Sebastian Vettel, Pascal Wehrlein, Sepang, 2017

No investigation over Vettel’s steering wheel error because it wasn’t reported

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel was not investigated for failing to replace his steering wheel following his crash after the end of the Malaysian Grand Prix because it wasn’t reported to the stewards.

The Ferrari driver failed to leave the steering wheel attached to his car after his collision with Lance Stroll on the slow-down lap. Vettel initially replaced the steering wheel then went back to retrieve it before taking a lift back to the pits on Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Sepang International Circuit, 2017
2017 Malaysian GP in pictures
This was potentially in contravention of article 22.5 of the sporting regulations which states: “A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the ERS shut down and with the steering wheel in place.”

Although the stewards did investigate the collision between Vettel and Stroll, and cleared both drivers, they did not examine why Vettel failed to reattach his steering wheel.

“We didn’t look at that,” FIA steward Garry Connelly told the BBC. “It wasn’t reported to us so we haven’t looked at it.”

The stewards receive reports of potential incidents from the race director, Charlie Whiting, who in turn can receive complaints from competitors.

This is not the first time a potential infraction has been overlooked because it wasn’t reported at the time. During the Chinese Grand Prix weekend Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez were given penalties for failing to show up in time for the pre-race performance of the national anthem, but Esteban Ocon’s late arrival was not noticed.

The last driver to be penalised for failing to replace the steering wheel on a car was Pastor Maldonado during the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix weekend. He was given a reprimand.

Vettel currently has five penalty points on his licence. He reached a peak of nine points following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but has deducted four since then as his penalties from last year’s British and Malaysian Grands Prix have expired.

2017 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 132 comments on “No investigation over Vettel’s steering wheel error because it wasn’t reported”

    1. In all fairness, when a car retires in the dying stages of a race and isn’t recovered before the fans get out on track, usually the car is picked apart by the fans, and I’m sure a steering wheel would be one of the first items to disappear

      1. LOL I WANT ONE!!

      2. Someone could have taken F1 2017 to another level. 😂

        1. joe pineapples
          3rd October 2017, 10:55

          hehe

      3. Seb actually took his steering wheel with him and put it into the sauber car.

        1. Wehrlein was amazed about all the extra buttons: Bump left, Bump right etc. :)

          1. Very good!! :O)

          2. nice one!

      4. So true! And remember what an F1 steering wheel costs: upwards of $60.000. That’s more expensive than the average brand new car.

        On the subject: although I think Vettel shouldn’t be penalised for taking the steering wheel with him, I do think the FIA needs to take matters into their own hands more often. Perez’s first corner incident in Singapore wasn’t reported which is why he got away with it, Ocon was told during the Malaysian GP to get on the radio for Stroll hitting him while that was extremely obvious (he said so himself) and now this incident of Vettel.

        Imagine if the police doesn’t do anything unless it’s reported… “Yeah, we saw you running a red light at 120 mph, but nobody reported it”.

        1. It’s like football where players don’t get fouls unless they fall on the floor and roll about like their leg has been blown off! I’ve seen enough players try and stay on their feet and nothing gets given – the next time someone stands near them, they fall on the floor and get a foul.

          Now in F1, the drivers are expected to complain over the radio. If they don’t, it’s viewed as though nothing happened. What does that result in? Drivers constantly moaning about everything in the hope someone else will get a penalty! Yet again – well done F1.

          1. joe pineapples
            3rd October 2017, 13:43

            Couldn’t agree more. They have banks of screens to monitor the race from every angle. I thought that was their job to spot something themselves and act upon it if necessary. More staff/eyes needed I guess.

          2. Just like the WWE. You can kick an opponent between the legs and win a title, so long as the ref doesn’t see. It’s all for entertainment after all. Sport plays no part in either.

        2. So the big question is, who then reported Hamilton’s head rest to the stewards in Baku?

          1. good one! I really like to know this too.
            Also who reports the Black Flag scenario on a car.

          2. Commentators

      5. That is not true. The track is cleared before fans are allowed out on track after the race.

      6. That, is a lie.

    2. Will they try to investigate? I have been reading some speculation that he did crash on purpose to avoid something.

      1. Sounds like rubbish to me. He couldn’t have done, there’s no way he could control Stroll’s car from his cockpit. Regardless of who was to blame, it took both drivers to collide

        1. He dont need to control Stroll, just know that it is Stroll and drive close will do.

      2. @krichelle From anyone credible?

        1. Sure there was this one guy on the internets…

        2. Like Darrell Waltrip blowing his engine after winning the ’85 NASCAR All Star Race?

          https://youtu.be/czedEZFPogM

      3. what would be ‘avoidable’?

      4. Strange things: 1. Vettel’s sudden loss of pace (5 second lap difference in 5 laps after he failed to get past Ricciardo, with the team telling it was then or never); 2. The collision with Stroll; 3. Taking the steering wheel.

        OK, I don’t buy into crashing on purpose to get a free gear box change. Or crashing on purpose full-stop (given he really was relying on Stroll driving into him). But the lap times were weird, so too the need to abandon any attempt to pass Ricciardo, despite the points and championship at stake. What was the explanation for that?

        1. Maybe he was borderline on having enough fuel left for the FIA to test? I’ve read elsewhere that fuel was part of the reason why his pace dropped later on in the race.

          1. Also tyres might fallen off the peak, this “Golden boy” was on SS tyres for 2nd part of the race compared to Softs on every one else around him.

          2. As I understand it, Seb was losing time behind Bottas so he was pitted for the undercut, but it was too early. Then his SS tyres gave up the ghost some 8 laps before the race was over

        2. his tyres were done.

        3. Ferrari reported there wasn’t enough fuel to push anymore.

    3. There was an interesting discussion about this in the roundup comments. Personally I don’t see any reason why it might be too late to investigate it now (or when they are set up in Japan). Having said that, this all seems really harsh on Vettel.

      It’s hard to tell from the footage as we didn’t get to see Stroll’s onboard, but it looked pretty clear it wasn’t Vettel’s fault. It’s a shame the FIA aren’t allowing a new gearbox, that ruins the spirit of racing (in my humble opinion) and makes the championship fight even worse – something which the stewards / FIA are normally very keen on not interfering with

      1. Sorry, but why should they allow him a free gearbox change?

        Has he not gotten away with enough so far this season?

        1. No and even if he had that has nothing to do with this.

          1. Oh but it does.

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              3rd October 2017, 16:58

              It has no relevance at all.

            2. Topless Robot Nun
              3rd October 2017, 17:10

              Yeah and Sebastian has 9 letters and Lance Stroll has 11. Coincidence? And what about JFK’s pyramids on the moon and fluoride chemtrails?

        2. I wouldn’t penalize a driver for past non penalized errors but if you grant a new gearbox to someone because he crashed you’d have to give at least two gearboxes to the drivers that made no errors. I don’t see any reason to make a favour to a driver that crashed on his own. They allowed Haas to work in parc ferme on Grosjean’s car but I doubt they gave it more allocations.

        3. SV has not ‘gotten away with’ anything other than in the eyes of LH and non-SV fans. He has been penalized appropriately for his few indiscretions and one does not otherwise get penalized for racing incidents. But hey, at least it’s cool that SV poses that much of a threat that LH fans desire to see him penalized beyond reason in order to help their man.

          1. Man stop it! We all know Seb’s punishment for what he did in Baku was light and had that been Hamilton, you would be here screaming for the harshest penalty possible.

            Seb got off light especially after what he did in Mexico. No one wants to admit it, but Seb has been unhinged for nearly 2 seasons now.

            1. That’s just it…we don’t ‘all’ know Seb’s punishment was light, no I wouldn’t be ‘screaming’ if it was LH, and I don’t consider Seb as ‘unhinged’ any more than I thought LH was with his conspiracy talk implying sabotage on his team last year.

            2. I am with KGN11, Vettel has become unhinged. F1 is so focused on “the show” that I don’t get a sporting sense from them anyone. I love watching F1 and I am entertained by it, but if you were to tell me it was fake, I might believe you. Did you that the WWF was fake? I was shocked for weeks when I found out.

            3. Don’t get us started about leniency on cross-country races in Mexico

          2. @robbie He’s been penalised, yes. But not appropriately. The response to the Baku was disgustingly lenient.

            As for this incident, if he needs to change a gearbox, then he gets a penalty. Same rules as everyone else. If he doesn’t, then all good.

            1. @fluxsource It is your opinion that the response was ‘disgustingly lenient,’ but obviously those inside F1 disagree…the ones who examine these things with all the inside data.

              I use MS’s whack on JV in the season deciding race in 97, at racing speed, not at safety car speed, and getting a lesser penalty for that than SV got for Baku, as a reference for what was disgustingly lenient.

            2. @robbie I think the context of that Schumacher move needs to be kept in mind. The FIA needed a deterrent to stop drivers trying to take their title rivals out deciding races, which is why he was excluded from the championship.

              Much more on that to come in the final part of the 1997 season retrospective, of course…

            3. @keithcollantine Yes it will be interesting to read the season retrospective on this issue along with all your other wonderful work overall.

              My recollection of the days ahead of Jerez 97 are as follows. Because Irvine had been acting as MS’s rear gunner particularly against JV throughout the season, and Frentzen as JV’s to a lesser extent, but obviously with the potential of being a factor for that last race, Max warned all the drivers that any interference with the Championship duel between MS and JV would result in a 3-race ban at the start of the 98 season. So in my eyes what bigger interference could have occurred than the one MS enacted on JV?

              Yet exclusion from the Championship was all MS got. But being able to retain his wins and poles and points meant to me that exclusion meant absolutely nothing. I fail to see how the penalty MS got was a deterrent to anything, the way it was applied to MS. Not arguing with you of course…I’m sure that was what they thought they would appear to be doing.

              The FIA determined their fave man acted ‘instinctually’ lol, like all drivers faux pas before or since couldn’t then be deemed the same way, and instead of the 3 race ban that would have truly been a deterrent for this type of behaviour, he got to keep his numbers for the record books, and got to start the 98 season intact.

              OK so I guess if MS had succeeded in taking out JV and gone on to win Jerez and thus the WDC (although JV’s elimination would have done it without a MS win) his exclusion would have meant the WDC would have gone to JV? Or would it have? If it was ‘instinctual’ would they have left MS the WDC? If they excluded him would they have also let him keep that win too, and those points?

              This was massive protectionism of their made man MS. As to a deterrent…rarely does a driver come along that would consider whacking a guy off the track for the WDC as an honourable and successful way to win, that he would get away with. Most have a built-in deterrence called morals and ethics and sporting behaviour and would already know ‘instinctively’ that they wouldn’t get away with it. MS’s instinct was that he would.

            4. Disgustingly lenient is a bit strong. There was no real risk to either driver. Had they been doing 180mph at the time then it would be a very different story – that would have warranted revocation of Vettel’s superlicence. But they weren’t. Vettel just needs a bit less of the red mist sometimes – something he really should have figured out by this stage in his career. But then there’s something both Vettel and Hamilton have in common – being catapulted very quickly into a top team without serving the traditional lengthy apprenticeship lower down the grid. Maybe a result of that is that it takes them a bit longer to mature. I forget which season it was – 11? 12? – when Hamilton spent a lot of time overdriving his car, bumping into people, particularly Massa, in the apparent belief that he should be in front by right, giving the impression that he hadn’t grown or developed as a driver since his first season. It wasn’t until his second championship that he really came of age, so to speak.

          3. SV has not ‘gotten away with’ anything other than in the eyes of LH and non-SV fans.

            @Robbie You could re structure your sentence so it’s easier to follow, something like: SV has not ‘gotten away with’ anything in the eyes SV fans. I totally agree with it.

            Jokes aside, it’s directly violating the written rule and everyone sees it, so it’s understandable that people demands an investigation because otherwise why you even bother tell others to follow the rules. Why you must make this “fans” problem? And what we want to be investigated is not the contact, that already ruled as racing incident and case closed. What we want to be investigated is why he not leave the steering wheel attached in the car, which as the article said is blatantly skipped by stewards because “its not reported”. The most likely outcome as history shows us is just reprimand anyway, which does not affecting the championship unless Vettel do more silly things that earned him more reprimands.

      2. He’s just got a brand new power unit with no effective grid penalty, what more does he deserve.

        1. Yeah because he (as in Ferrari) is the only one who has taken advantage of that loophole. It’s a wonder he doesn’t just always start from the back of the grid.

        2. Whilst not strictly apples for apples, he did have to start at the back of the grid to even make the power unit replacement a feasible idea. I’m sure he and Ferrari would have preferred to see out the rest of the season with his old power units and complete qualifying and almost certainly bag themselves 13 more points on race day in the process.

        3. What type of ignorant comment is this?
          I’m sure if luck had asked Vettel he would have rather started on pole and won the race than start from the back and had a free engine change.

      3. but it looked pretty clear it wasn’t Vettel’s fault

        It looked pretty clear from Vettel’s onboard that it was at least partial Vettel’s fault, which is what the stewards found also (and they have all the telemetry they dont need to rely on onboards at all).

        1. Funny, I specifically remember the stewards saying no one was at fault. But you obviously seem to have a better view on the matter.

        2. Please take a look yourself before relying on “internet FIA telemetry”. You haven’t seen any telemetry so don’t believe everythin you read. Turning left on a left turn? What’s wrong with that. Trust your eyes. Look the onboard video from the following car and return to share your thoughts.

    4. There was an interesting discussion about this in the roundup comments

      Sorry, to be clear I meant about reporting things for them to be investigated

    5. Connelly is such a joke!

    6. This ties in well with what Charlie said in the driver’s briefing video of Malaysian grand prix where he openly admitted that he depends on drivers and teams reporting incidents to him rather than he looking for incidents himself.

      1. However when it involves an incident like that, it’s something that he’ll be looking at and would’ve clearly seen that Seb took the wheel.

        1. Yeah big conspiracy going on. Nobody thought it worth ratting on SV/Ferrari and ensuring he got a mere reprimand like was last administered in 2014 in spite of others doing it since then. Or were you hoping for the absent imaginary race ban(s) from his tap on LH that can only mean SV/FIA favouritism and that still keep you up at night?

          1. Lewis leading the championship, go ahead and be mad at that.

            1. No I’m fine with it. Not a fan, but it is what it is. Haven’t had a driver I’m passionate about since JV, but if anyone comes close for me now it’s ultra-exciting Max.

            2. Rosberg beating his team mate to win the Championship, go ahead and make excuses.

            3. In a car he should have been leading with since Australia…

              Try something better next time.

            4. dbHenry he beat Derek Daly :p

        2. However when it involves an incident like that, it’s something that he’ll be looking at and would’ve clearly seen that Seb took the wheel.

          Absolutely. Given the paucity of onboard and trackside images the stewards will have been looking at all the video evidence, including removal of the steering wheel that occurred very soon after the incident. It’s like the stewards didn’t want to penalise Vettel, or more likely Ferrari, imagine? I never saw that guv, also didn’t see Seb ride back on the Sauber either, perhaps the medical car refused him a perfectly safe lift? /sarc/

          1. They might simply have deemed that since the race was over there was no urgency to clear the car and remove a local yellow or even a vsc or actual safety car asap so they could get back to racing. Thus no urgency to have a steering wheel there when they weren’t going to be able to push the car off anyway and would be in no hurry to deal with the stricken car.

            1. All perfectly sensible comments, but the fact that the stewards claimed not to have been asked to look at the incidents because they weren’t reported is what people are rolling their eyes at. The cynic in me says they didn’t want to create a precedent that prevented them penalising another team for the same offence in future.

    7. Vettel is accumulating a lot of errors lately. He got lucky to escape what would have been a stupid penalty.

      1. A reprimand for the steering wheel would be inconsequential, and he may yet have a 5 spot grid penalty. How is he lucky that Stroll hit him? Stroll being the one who moved right on a left hander…SV being the one who was merely negotiating a left hand turn well wide of Stroll. Obviously that’s the way I see it still. Stroll was the one lucky to not get a penalty.

        1. How is he lucky that Stroll hit him? Stroll being the one who moved right on a left hander…SV being the one who was merely negotiating a left hand turn well wide of Stroll

          Stroll and Vettel moved towards each other. Both were responsible. It is perfectly clear from Vettels onboard that he was closing to the inside kerb when the collision occured. They hit each other, end of.

          1. Lol, I’m guessing Vettel should have turned right at a left hander like Stroll.

            What is going to be most funny will be Vettel coming back to win the title, guys like you will have nowhere to hide.
            Keep up with the harping on about Vettel and not focus on Hamilton.

    8. This crossed my mind at the time, but a steering wheel on a car in that state would be of no practical help whatsoever. I doubt any of the marshals even noticed it was missing.

      1. @hey It won’t, although it might make small confusion if the marshall are trained to expect the steering wheel is there, but overall I don’t think it matters. The important thing is this is blatantly violating the rules. A proper investigation should occur and Vettel/Ferrari can use that argument to their case. Then they can just give reprimand or small fine or other slap in the wrist penalty, but it send the message that the incident is acknowledged and the rules is upheld. Skipping it like what happening right now just sending the signal that they’re still in Ferrari International Assistance mode.

        1. @sonicslv imagine the situation about Ham and SC pass issue, and they went bananas to prove Ham lied, taking multiple witnesses and video evidence and radio communication! And Vettel doing it in plain view! worse than the steering wheel is he took a ride on the side of a car and not in a SC/Medical car! Both are regulation violations that require certain reprimand or penalty… Just because he may get a penalty for gear box doesnt mean they should forgive him for these incidents! FIA is complete garbage and blatantly ignoring clear incidents…

          1. You can clearly see on the video that Vettel did try to reattach his wheel but couldn’t. He says that he then took it with him because he was worried about leaving it unattached in the car (he originally places it on the seat), they are very expensive items. If this had been investigated the stewards may well have accepted this, they would have the onboard video to confirm his attempts to reattach the wheel.

            Accepting a lift from Wehrlein did not break any rules. Drivers haver done this before without being penalised. on the occasion that Webber recived a penalty it was for re-entering the track without permission (after he had previously left the track) not for riding on Alonso’s car.

            1. You seriously believed he can’t attach the wheel? The same wheel that he just took off few seconds earlier, from a completely intact F1 cockpit, from an accident that doesn’t even damage the car sidepod?

            2. @sonicslv

              So you seriously believe that Vettel is lying, and just faked to try to reattach the steering wheel, then faked having the intention of leaving it in the seat, only to take it with him … Why exactly would he do that?

            3. @skylien Yes I do. Why? Because there’s no reason to have a damaged steering wheel coupling mechanism. A driver muscle memory will have them straighten up the steering wheel before releasing it, not when it turned, not to mention their arms will be in awkward position to release the steering wheel when it turned. And most importantly, the steering wheel mechanism isn’t that fragile that little tap can damage it. Heck, we’ve seen countless more severe accident and they can reattach the steering wheel with no problem.

              Why he would do that? It could be because to prevent theft, or maybe more importantly, to protect their launch mechanism. Remember MP4/18 third pedal secret is broken out because a journalist sneak a photo of it from Mika’s car wreck. Ferrari definitely doesn’t want the same thing happen to them. Both just speculation of course, since the exact reason could be only known by Vettel and Ferrari.

            4. @sonicslv
              Unbelievable that you think Vettel would go to such lengths faking things to make them appear genuine. Especially since you have no evidence what so ever. Everything can make technical problems.

              Also if you were right, then both Ferrari guys would need to do that each and every time they have a crashed car, yet they don’t, why is that in your view?

            5. @skylien This is F1, it’s very naïve if you think the team or driver never lied or going length to cover up something. You’re right, I don’t have evidence, and thus I never declare that what I said is the truth. What I said is a plausible scenario which I think pretty consistent with what usually happens with other drivers in similar scenario. Ask yourself this, what’s more unbelievable: a) a mechanism that we practically never heard of failing suddenly failing without apparent trigger, or b) Vettel is simply not telling the truth?

              And why both of them not doing that each time? If we go theft prevention route, it’s simply because this time it’s at the end of the race where people can enter the track. Obviously marshalls is trusted to not steal from the car so if it happens during the race it would be no concern. If we go car launch system route, well simply because Ferrari only have 3 DNF this year, Kimi in Spain and both Ferraris in Singapore. Both happens at first lap, which gives the team lot of time to secure it. That’s my view.

            6. @sonicslv

              Don’t misstate what I am saying. I have not said that there never is any lying or cover ups happening. Do not move goal posts.

              I am tired of people making up so called “plausible” stories/conspiracy theories about things they have no evidence of. You can make up millions of “plausible” stories. Without good evidence it is just childish and quite probably shows that you just don’t like or that you even hate Vettel. This is a red flag and such people use every opportunity to smear people they don’t like by interpreting everything possible (Plausible or not) in the worst possible way.

              And aside from all that, in my view your theory is everything but plausible. It really doesn’t make any sense for the reasons I told you.

            7. @skylien When did I move the goal posts? When did I claim YOU said there never any lying or cover ups? I just responding to your claim (which ironically you the one who tried to put words into my mouth) which is:

              So you seriously believe that Vettel is lying, and just faked to try to reattach the steering wheel, then faked having the intention of leaving it in the seat, only to take it with him …

              Unbelievable that you think Vettel would go to such lengths faking things to make them appear genuine.

              My theories is based on historical fact. Tell me, is there any occurrence in the past where after accident, where an F1 cockpit looks untouched and remain intact, but the steering wheel mechanism broken? Based on so many accidents happened before, I think it’s logical to assume the same thing would still apply here, which is the steering wheel mechanism should be still intact.

              Without good evidence it is just childish and quite probably shows that you just don’t like or that you even hate Vettel.

              I’m not hating Vettel, look at my first comment, I just asking my it’s not investigated and even suggesting to put a “slap in the wrist” penalty to close the case. I just don’t believe he can’t reattach the wheel if he want to and put some motive as why he want to do that. And somehow you offended by this.

              And aside from all that, in my view your theory is everything but plausible. It really doesn’t make any sense for the reasons I told you.

              Finally, what reasons you ever told me? You just attacking my ideas subjectively. Even after I entertained you by answering your questions, you never actually responding and just changing the topic. Who’s always moving the goal posts huh?

            8. @sonicslv

              Ok that is my last reply:

              1: You misstated what I was saying clearly! “This is F1, it’s very naïve if you think the team or driver never lied or going length to cover up something.” I have said nothing that would point to that conclusion.

              2: On the other hand I did no such thing as moving goul posts. I drew the ONLY logical conclusion from what you were saying and formulated it even as a question, to which you clearly answered with “Yes I do.”

              I am not interested discussing any of the rest if you are not even understanding the above to points.

            9. @sonicslv
              sorry for the spelling I mean of course:
              – “goal”
              – “two points”

            10. @skylien You said: “Unbelievable that you think Vettel would go to such lengths faking things to make them appear genuine.
              I reply with: “This is F1, it’s very naïve if you think the team or driver never lied or going length to cover up something.
              Look at the emphasis. I’m saying the same thing you bring up first just with different words. Are “faking things and make them appear genuine” is not “lying” or “covering up”?

              You made it a question and I answer it as bluntly as I could. I even write my train of thought. You the one who always brings in new topic and moving the goal post. And of course you still avoid to make clear answer to my question. I seriously don’t even know why I bother to reply anymore.

          2. @mysticus Exactly. We don’t demanding Vettel to get grid penalty or time added to his race or whatever that directly interfere with the championship either (aside from the gearbox change penalty if Ferrari decides they have to change it). Just properly investigate it and give him a reprimand or fine and the case can be closed. Some people just don’t understand the problem is not about attacking Vettel or Ferrari, but its about the rules that not being enforced.

            1. @sonicslv Main problem is the lack of interest to penalize some teams/drivers and ignoring their super clear no ifs/buts straight penalty/reprimand situations, while penalizing others for much less!

            2. I can believe that it is easier to release a steering wheel with a quick release mechanism than to reattach it.

              The steering wheel needs to be correctly alignment for the locking mechanism to engage and secure the wheel. This is to ensure that the steering wheel is always on straight and can’t be attached offset. So if the steering is at e.g. 30 degrees the steering wheel would have to be reattached at 30 degrees. This appears to have been the problem:

              Vettel: “I couldn’t get the steering wheel back on because the steering column was completely turned”

              The car is also supposed to be left in neutral but drivers are not always able to comply with this and I can’t recall a driver ever getting a penalty because they were unable to put the car into neutral. I would expect the stewards to take account of whether a driver removes his steering wheel and walks away from his car without any attempt to replace his wheel or whether he tries to comply with the regulations and reattach his wheel but is unable to do so.

          3. Because Toyota and Trulli reported it having listened to radio chatter.

    9. Ferrari International Assistance is a Joke

      1. I agree. They’ve failed to help Ferrari win anything of significance for 10 years now.

    10. Esteban Ocon’s failure to report on time for the Chinese Grand Prix was reported at the time. He escaped penalty because he was stuck in a Canal+ interview at the time, and would have got the exact same penalty (for failing to be available to journalists on request) had he aborted it to go to the ceremony.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        4th October 2017, 16:37

        In that instance then surely the journalist concerned should know that a driver needs to attend the ceremony, so they shouldn’t request an interview around that time and give the driver – in this case Ocon – an impossible choice between refusing an interview or being late for the national anthem

    11. This is the equivalent of a football referee only acting if the other team complains. What a joke! Fair play to Vettel, it’s not his problem race control can’t co trolling the race without the help of other teams complaining. No message to Charlie required!

      1. This is the equivalent of a football referee only acting if the other team complains. What a joke!

        Which is why players never exaggerate falling and rolling after a wee contact, etc :p

        On a more serious note though human referees are…human. Less than perfect, unfortunately. Sometimes unexcuse-ably so.

        1. You miss the point. The principle that someone else has to report it before it is investigated is the issue. Human or otherwise, that’s just plain wrong. The FIA should govern the sport, not the teams.

        2. I’m OK with the option of teams reporting problems existing. I’m not OK with it being the only option for getting anything done.

    12. There is clear video evidence. Can’t there be a suo moto investigation?
      Then there is the question of inconsistency. Alonso and Webber were given penalties, why shouldn’t there be any penalty/reprimand for Vettel and Wehrlien?

      Article 43.3 of sporting regulations say: After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc fermé without any unnecessary delay, without receiving any object whatsoever and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary). Any classified car which cannot reach the post race parc fermé under its own power will be placed under the exclusive control of the marshals who will take the car to the parc fermé. If this is a rigorous rule and read jointly with article 30.5 (A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the KERS shut
      down and with the steering wheel in place), then shouldn’t Vettel have entrusted his stricken car in the prescribed manner with the marshals?

      1. Webber and Alonso’s penalties are explained here:
        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/09/22/webber-to-get-grid-penalty-after-lift-from-alonso/

        The stewards ruled Webber had “entered the track without the marshal’s permission between the commencement of the formation lap and the time when the last car enters parc ferme” and handed him a reprimand.

        Alonso was also given a reprimand for driving “in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person”. The stewards added “two cars had to take avoiding action” when Alonso stopped to pick Webber up.

        There were reports at the time that it wasn’t the act of giving a lift that the FIA had a problem with, Autosport said “the FIA would almost certainly not have taken any action had the pick-up been conducted in a safe way”. It was Webber ignoring instructions from an official who told him not to go on to the track and Alonso causing two other cars to take avoiding action that the FIA had a problem with.

        Wehrlein was the last car there were only the course cars behind him, no one had to take avoiding action and Vettel was still on the track.

      2. Technically Pascal breached the “without receiving any object whatsoever” rule, but it’s not been enforced regarding fellow driver-passengers before and this would be a pretty bad time to start. No marshal’s instructions were ignored (unlike the Webber-Alonso situation) and the course cars did not need to take any avoiding action.

    13. I was actually amazed that he left Werhlein, went back to his car for the wheel and then drove off with it. I find the excuse that he wanted to keep thieving fans away from the wheel to be absurd.

      If it’s not against the rules to ride shotgun on another car it should be. If the cool down lap is dangerous enough to have a collision where a car folds up like a lawn chair, it’s too dangerous for people to be riding on top of F1 cars. I suppose in this case, the offender assumes the risk.

      1. Pascal was the last car in the queue (as evidenced by the fact that all of the support cars were behind it). Who, exactly, would have hit the Sauber, assuming there is no Taki Inoue Monaco 1995 qualifying situation?

    14. Last year in Japan Mercedes didn’t report alleged blocking by Max on Lewis. Not getting a report didn’t bother Connelly to go to Mercedes in person to ‘advise’ them to report Max.

      This joke stinks.

    15. While I understand the principle of the rule, and I also find the principle of only investigating if someone complains troublesome, I thought that penalty (was it a reprimand?) for Alonso and Webber for the riding on a car being unsafe a bit over the top, and in this case clearly Vettel’s car wasn’t going to be steered anywhere anymore.

      So, an investigation would seem a bit overblown to me, and a drag. I do think though he’s a bit lucky not to get a reprimand for it (though unlucky with a possible 5-places griddrop for a stupid moment where he and Stroll weren’t paying attention, according to the FIA). And I also think that he needs to find focus better, if he’s to have a chance at winning the WDC this year.

      1. Though I just read on the Dutch RTL site that Ferrari didn’t find a fault with Vettel’s gearbox, so it looks like he’s lucky to actually escape any penalty then.

        1. Since Sergio is flinging pink-slips around Maranello at the moment, sorry, reorganizing, I would hate to be the guy responsible for deciding that the gearbox in a car that was turned into a Transformer in a wreck is perfectly fine. He might be finding his own way back from Japan if that transmission gives in.

      2. @bosyber

        I thought that penalty (was it a reprimand?) for Alonso and Webber for the riding on a car being unsafe a bit over the top

        A reprimand was issued but it was for Webber entering the track without permission from marshals, not for riding on the car:

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/09/24/webber-derides-comical-reprimand-following-alonso-lift/

        1. Thanks for correcting my faulty memory @keithcollantine :)

    16. More arbitrary judgement/rulings from the FIA. What a shock.

      1. Personally, I don’t know why everyone is so amazed with the FIAs statement. They’re just giving a lame excuse for helping Ferrari and Vettel out. Just like they did in Baku.

        I can’t wait to see the look on Vettels, Arrivabenes and Marchionnes face when they lose another championship once again.

        1. @todfod

          the look on Vettels, Arrivabenes and Marchionnes face

          Probably as special and amazing as Alonso in 2010 and 2012 – he lost the championship. He had such a good chance of winning. He drove really well. He was understandably disappointed.

          I assume you were expecting some room for Schadenfreude? Don’t recall that in those 2 years so why now?.

          1. @davidnotcoulthard

            The beauty of it this time around will be that despite sacking the terrible leader Montezmelo, the cancerous Alonso and the inefficient Dominecali they still haven’t been able to seal a championship. All the hype surrounding finger boy’s greatness, Arrivebene’s awesome management style and Marchionne’s leadership will be given a reality check.

            Alonso drove far better than Vettel has for Ferrari, yet he was treated as a villain by the time he left the team. It would be sweet to see history repeat itself, with Vettel falling short of the title. Eventually his relationship with Ferrari will turn sour, and then a new management and a new wonderkid come in to revive Ferrari’s title hopes.

            Ferrari’s circle of life.

            1. @todfod None of that would be on their face.

              All the hype surrounding finger boy’s greatness, Arrivebene’s awesome management style and Marchionne’s leadership will be given a reality check.

              terrible leader Montezmelo, the cancerous Alonso and the inefficient Dominecali

              Are you sure you didn’t make that one up?

              is Alonso really “cancerous”?, is Arrivabene really that “awesome”, is Montezemolo, despite funny “next year will be ours” statements, really that “terrible” (he was after all with Ferrari when MSC won his titles…though both with team Enstone and Ferrari)?

              Ferrari’s circle of life.

              Hmm, at this point it is sort of getting to a point of “let’s see who between Ferrari and McLaren will end their drought of WDCs and WCCs respectively” :)

        2. They’re not usually quite this bad at creating excuses for their actions…

    17. Michael Brown (@)
      3rd October 2017, 17:05

      Nothing unusual here. Vettel is fighting for the championship, so the FIA has to go soft on him to keep the championship close.

    18. It’s obvious: Vettel doesn’t get penalized because F1 has to have an exiting title race.

      Luckily it’s not as bad as the fake Mayweather/McGregor fight (yet).

    19. The last driver to be penalised for failing to replace the steering wheel on a car was Pastor Maldonado during the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix weekend. He was given a reprimand.

      Anyone saying penalize Vettel, what should the penalty be?
      A race ban? Grid penalty? Monetary fine? Reprimand?
      Going by what happened to a driver doing the same in the past, giving Vettel a reprimand for not replacing his wheel would not matter in any way. I don’t understand the lynch mentality towards Vettel and his wheel.

      1. Well obviously he should be excluded from the championship. So long as there’s still a mathematical chance of Vettel winning the championship any incident, doesn’t matter whose at fault, should see Vettel excluded.

        1. Lol, exactly what this so called justice brigade want!

        2. LOL, this hunt to try to get a penalty for Vettel for the steering wheel is as pathetic as the claims that his wheelbanging on LH at safety car speed was dangerous driving, aka someone could get killed… I mean if that was dangerous, as in “personel safety dangerous”, then all racing should be banned immediately. Vettel got a penalty for it and in Singapore he screwed up, forgetting that his championship fight was with Lewis, not with Max, and that will probably be one of the major reasons why Vettel will not be able to fight Lewis about the championship til the last race.

      2. A reprimand would be the appropriate penalty, as that is consistent with what generally happens in such situations. Sebastian already has a reprimand for Baku, so presumably it would make him more careful about his conduct over the last few races of the season (a third reprimand, for any reason, would result in a 10-place grid penalty).

        However, I believe that reprimand should be issued to Stroll (as he seemed to have caused the crash), or possibly both drivers (for undue carelessness) rather than Vettel alone.

        1. You are ignoring the possibility that an investigation might result in the stewards accepting that Vettel could not replace his steering wheel, in that case it would not be appropriate to issue any penalty.

      3. Well, a 30 days at jail could be fine.
        And, once back on track, first race without steer-wheel as refound.

      4. The so-called “lynch mentality is due to the fact that Todt determined that Vettel was on notice the remainder of the season and any further judgements where he flaunts rules or puts himself in an iffy position will go severely against him.

        So Singapore happens, nothing. Malaysia, nothing. Therefore, the lynch mentality.

        1. Vettel was warned about future incidents of the nature of Baku or Mexico last year, both occasions were he severley overreacted. Mistakes and misjudgements inevitably happen from time to time while racing and the FIA are not going to hold him to a different standard to other drivers for any involvement in what are regarded as standard incidents (in contrast to a Baku type of incident which would not be regarded as a normal incident).

          The Singapore and Malyasia collisions were both investigated and the decision was that no driver was wholly or predominately to blame (as in many incidents of contact this season) so of course there were no penalties for any of the drivers involved.

    20. Why didn’t SV just hop in the medical car which can clearly be seen just yards behind? I always got the impression Vettel prided himself on knowing the rules… he must have known that riding shotgun with Wehrlein might be contentious.

    21. I dont know what is going on with ferrari these days, too many reliablilty issues, mistakes from both drivers and drivers seems to be too easy on their mistakes and seems like they dont have hunger to win title , but look at max verstapan driving, body language and all, tells you every bit.

    22. Wow, thats pretty poor from the stewards if you ask me.

    23. Hahaha. This sounds like another FIA cop-out where Vettel is concerned. The sad thing is that I’m not even surprised anymore. I’d only be shocked if the FIA actually DID punish Vettel for any infraction.

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