German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari (left) and British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG GP (right) shake hand after the qualifying session of the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, Austria. Looking on is Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes AMG GP (centre). Valtteri Bottas took pole position while Sebastian Vettel second and Lewis Hamilton third. The 2017 Formula One Grand Prix of Austria will take place on July 9. EPA

SPIELBERG: Sebastian Vettel faces “very severe” consequences if he is the cause of any further major racing offences, the president of Formula One’s ruling body the FIA warned on Saturday.

Jean Todt, who had been called upon by Lewis Hamilton to explain why Ferrari’s Vettel was not punished for his ‘road rage’ attack on his Mercedes car during last month’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, spoke to reporters at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Last year Vettel swore over team radio at the FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Asked about Vettel’s repeated failures to control his temper, Todt said: “Mexico was a completely different offence (to Baku).

“We have seen that Sebastian is not always able to control himself as much as he should.

“I used to run drivers and they are in a very tense situation. I think you must try to interpret the situation well.

“This does not give them the right to do anything, but you must try and understand it.

“Sebastian has had some very strong warnings. It won’t happen again and, if it would, then the consequences would be very severe.”

Using his Ferrari, Vettel bashed wheels with Hamilton behind the safety car during the Baku race after feeling the Briton had ‘brake-tested’ him, a claim that was subsequently quashed by data, the stewards and both teams. Vettel later apologised.

He was given a 10-seconds stop-go penalty during the race and, after being summoned to Paris for a further hearing about the matter, asked only to carry out ‘educational activities’ on behalf of the FIA.

Many drivers and former drivers including Mercedes boss Niki Lauda and Hamilton said the lack of action by the ruling body had virtually given carte blanche to drivers who choose to copy Vettel’s actions.--AFP

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