Sebastian Vettel finished the Mexican Grand Prix in fourth, was promoted onto the podium after Max Verstappen received a post-race penalty and was then dropped back to fifth after himself being penalised.
The bad news for the four times champion Ferrari driver is that, on top of his existing penalty, his expletive filled radio messages, some directed at the Race Director, Charlie Whiting, could see him receive a ban in one or more of the remaining grand prix.
“You know what? Here’s the message for Charlie (Whiting) – F**k off! Honestly, f**k off! I think I’m going to hit someone!” said Vettel after Verstappen failed to let him through, the Red Bull driver having cut the first corner – Verstappen would later receive a five second penalty for this.
The transmissions were aired on the live coverage of the Grand Prix which saw Lewis Hamilton close the gap to Nico Rosberg to 19 points with two race to go and he could be severely punished for breaking article 151C of the Sporting Code.
The code says that, “Any of the following offences in addition to any offences specifically referred to previously, shall be deemed to be a breach of these rules:
“Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”
Should Whiting chose to escalate the matter by taking it to the World Motorsport Council, Vettel could be hit with either a heavy fine or, in the worst case scenario, a race ban.
Any further punishment is unlikely to go down well with Ferrari Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene, who said after the race that, “Today could have felt special: we fully deserved this podium, which was taken away by bureaucracy. The whole team had showed great stamina by staying united and focused in a difficult moment. Our strategy had made it possible to make good progress through the race and both drivers did a very good job. Unfortunately, we were penalized by Stewards’ unappealable decision which, in my opinion, is too harsh and somehow unfair.”