Sebastian Vettel has escaped punishment for his expletive-laden rant at Charlie Whiting at the end of the 2016 Mexico Grand Prix after he "spontaneously" sought out the FIA race director and expressed regrets over the comments he made in the heat of the moment. Christian Horner admitted that he would be surprised if the former Red Bull driver was not reprimanded for his outburst.
The four-time world champion lost his cool after clashing with Max Verstappen in the final laps of the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and exploded via the radio with abuses directed towards the driver and the race director. Vettel was initially handed the third place he was battling Verstappen for, but was later demoted to fifth place after being penalised for breaking the rules during an on-track duel with Daniel Ricciardo.
The German, however, will not face any sanctions over his comments after FIA director Jean Todt took into consideration Vettel's actions in the immediate aftermath of the race when he apologised profusely verbally and through letters to all parties concerned. The FIA statement made it clear, however, that they will not take kindly to such acts if repeated by any driver in the future.
"At the recent Mexican Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel made comments over team radio using repeated foul language directed at both the FIA Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting and a fellow competitor which were retransmitted during the live broadcast of the event," an FIA statement read on their official site.
"Immediately following this incident, Sebastian Vettel spontaneously sought out Charlie Whiting to express his regrets for his behaviour in person.
"He then, again on his own initiative, sent letters to each of the FIA President Jean Todt and Charlie Whiting, in which he apologised profusely for his actions. He also indicated that he would likewise be contacting Max Verstappen and vowed that such an incident would never occur again," the statement explained.
"In the light of this sincere apology and strong commitment, the FIA President has decided, on an exceptional basis, not to take disciplinary action against Mr Vettel by bringing this matter before the FIA International Tribunal.
"The FIA will always condemn the use of offensive language in motor sport — especially when directed at officials and/or fellow participants — and expects all participants in its Championships to be respectful and mindful of the example they set for the public and the younger generation in particular," the statement continued.
"The FIA takes this opportunity to advise that, in the event of any future incident similar to the one that occurred in Mexico, disciplinary action will be taken by bringing such incident before the FIA International Tribunal to be judged."