ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel was right to celebrate his fourth title with tyre-smoking ‘donuts’ in India last weekend and stewards should be allowed to show more leniency on such occasions, said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Vettel, Formula One’s youngest quadruple champion at 26, was reprimanded for breaching the rules by spinning the car in front of fans on the main straight after his slowing down lap.
Red Bull were fined 25,000 euros ($34,400) for failing to instruct the German to return directly to park his car in the pit lane after chalking up his sixth race win in a row.
“Sometimes there are things that don’t fully comply with a regulation, perhaps its a tennis player climbing out of the court and going to embrace his parents in a box at Wimbledon or a footballer going to hug a family member in the crowd,” Horner told reporters at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Thursday.
”From a team point of view I think it was exactly the right thing for him to do. I think it’s good for the sport and it’s a shame that it was penalized.
“I can understand the stewards have a set of rules in front of them but sometimes you hope that common sense does prevail,” said Horner.
He pointed out that Vettel’s ‘exuberant’ actions had gone against all the usual team advice to look after the engine and gearbox and not shed any extra weight from the tyres before post-race checks.
“I think the stewards perhaps need to be empowered to give a little more leniency in extraordinary circumstances,” continued Horner.
“They arguably could have been a lot harder in their penalty and they picked the lowest penalty they could in a reprimand and a fine for the team - despite it being the driver’s actions.”
Red Bull, he made clear with a smile, would not be sending the driver a bill.
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Reporting by Alan Baldwin editing by Tony Jimenez