Sebastian Vettel: What punishments could he face?
No further action over his Baku collisions? A fine? Retrospective disqualification? Exclusion from the championship?
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 03/07/17 7:24pm
Sebastian Vettel's collisions with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan GP will be "further examined" by the FIA on Monday, but what extra punishment could the German now face?
The championship leader twice collided with his title rival last week in Baku, with race stewards stating Vettel had 'steered' into Hamilton for the second collision.
Vettel was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty and three points on his super licence by the Baku stewards, but the FIA confirmed on Wednesday they would re-examine the incident "in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary".
The FIA will deliver their verdict before next weekend's Austrian GP and should they deem a further hearing into Vettel's conduct is required, the German will be brought before their International Tribunal.
This tribunal is made up of 36 judges from which at least three will be selected to form a judging panel. Decisions are made by a simple majority and any punishment laid down supersedes that of the stewards.
So what punishment could Vettel face?
No further action - The International Tribunal may determine Vettel's in-race penalty was sufficient.
A fine - This would allow the FIA to make a point that Vettel's conduct was not acceptable while not having an impact on the tight title battle.
Removal from Baku classification - Potentially the most likely outcome. The overarching feeling since last Sunday's race has been that Vettel should have been black flagged, and thus disqualified, for his swerve into Hamilton's Mercedes.
This was the next punishment available to the stewards in Baku but reports have suggested they were unwilling to impose such a draconian penalty, given the state of the title battle and the lack of precedent around such an incident.
Should the International Tribunal retrospectively disqualify Vettel from the Azerbaijan GP, the German would lose the 12 points he received for finishing fourth with Hamilton gaining two points by inheriting his rival's position. Should the decision be made before the Austrian GP, that would leave both drivers level in the title race on 141 points.
Points deduction - While allowing the Azerbaijan GP result to stand, the International Tribunal could decide to hand Vettel a points deduction for his conduct.
Grid penalty - The typical punishment handed out to a driver for causing a collision when they have then been unable to finish the race.
Drivers also receive a 10-place grid penalty if they receive three reprimands during a season and two of those are for driving offences.
Race ban - Vettel could be handed a race ban for Austria, or a subsequent race should the International Tribunal meet after next weekend. However, Sky F1's Craig Slater believes this is an unlikely outcome.
Vettel is already walking a disciplinary tightrope with the three penalty points he received taking him to nine for the 12-month period. Should he race in Austria and pick up a further three points, he would be banned for the British GP.
Exclusion from the championship - The harshest penalty the International Tribunal could hand down, although it is highly unlikely such action would be taken.
However, there is precedent for such a punishment when it has been deemed a driver deliberately drove into another car.
In 1997, Michael Schumacher was excluded from the Drivers' Championship after colliding with title rival Jacques Villeneuve in Jerez, albeit at racing speed rather than behind the Safety Car.
Should Vettel not agree with any decision, he would have the right to appeal it to the International Court of Appeal. The ICA has the power to confirm, waive, mitigate or increase the penalty inflicted.
Could Hamilton face further action?
The FIA's statement said they would "further examine the causes of the incident" and the vagueness of that means Hamilton could yet be deemed to be at fault for the first collision.
However, it would appear that the Briton is in the clear. No action was taken against him during Sunday's race while examination of his telemetry data showed that he had neither braked nor lifted off entirely on the exit of Turn 15.
It also showed that Hamilton had behaved in exactly the same way at the previous Safety Car restart and the one after the coming together between the two rivals.
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