Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel.

Charlie Whiting finally comments on Sebastian Vettel's steering wheel controversy at Malaysia GP

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Sebastian Vettel can count himself very lucky that he escaped a penalty in Malaysia.

The 30-year-old was involved in a crash with Canadian Lance Stroll following the race at Sepang, which was bizarre in itself.

What happened next could have landed Vettel in serious trouble.

The German removed his steering wheel and then hitched a lift from Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, FIA race director Charlie Whiting said that common sense played a factor in the FIA’s decision.

"I didn't mind because first of all the race had ended,” Whiting said.

"Secondly, the purpose of the rule is for marshals to remove the car should the need arise. But clearly that wasn't going to be necessary.

"I think you'll agree that we've seen driver’s dispose of their steering wheels rather unceremoniously after they've had a shunt and they haven't bothered to put them back on.

"I think all things taken into account I think we should apply a bit of common sense and I wasn't inclined to report it to the stewards."


Whilst he was ready to let the steering wheel issue slide, the 63-year-old from Kent was less than impressed with Vettel’s hitchhiking on Wehrlein’s Sauber.

"He should have waited for the medical car but bizarrely there isn't a rule against that.

"I did have a word with them all and told them to wait for the medical car because it will come." 

Fair play you might think.

But, Vettel has seen himself on the wrong side of the law on a few occasions this season – and other drives have had penalties for a lot less….Fernando Alonso for example.

Fernando Alonso
Lewis Hamilton
Kimi Raikkonen
Formula 1

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