Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Vettel faces penalty threat over red flag incident

2018 United States Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has been summoned to the stewards for allegedly failing to slow sufficiently when the red flags were shown during practice.

The FIA confirmed Vettel is under investigation for an “alleged breach of Article 31.6 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

“Car five [Vettel] failing to slow sufficiently during a red flag period in practice one at 10:40.” The session was stopped to allow the marshals to clear gravel from the track which had been left there by Charles Leclerc after he went off.

Two drivers have received three-place grid penalties when they were found not to have slowed enough for red flags on previous occasions this year. Daniel Ricciardo did when he was caught speeding during second practice for the Australian Grand Prix and Esteban Ocon was during practice for the last race in Japan.

Vettel previously received a three-place grid penalty in Austria wen he was judged to have impeded Carlos Sainz Jnr during qualifying.

Vettel’s radio messages from the red flag period

To Vettel: Red flag.
To Vettel: Mode slow to come in.
To Vettel: Watch for gravel there, turn nine.
Vettel: Why is the red flag?
To Vettel: I guess it’s for the gravel, they did not confirm.
To Vettel: And do not overtake.
To Vettel: They are cleaning the track now.

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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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18 comments on “Vettel faces penalty threat over red flag incident”

  1. Nothing to do with the article, but I really like the photo of Vettel in the car. It reminds me of a lot of photos from the 90’s where you see a helmet and immediately know the driver. The helmet rules regarding changes of designs were brought in because of him and a few others and yet he has ended up with a really iconic design. Reminds me of Coulthard’s helmet.

    1. Great point @broke84, and I also fully agree that’s a very iconic design, even timeless to some extent, and it’s a great foto as well.

      Man, sure hope the championship isn’t decided on a Friday already, that would be a bummer!

  2. Wouldn’t be the first time he’s failed to slow down sufficiently for a red flag. He failed to do so in Canada in 2015 (FP3), and worse, even overtook one driver (Roberto Merhi of Manor) in the process, which rightfully led to a quite a significant grid-drop penalty for him.

  3. they will do nothing today…just a reprimand watch annd see

    1. You must be confusing him with a Mercedes driver.

    2. Man you were 100% wrong on that one…

  4. I’m starting to think he just wants this championship over and done with …

    1. I am thinking the same thing.
      His employer does not seem too pleased with his performance lately.
      He is not too happy with them for the pit actions, choosing the wrong tires.
      There is the impending young competition joining him next year.
      He is seeing that his main competition, is performing calmly and collectively, leaving him behind.

      Hope they all have fun in Trumpland !

  5. Not quite the risks you want to be taking for the championship, Vettel!

  6. He got away with murder when the FIA “didn’t wanna deceide the championships”, now that he’s out of contention he’s due some penalties…

    It’s only fair.

  7. One rule for Ferrari, another one for everyone else. I’m sure if it was Max a penalty would have been announced instantly. I hope he gets a gird drop as he deserves it.

    1. anon-e moss, I know that people want to play it like that, but the way that the FIA treated Ocon in the Japanese GP when he sped in a red flag zone shows that is not the case.

      In that situation, the notice to the team was issued at 14:11 local time for a meeting with the stewards at 16:45, giving the team just over two and a half hours to prepare. The final decision by the stewards was not made until 17:39, nearly an hour after the start of the meeting – all in all, nearly three and a half hours passed between the initial summons being issued to Ocon and the decision to impose a penalty being made.

      Are you going to imply that it is a case of “one rule for Ocon, another one for everybody else” because the FIA didn’t instantly impose a penalty on him?

  8. Well, if he did that a penalty is a must, hence what happened to other drivers before.

  9. red flag is like a red light…you disobey it with some consequences…F1 is about safe driving…etc..what message is it if drivers can get away when they don’t follow the rules…..

  10. Mode slow to come in.

    My guess is “Mode slow” would do something like adjust the accelerator and brake pedal mappings so as to make driving the car at a slower speed safer, and “…to come in” means to drive the car in Slow Mode to the Pit Lane entrance, then exit the race track. If so, then this should have been a formality and that Vettel would have known he had to do all those things as soon as the Red Flag was displayed, and especially when he was told “Red Flag” on the RT.

  11. Can’t wait to see the ruling on this one.

  12. These are usually a slam dunk as you can’t have a valid reason for doing it. The fact it’s been noted must mean there’s evidence he went too quick. But do the FIA want to have Vettel starting 4th or lower in the USA where they are trying to grow the brand ? Absolutely not ! The delay in issuing a penalty can only be to try avoid a penalty which is sad as its a safety rule. I’ll watch this one with interest but know I won’t be surprised with the outcome.

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