FIA wrong on two counts with Vettel, says Herbert

Fri Nov 4, 2016 9:36am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One's governing body got it wrong twice over with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at last weekend's Mexican Grand Prix, according to former race winner and television pundit Johnny Herbert.

Stewards promoted and demoted the German to and from the podium after he tangled with Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, and then let him off for hurling abuse at race director Charlie Whiting over the radio.

Herbert told Reuters that, while he welcomed the airing of communications between driver and team as an insight into the stresses of racing, Vettel's swearing at Whiting had gone too far.

"The worst thing was the stuff directly at Charlie. I thought that was out of order and something should have been done about that one. It's a step too far," said the Briton.

Herbert, who won three grands prix between 1989 and 2000 and was Michael Schumacher's team mate at Benetton in 1994 and 1995, said a race ban would have been too hard but a grid penalty or fine could have been imposed.

The FIA said on Tuesday that its president Jean Todt had decided, "on an exceptional basis", not to take disciplinary action against the four-times world champion after he apologized.

"You are hearing a frustrated Sebastian Vettel coming out with all this stuff and we want to hear it. But you know you've got to be sometimes careful with what you say and how you say it," said Herbert.

"We heard it, it was directed at Charlie in a very rude manner which is unacceptable. He should have got something. He got off scot-free."   Continued...

Formula One - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Japan- 6/10/16. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel of Germany arrives at the paddock. REUTERS/Toru Hanai