Sebastian Vettel has been fined 5,000 euros, or about $5,400 here in America, because he traversed Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit after his Aston Martin unceremoniously died in Turn 10. Just let the man ride his little scooter, fellas. It’s probably going to be the best lap he has all weekend.
Now, we’re talking about Vettel here, so he did the courteous thing and waited 15 minutes for the practice session to finish up before he hopped on the scooter for a ride. But the FIA, of course, isn’t pleased; see, Vettel took an unapproved vehicle onto a race track and then proceeded to have fun and wear his helmet like a hat and wave at the crowd, all of which I am sure are crimes punishable by death in the no-fun FIA’s rulebook.
But because he didn’t take the perimeter road that runs around the circuit, Vettel has now been punished.
Personally, I think we should give poor Vettel a break. The Australian Grand Prix is the man’s first race weekend of the year after positive COVID-19 tests kept him from competing in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He was replaced at Aston Martin by everyone’s favorite seat-filler, Nico Hulkenberg. Neither Hulkenberg nor teammate Lance Stroll managed to score a point yet this year, and after the death of Vettel’s car, it looks like that may very well continue to be the case here in Australia.
Vettel has come a long way since his stint as a four-time World Champion at Red Bull Racing — and by “come a long way,” I mean “driven for some of the most miserable teams on the grid.” His greatest accomplishments have been in the form of his newfound social activism, which isn’t exactly the thing that’s going to earn you — or your team — any money or points for the championship.
I say we just let him ride his little scooter. It’s probably the most fun he’s going to have on wheels all weekend.