Sebastian Vettel apologised to Charlie Whiting after twice telling the high-ranking F1 official to “f— off” during Sunday’s Mexican GP.
The quadruple world champion even called Max Versappen a “c—” on the radio and lost his podium finish for breaking the new ‘Verstappen rule’ in his dice with Daniel Ricciardo.
It has led to speculation Vettel could sit out Brazil next weekend for bringing the sport into disrepute, as it emerges the FIA is in fact looking into the matter.
Straight after the race, the German driver remained bullish.
“I do not understand why you try to push me into a corner by asking this question,” he was quoted as saying when asked if he has brought the sport into disrepute.
Told that his behaviour was a bad example for children, Vettel insisted: “Do you think I think about kids when I race? No, I drive my race.
“Do you think the kids are thinking about me when they drive their races? No, they drive their races.”
When asked what he said to Whiting when he met with the British official in Mexico, Vettel told the reporter: “This does not concern you.”
Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was slightly more willing to answer, having told Vettel to “calm down” during the radio rant.
“We talked together, me and Sebastian, and that’s it,” said the Italian. “I don’t have to tell in public what I am doing with the drivers.
“He excused himself (to Whiting) and I’m sure it is not going to happen again.”
Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone backed Vettel, declaring: “He’s got an option, which is good. And they’re racing, which is good.”
Still, the criticism of Vettel has been intense.
“I understand perfectly when you have that adrenaline and you’re in the heat of the moment,” said former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos.
“But you cannot insult and cuss Charlie Whiting and Max like that. That doesn’t fit with the sport,” the Dutchman told Ziggo Sport Totaal broadcaster.
Also critical of Vettel was his former boss, Dr Helmut Marko, but Arrivabene suggested the Austrian should focus on his current drivers.
“Everyone should look a little more on themselves,” said the Italian.
“I do not like this pointing the fingers at others,” Arrivabene insisted. “I don’t need lessons, not from Helmut Marko or anyone else.”