Sebastian Vettel: F1 rulebook should say ‘we’re not allowed to race’

Sebastian Vettel hits out at F1's rulebook, believing stewards are too reactive to incidents on-track that may stop drivers from racing.

Sebastian Vettel has continued his criticism of Formula 1’s stewarding and penalty process following his grid drop in Austria, claiming that the sport's rulebook should say drivers are "not allowed to race."

Vettel was hit with a three-place grid penalty in Austria after he was deemed to have impeded Carlos Sainz Jr. during qualifying despite the Renault driver’s final result not being impacted in any way by the incident.

While Vettel was able to recover to third place in the race and retake the lead of the drivers’ championship, the Ferrari racer expressed his disapproval of penalties applied for incidents that do not influence any results.

“I’m not a fan of these penalties. I think I’ve said as well in the past that it’s our own drivers’ fault, because we sit there on Friday afternoon, complaining about the decisions and the consistency,” Vettel said.

“From my point of view, motorsport is not black and white, so naturally not every decision can be the same. I don’t see the necessity to decide every time. That’s what the sport has developed into. Every incident needs to be looked at. Racing incidents for some reason are not allowed to happen any more.

“So we end up with a massive rulebook. I think we could have the header ‘we’re not allowed to race’, because that’s sometimes how it feels.

“In that situation in qualy, nobody was hurt. Carlos said it was no problem and he completely understood. He was very chilled, and I still ended up with a penalty.

“Obviously for me, it sucked on the day, it will probably suck for somebody else at a point in the season, but I just think that all these things are unnecessary.”

Vettel’s third-place finish saw him move one point clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ championship, with the duo exchanging the series lead back and forth over the past four weekends.

Vettel put the error down to a miscommunication with the Ferrari pit wall, and said the team was working to ensure it did not happen again, but would not be dwelling on the incident and its impact on his title hopes.

“There was an error that happened to us as a team. I don’t like to put the blame somewhere else,” Vettel said.

“I’ve explained many times the penalty. Usually in that moment, we know what to do. I’m usually told. In that case I wasn’t told. These things happen. We have a very good system in place, we’re trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“That’s my view. These kinds of things will happen to us, to other people. It’s just part of our sport. If you share the track with others, then at some point, maybe you’re in each other’s way.”