For his intentional hit on Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel could be metter additional penalties, which may be as severe as a monetary fine or a race ban.
Stewards handed out a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for Vettel’s actions, which many believe was a light punishment. In consonance, it is thought that FIA president Jean Todt is not pleased with what the Ferrari driver has done .
Vettel blamed Hamilton for brake testing him, which caused the German to run into back of Hamilton’s car, that resulted in damage for both.
Subsequently, Vettel drove to the side of the Briton and cut him off, causing a collision although neither car was damaged from the contact.
Since the lead driver can dictate pace, FIA cleared Hamilton of any misconduct during the restart. While constant speed is stipulated in the rules, data shows that Hamilton did not brake heavily, nor acted differently from his earlier restart.
As stewards signed on a note, “It emerged that Hamilton did correctly, maintained a consistent speed and behaved in the same manner on that occasion as in all other restarts during the race.”
What the four-time champion Vettel did was an act of revenge, something he admitted—but he believes he does not deserve the penalty.
This is not Vettel’s first infraction though. In Mexico the previous year, FIA’s Charlie Whiting warned the Ferrari driver for telling the race director to “f**k off” twice. Vettel later wrote an apology to Whiting and Todt for causing disgrace to the sport.
Because of the apology, Todt did not bring Vettel before the FIA Tribunal, but left a stern warning of possible heavy punishment for a repeat offence. However, the Ferrari driver’s antics at Baku may just land a trial at the tribunal given reports telling that Todt is unhappy with the former’s actions.
Todt is expected to make a decision prior to next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The International Tribunal
The IT is the FIA disciplinary body at first instance and governs cases which may or may not have been dealt with by Stewards of the Meeting. The body was adopted by the 2010 FIA General Assembly.
Who composes the IT?
The IT is a 12-member chamber, who are given recommendation by the FIA Judicial Appointment Committee and voted by the FIA General Assembly.
Why may the IT be held?
The FIA president first conducts inquiry into any conduct or action of a person under the FIA’s jurisdiction and is under suspicion of committing violation/s of the Judicial and Disciplinary Rules of the FIA. After the inquiry, a report maybe drawn up by president who decides whether to close the matter or to bring the case before the IT for a decision.
Sanctions that the IT can Impose
According to the FIA International Sporting Code (Article 153), the IT may hand out fines, bans, and/or sanctions.
Is there room for appeal?
Yes. The FIA President as well as the defendants can appeal the decision.