Sebastian Vettel has escaped a penalty for the Brazilian Grand Prix after breaking FIA scales whilst being called in the weighbridge during qualifying, but has been handed a reprimand and a fine for his actions.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was called in the weighbridge during the second session of qualifying at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, when the German driver pitted early in the session for a change of tyres.
Vettel followed the FIA’s instruction to be weighed, but attempted to get the procedure over quickly over as the threat of rain grew bigger and everyone was out on track setting a lap.
The Ferrari driver failed to follow official procedure and caused damaged to the FIA scales when he set off to his pit box, instead of the normal procedure where the FIA officials push the car away from the weighbridge.
As a result for not following instructions, the Stewards investigated the matter with Ferrari and Vettel after the session. Over two hours later, the Stewards decided to fine Vettel 25,000 Euros and a reprimand. The German will keep his second place grid spot for the race at Interlagos on Sunday.
In the statement released by the FIA, the Stewards concluded that Vettel did breach rules relating to the FIA weighbridge but states that Vettel’s actions wasn’t in a reckless matter.
“The Stewards reviewed the video evidence from the on-board camera and pit lane CCTV, viewed team engine telemetry and heard from the driver of car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) and team representative,” the statement read by the FIA Stewards.
“The Stewards first considered whether there was a breach of Article 29.1.a.i. As the driver both stopped at the FIA Garage and eventually stopped the engine, although not at the time usually expected in the established procedure, and a weight was obtained, these elements satisfy the requirements of the regulation and therefore the Stewards find no breach of this article.
“Nevertheless, the officials give directions to the drivers at the scales in order for the weighing procedure to be accomplished in an orderly and safe way, without the possibility of damaging the scales.
“The Stewards observed that the driver did not stop the engine at the time he was directed by the official at the scales, knocked over the cone placed to stop the driver from driving onto the scales, which he then did.
“At the time he was being shown a sign to have his “Brakes On” by an official that was standing in front of the car, and while not hitting the official did force him out of the way while driving onto the scales. He then turned off the engine.
“Once the weight was taken he then did not wait for the officials to push the car off the scales, and while the Stewards accept that he may have mis-understood the indication from the official, he then re-fired the car and drove off the scales, which is not the procedure because it can damage the scales, which in this case he did.
“While no one was hurt by the scales being thrown out from behind the car, and while the Stewards accept that the driver did not drive off the scales in a reckless manner, the procedure the Stewards is established exactly to prevent damage to the scales or a potentially dangerous situation, which is exactly what was caused.
“The Stewards found that the driver failed to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the Event and order a Reprimand (Non-Driving) and a fine of €25,000.”