Toto Wolff and Fred Vasseur, the Mercedes and Ferrari bosses, were given official warnings on Thursday for swearing during a news conference at last weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The two Formula One team principals had been called to a meeting with the stewards at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where they were told their behaviour was “unacceptable”.
The sport’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said their language, during a clash over the condition of the circuit in Las Vegas, was ‘not consistent’ with their values, noting Wolff and Vasseur were role models for the sport.
“The FIA regards language of this type to be unacceptable, moving forward, particularly when used by participants in the sport who have a high public profile and who are seen by many, especially younger, followers of the sport, as role models,” the body said.
“In future the FIA will not tolerate the use of such language in FIA forums by any stakeholder.”
The stewards accepted there were mitigating circumstances.
Vasseur was agitated and swore about the damage to Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz’s car after he hit a loose drain cover during opening practice, an incident that ended the session after only nine minutes and delayed second practice by more than two hours.
Sainz’s vehicle was so badly damaged it had to be entirely re-built with a new power unit and other parts, resulting in the Spaniard being given a 10-place grid penalty.
The stewards reported Vasseur was “extremely upset and frustrated by the incident,” adding his outburst used language that was unusual for him.
“The use of the language concerned was in this case unusual and was provoked by an abrupt interjection, during the press conference, and therefore cannot be regarded as typical from this team principal,” said the FIA.
Wolff was reprimanded after he had launched a defence of the event and the circuit following the issues during the opening day.
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