Vettel reprimanded but keeps pole

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012Sebastian Vettel will keep his pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix after the stewards investigated him for holding up Fernando Alonso.

After three hours the stewards decided he had impeded the Ferrari at the chicane during Q3.

However they decided against awarding Vettel a grid penalty, instead handing him a reprimand.

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116 comments on Vettel reprimanded but keeps pole

  1. caci99 (@caci99) said on 6th October 2012, 12:04

    By looking at the video posted in here, it looks to me a clear block. Whether it was intentional or not, that is another matter.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2012, 14:35

    From watching the video it seems Vettel was fortunate to escape a penalty here.

    But the stewards’ ‘explanation’ is so inadequate it’s hard to make an informed comment about it. The reasoning simply says “self explanatory” which is not sufficient when they’ve spent three hours looking into it:

    Fact: The driver of car one impeded car five at turn sixteen
    Decision: Reprimand
    Reason: Self explanatory
    2012 Japanese Grand Prix Stewards’ Decision Document 35

    However I do think it’s significant that Alonso hasn’t – as far as I am aware – said it cost him any time. It isn’t mentioned in Ferrari’s post-race comments. And I’d be surprised if any team passed up a chance to make trouble for their closest championship rivals.

    Perhaps some more information will emerge tomorrow.

    • caci99 (@caci99) said on 6th October 2012, 17:29

      Self explanatory is may be referring to the explanations the driver have given to the stewards? If this is the case, then I suppose Alonso didn’t complain about what happened.

  3. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 6th October 2012, 15:01

    Alonso breaked exactly after the 100m mark , which is the normal braking zone. So Vettel didn’t affect his breaking point. But , Alonso had to keep i slightly closer line to the first appex , this maybe cost him about a tenth . Beside that ,when Vettel realized Alonso was on his back he went as left as he could and clearly off the racing line in the entrance of the chicane. This incident has nothing in common with Verge’s- Senna’s and therefore can’t be compared with that. The decision of the stewarts , in my view, is clearly Right.
    Anyway, that lap was compromised earlier by Raikonen’s yellow flags so why would it be fear to penalize an action which had little to no effect to another driver?

    Does anyone know if the two first sectors of this lap where green for Alonso and how much time exactly did he lost in that last sector compared with his previous best?

  4. mrjlr93 (@mrjlr93) said on 6th October 2012, 15:03

    im sorry but that is a penalty any way you look at it vettel is on the racing line of an approching driver still trying to set a lap time this is impeding. also vergne did the same thing and got a penalty so if the stewards where fair vettel should have received the same treatment in my opinion this is just favoritism towards marque teams. higher teams such as red bull, ferrari and mclaren get away with many decisions in these circumstants which i believe is unfair to other teams. if you look at the penaltys given for this type of incident this year and other years midfield teams are always getting these penalty’s. the fia have to get there **** together and stop playing favorites.

    • Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 6th October 2012, 15:48

      this incident involves two big teams redbull and ferrari , not a big and a small one….. with the big favoring….
      Except you thing RB is a little bigger team and that makes the difference in stewards decision.

      • in the history of Formula 1 you can’t compare Ferrari with Red Bull…we can compare Ferrari with Mclaren…which are the 2 greatest team. Red Bull have to pass at least 20 years in formula 1 to be compred with this 2 team. So yes Red Bull is a small team with some money… i bet that in 7-8 years they will leave formula 1 or change name…

  5. Cosmas (@cosmas) said on 6th October 2012, 15:36

    Verge stayed in the racing line completely and in the whole chicane doing nothing to give room to Senna and destroying his lap and leaving him because of that outside Q2.
    Senna had all the right with his side and deservedly complained.
    I didn’t hear Alonso nor Ferrari complaining about this incident. If they thought they right i don’t think they we didn’t say nothing.
    Vettel’s performance was so dominant that he had to do in each Quallify only one run.
    In total he run 11 laps in all three Q’s . Which is only comparable with drivers that get out in Q1.
    So it would be fair to take this pole away from him for something that didn’t give him any benefit at all?

  6. JB (@) said on 6th October 2012, 16:43

    It´s Ironic that Vergne gets the penalty but SV doesn´t… Talk about inconsistency… doesn´t matter though… it´s obvious that Alonso will not win his 3rd WDC…. With actions like these, it´s obvious which way the wind is blowing….
    Totally unfair!

    • Al (@boomer650) said on 6th October 2012, 17:04

      Strange. This forum seems to be the most balanced fan forum for me in the past but recently things change a little bit in my opinion. More and more balanced will be coverd by biased. As soon as Vettel is in doubt of doing anything many people start blaming him for this and that, more than they do in other cases.
      In this case there is a video footage available and in my opinion it is clearly visible in that video that Vettel leaves the racing line as soon as Alonso appears. What else should he do? Slowing down at the inside of the track? Slowing down at outside of the track? What should he do? Keith, you are also complaining about his driving, where he should be on the track in this situation?

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2012, 18:38


        More and more balanced will be coverd by biased.

        Interested to hear what you think I’ve written in this article which is “biased”.

        Keith, you are also complaining about his driving

        No I’m not – I said (in this comment) that he was fortunate not to get a penalty.

        I said this because he was clearly on the racing line as Alonso approached him and it seems Alonso had to go-off line as a result. I expected the stewards to consider that impeding.

        And they did, yet chose not to give him a penalty, for reasons that were not stated. So I think he was fortunate not to get a penalty. At least until the stewards give us a bit more to go on.

        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 6th October 2012, 19:31

          But he can’t just disappear, and when he saw Alonso, he stayed well away from him.

          • JB (@) said on 6th October 2012, 21:49

            I beg to differ @xjr15jaaag , Vettel kept the racing line and the thing is that, after viewing the video, Alonso might have braked just a tad earlier than he would have wanted to thus, impeding him in completing his hot lap.

            @boomer650 I also find it funny that you think that @keithcollantine wrote this article being biased against Vettel. He is, and I can vouch for this, pro Vettel. I think he was just being objective in this particular issue because Vettel was infact impeding…. “what could Vettel do?” Well, he could have accelerated into the runoff area instead of taking his jolly time to do it! So no i don´t think it was biased.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2012, 22:28

            @xjr15jaaag True, but that’s what the team radio is there for. There is an awful lot of chatter about track position and ensuring drivers don’t impede their rivals. And it must be said that having backed off himself, Vettel had to be aware that there might be drivers behind him still trying to set competitive times.

            @catracho504 Marvellous, another addition to the ‘list of people accusing me of being for/against drivers they dislike/like’. I have been variously accused of being for or against all the most successful drivers at one time or another…

        • Al (@boomer650) said on 6th October 2012, 23:45

          Agree. After writing my comment I ve been watching the sequence again and again and I agree that this overtaking manoeuvre could be handeled better than it did. Vettel could move to the left side of the track earlier than he did. Point.
          But if you want to start complaining about situations like that you should stop watching F1 since this could and would happen quite often as long as more than one driver is been on the track. Then we should start talking about downhill skiing for example.
          Agree that there are better ways to let Alonso pass but disagree to “fortunate not to get a penalty” since this isnt anyting Vettel really needs to penalysed for, he is still there and that is part of the game.

        • peter548 said on 7th October 2012, 1:07

          Huge respect for you Keith.. I followed this site long enough to see you’re the most unbiased person on here… but it’s pretty obvious the majority of the USER base on this site is very anti-vettel. I mean you just have to look at some of the comments on the first page to notice it. DOTW voting confirm this as well. It’s a shame really…

  7. George (@george) said on 6th October 2012, 17:01

    It looked like Vettel was dozing a bit to me (or his team hadn’t warned him of Alonso’s approach), but you cant really call it blocking, he was never physically in the way of Alonso.

  8. Nickpkr said on 6th October 2012, 17:31

    Team told him by radio other way is 5000€ like Marussia, VET run out of track so had to slowdown to allow the pass, entering late to the chicane, in anyway more often than not VET gets involved in what supposed to be his “future team to be” and ALO blocking issues, but I guess luca don’t care if he has to choose between them, VET wins right away

  9. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 6th October 2012, 17:35

    After watching the footage again (first saw it on BBC highlights program), I’d say that whilst Alonso probably brakes around the same point he normally would, Vettel’s presence compromises his line. This does affect the braking as he has to turn in slightly earlier. You can’t turn and brake hard at the same time (see the countless lock-ups at this corner as drivers attempt to trail brake into it), so turning in earlier means coming off the brakes earlier. This creates an overspeed into the apex. You can see Alonso turns in twice. I’d call that cadence braking, as in: brake, off brakes, turn, straighten, on brakes, off brakes, turn again. That’s not a quick way to drive a car. And the whole incident was avoidable.

    These things happen though. What is immeasurably more annoying is that it took three hours to get a decision, an inconsistent decision, and then no explanation from the stewards. Vettel and Alonso are doing their thing at 200mph+ and 5G braking, so a slip up here and there is to be expected. I expect the same level of performance from the organisers as I do the participants, and this does not demonstrate that.

  10. Fearrari, Ferrari International Assistance, the things will keep rolling on. I’m sure if Schumi’d done something like this he would have been handed a ban.

  11. Chris Gibson (@formulaone789) said on 6th October 2012, 21:52

    I know that as a driver you must want to win every race, but as a fan, Sebastian Vettel is so dull to watch. Can’t he do a donut on track or fart in a post-race interview? Just ideas Seb.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th October 2012, 22:32


      Can’t he do a donut on track

      You mean like he did at Suzuka last year?

    • LosD (@losd) said on 6th October 2012, 23:47

      Errrr… I’d call Seb a lot of things (annoying among others), but “dull” certainly isn’t among them:

      He’s the one with the liveliest celebrations, and the funniest interviews.
      He’s the one calling his cars Kate’s Dirty Sister and Kinky Kylie.
      He’s was the one talking about being afraid of “magic buttons” with a big smile when the other cars had KERS behind him (and RB did not).

      All in all, he seems like the one who would be doing all the pranks in the office, if he had a “normal” job.


      • peter548 said on 7th October 2012, 1:14

        If anyone is ‘Dull’ it would be Alonso.. that guys has ONE facial expression lol. But hey, he’s still an awesome racer! So is Vettel though..

        Also, you could call Kimi dull, but we all know he’s a legend. ;)

        • JB (@) said on 7th October 2012, 4:47

          I´m sorry but Alonso is not dull… he might seem that way in the press conferences and other interviews or even at the podium…. the thing is that he is a very competitive individual(he is a lot like kimi in the sense that he could care less about PR, he´s in it to race) and you should also take into consideration he is more mature (30 something years old) than most of the other “kids” on the grid… I guess he just tends to act his age…

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