blessed to have the top cars. The positions are still extremely important to them and vital for their careers. Karthikeyan is a great driver my father used to race him back in Formula India in the 90’s and he has often beaten his much more experienced teammates in Liuzzi and De La Rosa. So much disrespect and bias. Good luck getting cheered at the Buddh Circuit Mr. Vettel. #IndianPride

  • me262

    I think we’re all being a bit hard on Vettel. Poor guy is used to having such an advantage over everyone, he didnt expect to be going that slow past the HRT and so he miscalculated. No blown diffusers have put him down as an average double world champion ;)

    Im enjoying 2012 F1, very entertaining year it will be

  • Mark

    So what’s the use of FIA anyway? Choosing side isn’t one of their responsibility… judge it fair you D!(<HE@DS!!!… Horner, youre an @SSH()LE!!!

  • Jenson

    It was simply racing incident, NK had the courtesy of apologizing to both SV & JB (JB admitted his fault but regardless), “THE END” nothing can be changed!.(that’s why JB is very mature in his attitude compare to LH) it’s no need and uncalled for for SV to use those language, it is REALLY uncool for a champion indeed, SV very quick to forget that he once was a cucumber or an idiot too himself when he hit JB out of no where!!! and many costly others, because he is now in a position of privilege (faster car) so it is simply BULLYING!. because you can’t even if you are in the right in an HRT, simple!. Overtake was done in series of short distance corners, it’s a case of now you see it and now you don’t. NK saw it coming fast and quickly moved over and drive on ripple strip (on the left) to let SV pass, SV has so much space on the right, what did he SV should do? let’s just let NK drove onto grass or gravel because he is a backmarkers and deserve it? “cause SV knows NK is now driving on ripple strip” I will moved just a bit more to the right so NK can get his 4 wheels back on the tarmac at least?, if SV have some respect for the backmarkers, there will be no incident, either ways, A smart driver not only have eyes in front of him but also behind him, that is not to touch other but smart enough not to let other touch his regardless who is at fault, they all end in tears if the situation is regarded as avoidable and it is, to both and not one driver. the rule is on SV side and he can cry about it, but at the end of the day he lost 4th place & valuable points plus call other idiot is saying now I can do that because I am better??? “IT’S NOT”.

  • Matthys

    In regards to Horners’ comment on the backmarkers responsibility to move out of the way of the leaders. In the 15 years I’ve been racing Formula Ford, it was always our leaders’ responsibility to FIND a way past a backmarker.

  • Shibby Forza Ferrari

    De la Rosa won’t have these problems, he’s a much more experienced driver that has respect in the paddock and gives respect back. Narain, respect isn’t something you can buy, like a drivers seat! Just look at the conversations before the race in Malaysia and you’ll see that they are all talking to each other in groups off 4 or 5 and NK is standing there alone like an orphan, body language says way more than all the discussions afterwards.