Formula One: FIA probing Vettel's rant at race director

Sebastian Vettel with his trophy after being promoted to third place at the Mexican Grand Prix. But his joy was short-lived as he was demoted to fifth when dealt a 10-second penalty. The German also had a go at FIA race director Charlie Whiting as te
Sebastian Vettel with his trophy after being promoted to third place at the Mexican Grand Prix. But his joy was short-lived as he was demoted to fifth when dealt a 10-second penalty. The German also had a go at FIA race director Charlie Whiting as tempers boiled over during his duel with Red Bull's Max Verstappen.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • Jean Todt, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), has ordered an inquiry into expletive-filled abuse that Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel hurled at the Mexican Grand Prix race director, a source from Formula One's governing body said.

The German, furious over the driving of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, repeatedly swore at race director Charlie Whiting during the closing stages of Sunday's race.

"Jean Todt has requested a special report from the race stewards with regard to the radio conversation between Vettel and the race director," an FIA source told AFP.

The official said that a decision on further action would be taken once all the evidence is collected. Media reports have said that Vettel could face a grid penalty or even a race ban. No indication has been given on when a decision will be made.

Vettel had attempted to pass Verstappen at Turn 1 but the Dutch driver held the position by cutting the corner. He did not give the place back and Vettel, believing Whiting had not instructed Verstappen to do so, said: "You know what - here is a message for Charlie: 'F*** off. Honestly. F*** off'."

Verstappen had in fact been told to cede the place by his team, but then to hold while they queried the decision. He subsequently crossed the finish line in third place behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

However, after the finish, the Dutch teenager was given a penalty demoting him to fifth and Vettel was promoted to third.

The German held this position long enough to attend the podium ceremony before he in turn took a 10-second penalty for changing direction under braking in front of the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo; Ricciardo moved up to third and Vettel down to fifth. Verstappen moved up to fourth.

Meanwhile, the good news from Mexico was that the race attracted an even bigger crowd than last year, bucking a trend of lower attendances in an event's second edition.

Figures released by the organisers put the total overall attendance at 339,967 compared to last year's 336,174.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'FIA probing Vettel's rant at race director'. Print Edition | Subscribe