Sebastian Vettel’s challenge on the 2017 Formula One World Championship hangs in the balance.
On Monday the FIA will meet to discuss the incidents involving the four-time F1 champ and his title rival Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
It all came down to the safety car periods.
The first safety car saw Hamilton blast clear of the field and pull out a tremendous lead over Vettel, it was noted by his engineer that he may have been close to beating the safety car to the safety car line, not that Hamilton thought so.
So for the second safety car, Hamilton may have delayed his launch out of turn 16 a fraction, to perhaps not leave things quite so tight.
Vettel, keen to not be left behind was anticipating Hamilton to stamp on the accelerator, he didn?t and Vettel dully crashed into the back of him.
The German claimed the Brit brake testing him, telemetry and common sense would suggest otherwise, but in a rage of either fury or sheer embarrassment Vettel pulled up alongside Hamilton and rammed his Ferrari into the side of the Mercedes.
Vettel was handed a ten-second stop/go penalty and three penalty points on his license for the incident, something he immediately claimed after the race had been unfair.
Most people within Formula One, either in the paddock, the media and even the spectators believed that Vettel’s penalty was actually far too lenient.
According to respected German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Vettel was indeed close to being disqualified.
The ten-second stop/go penalty was issued due by the race stewards due to ‘fear of intervening too much in the World Championship with a draconian penalty. A sports commissioner said: ‘It was a narrow decision: Vettel was very near a black flag.’ as quoted by Sky Sports.
? Formula 1 (@F1) June 26, 2017
The FIA according to formula1.com on Monday, over a week after the incident to discuss if further action should be taken.
A statement read: ‘Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday July 3, the FIA will further examine the causes of the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary.
‘A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix (7 ? 9 July).’
So what could the FIA now do?
The obvious decision would be a disqualification.
That would see Vettel lose his fourth place finish at Baku and the 12 points he earned from his recovery drive.
Vettel would then stand on 141 points.
Hamilton would consequently be promoted from fifth to fourth, gaining 2 points, which would then stand him also on 141 points.
OOOOOOh that’s interesting!
Other options could be a race suspension, a fine or nothing at all.
But if former FIA president Max Mosley’s opinion is also held by the current incumbents then a DQ could be on the cards.
‘I will certainly not make friends with Ferrari but fact is fact, My recommendation would have been to take Vettel out of the race and bring the whole matter to the World Council to negotiate.
‘From my point of view, it is intolerable that you behave as Vettel has done.
‘If he did that on the road he would lose his licence.’ he told Sky Sports.