Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2018

Vettel criticises “unfair” weighbridge call as stewards investigate him destroying scales

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel is under investigation by the stewards for “destroying” a set of scales at the weighbridge during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver was summoned to be weighed during Q2. However the FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported Vettel failed to turn his engine off and drove away under his own power, damaging the scales.

“During the second qualifying session at 15:27, the driver of car number five [Vettel], when called for weighing, refused to turn off the engine. The car was pushed onto the scales and weighed with running engine, which makes it difficult to get a stable result. After weighing the driver drove off the scales under its own power, and by doing so, he destroyed the scales.

“As the driver was not following the instructions and further compromised the continuation of the weighing procedure, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.”

Asked after the session about the investigation Vettel said: “They shouldn’t call us when the conditions are like that, I think it’s unfair if somebody gets called in. I wanted them to hurry up.”

Vettel was heard repeatedly telling the officials “come on, speed up” on his radio during the incident.

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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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57 comments on “Vettel criticises “unfair” weighbridge call as stewards investigate him destroying scales”

  1. Like Vettel, I looked down, was startled by what I saw, and went on a rampage destroying scales.

    The difference was that I saw my waistline, and the scales I destroyed were my own.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      10th November 2018, 18:28


    2. @phylyp, this is brilliant :D

  2. Once again Vettel doing whatever he feels is right regardless of how dangerous it could be.

    1. Wow, really? In a game where seconds make the difference stewards decide to stop Vettel and almost ruin his quali. Hamilton blocks two drivers and gets nothing. But you are mad that Vettel didn’t weigh properly? Paul di Resta can’t gather enough courage to ask Lewis about his incidents during his post-quali interview, but he immediately asks Seb. And the Sky commentary talking about “angry” Seb is just disgraceful.

    2. Another instance where he thinks he can decide whether the rules apply to him or not.

    3. Like Hamilton feeling he has to retaliate Sirotkin.

  3. Vettel should be penalized – there’s no argument against that, but it will be a travesty if Lewis isn’t penalized as well. I mean, which one is more serious? Destroying a weighbridge or nearly destroying another car?

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      10th November 2018, 18:18

      Destroying a weighbridge is more serious then not destroying another car. Pretty simple.

      1. No its not but ignoring Marshals instructions is.

      2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        10th November 2018, 18:29

        @passingisoverrated well said.

    2. No doubt Vettel did not behave adequately, but considering the delicate state of the championship, whoever made the call can t possibly have thought it was a wise thing to do.

      1. It’s random no one made the call

      2. As I understand, the calls are made by a computer at random.

        1. The mere fact that the computer is programmed to make calls like that is wrong. The rule is abhorrent.

          Calling a player DURING a game should never be acceptable.

          As much as it doesn’t entitled the sportsman to refuse authority of course.

          1. “Calling a player DURING a game”

            F1 races on saturdays now?

          2. No, the random computer that decide the calls is the closest we got to random and impartial calls. This is not isolated calling in qualifying, they’ve done this multiple times in previous qualifying for few years. Considering the circumstances, Vettel got a very bad timing but that doesn’t mean it’s fine to disregard all the rules.

          3. emuload, the reason why they deliberately call drivers at random for a weight check during the session is because it has proven to be a very effective means of stopping all of the teams from cheating and trying to run with an underweight car during qualifying.

            It used to be the case that stewards would not weight the car until after the session, but because there was a set procedure and the teams were weighed at a set time, the teams learned how to cheat the system and run an underweight car during qualifying itself, before then reballasting the car just before it had to be weighed again.

            Making the checking process random has proven to be a much more effective means of discouraging cheating – by making it random, it’s now significantly harder for the teams to cheat the system because they cannot predict when they will be weighed. The process only works if the teams know that they can be called in at any time and in any circumstances, irrespective of their prestige or championship position – indeed, the very act of choosing to give them greater leniency could be seen as interfering in the championship.

            If having a tight championship battle is a justification, then there are a lot of teams who are closer together in the WCC – Sauber and Toro Rosso are just three points apart, Force India only 15 points behind McLaren and Haas 30 behind Renault. Should we then exempt all of those teams from also being weighed under similar circumstances, as a random weight check could be even more damaging to them?

          4. ABHORRENT? Bit strong, no?

  4. Typical Vettel this season…

  5. The weighbridge is truly unfair, but the FIA has always done things this way, not caring about the situation on track, it is a routine for them, bureaucratic process. But Vettel needs to calm down not decide for the stewards what is the proper rule. The rules are the same for everyone

    1. Actually hes complaining that they arent…

      1. It’s Vettel. Complaining is his speech.

      2. His complaint is reasonable and frankly the mere idea that they can call someone while he is “in the race” is absurd.

        This still doesn’t even remotely justify the reckless behaviour he displayed though.

        1. F1 races on Saturday’s now?

        2. @emuload It’s always been the rule that before Q3, any car can be randomly called in at any time – at least, since the three-part qualifying method was done. Before that, it could be done at any time prior to the end of qualifying. It prevents teams using underweight cars to vault past sessions they didn’t deserve to (since it’s impractical to weigh every car – or even the 10/15 that qualify – between qualifying sessions).

  6. Crashettell … this time hitting cones. Deserves a penalty.

    1. Crashettel? That’s dire.

  7. Vettel should’ve never been called, I’m not saying what he did was right, but if he hadve missed out on a Q3 place because of it, I can already imagine the Tifosi

    1. The system is fair, as it is at pit entry, when you come back from a lap. It’s Ferrari that decided to roll the dice, break off the lap and come back in. Once again the great Ferrari and Vettel combo-disaster-bonus

      1. What disaster did Ferrari do because the strategy is superior in the way they played Mercedes and RBR?

        1. I don’t see it a superior strategy since they didn’t claim the pole. Merc should have better grip at early stages and will pull away enough if start will be a gd one, BOT might even jump VET as well, considering no one will take penalties.

  8. So what is the penalty Vettel will get?

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      10th November 2018, 18:37

      A grid drop possibly which is lucky for him. In the olden days he would have been excluded from qualifying and thus unable to take part in the race.

      I do think his behaviour was a little silly considering he can’t win the driver’s championship anymore and it’s not just his results that may/may not win the Constructors

      1. I have to admit, i was pretty surprised to see that they are doing this during a running Q session (i would completely understand if it was at the very end of any Q session). But yeah, guess I am not so much into rules :)
        Anyway, I can understand Vettel’s gesticulation knowing he had to switch to softs, threat of rain, etc.. At least he is entertaining people – for the good and for the bad. Everyone comments his behavior all the time..

    2. @milansson – penalty points for sure. Grid drop, maybe, depending on the mood of the stewards, they may let him off with a warning and a monetary penalty.

  9. Sebastian – your petulance is costing you race wins and Championships; grow up!

  10. RebelAngelFloyd (@)
    10th November 2018, 18:34

    Start alongside Stoffel?

  11. The report is incorrect: The car was pushed onto the scales
    No it wasn’t : He drove on the scales as well. Maybe destroying them at that moment allready.

  12. He shouldn’t of been called in. Why not weigh the cars after the qualifying was over? Lewis needs someone to have a word with him, that move he made could of been a huge accident.

    1. Yeah sure. Someone has to have a word with the newly crowned 5 time world champion for making 1 mistake out of a small number of mistskes he made this season.

      You need to have a word with yourself.

      1. Thanks for correcting me and putting in my place. I shall learn from this and endeavour to be better person in the future.

    2. Someone should have a word with Vettel, he almost ran over a member of the weighbridge staff

  13. He did switch the engine off though the video and audio clearly show that. He drove onto the scales, switched the engine off, rolled back off the scales started the engine, then drive over them to exit the weighbridge. The report to the stewards couldn’t be more wrong!

  14. If Vettel gets a penalty then so should Hamilton as well.

    1. Their offences were completely different.

      How is this sound logic?


    2. Why? Did Hamilton do the exact same thing ? I fail to see how the two are related in any way ?

  15. I think the arrogance of the FIA people at the weigh bridge reveals an awfull lot about that system. Why do they call in someone for weighing during a critical session, where the conditions are changing all the time? Secondly – when they call in someone during a running session, You could at least expect that they respect that we are audience to a sporting event, featuring some of the worlds fastest cars and drivers, and be ready, when they come in, hurry up and perform the procedure as fast as they can. What we saw today is a disgrace to FIA and an insult towards the audience.
    I bet Senna would have jumped out of the car and attacked the FIA guy’s delaying him:-)

    1. Completely agree, more penalty nonsense. The FIA guys running the weight bridge were a joke, slow and disorganised. Why is all the focus on giving drivers penalties, rather than the driving on track? I attribute much of this nonsense to the Sky commentary team. Pumping up non stories to fill the non stop tedium between the action and doing stupid, childish things on the F1 show. No wonder no one is watching. Who cares if drivers can play jenga.

  16. Vettel is being ridiculous. Merc paid good money for Jo Bauer to delay him in potential changing conditions. Merc wasted their money unless Vettel gets a penalty. Completly unfair on Merc if Vettel gets off.

  17. While I can sympathise with Vettel’s desire to set a good lap time when the conditions are likely to worsen, which they did, he and his team have had all year to complain about the process of randomly selecting a driver during the short Qualifying periods for weighing. Maybe the process needs to be changed, but not cooperating with the FIA staff puts people in danger.
    The engine on an F1 car is extremely powerful, and by virtue of that is extremely dangerous. No one should be near one when the engine is running. Earlier this year a Ferrari mechanic was seriously injured when he accidentally stood in front of a car during a pitstop. Vettel knows the procedure and he knows the rules.
    From the sounds of it, the process is the driver turns the engine off, and then some FIA staff will push the car onto the weigh bridge, the car is weighed, and then the staff push the car off the weigh bridge, after which the driver is allowed to start the engine and drive away. So people have to be around the car so it can be weighed. The fact the engine running upsets the scales is beside the point, the fact is people were around the car when that extremely powerful engine was running.
    Damaging the weigh bridge is an indication of how dangerous the situation was: someone could have been killed.

  18. Pretty serious consequence of breaking the scales though.

    As no one else could be weighed, how do we know the Saubers weren’t underweight in Q3?

    Just saying

  19. Ferrari will have a little chat with the officials, then they bury the whole thing. Season is past so nobody really cares. Vettel should also act like that and just do as ordered.

  20. What’s the point of weighing a car who hasn’t set a lap?

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