The German driver was left stranded on the side of the track at Turn 10 after his car lost power during the first free practice session on Friday morning.
When the cars finished rolling in Melbourne, Sebastian Vettel used a scooter that one of the stewards had nearby to return to the pits, with his helmet on his head not fitting properly, and that caught the attention of everyone who was pending action in Australia.
Despite arguing that the commissioner had given the German permission to use the bike, the FIA considered that Vettel had entered the track when he shouldn’t have and imposed a fine of 5,000 euros, following article 26.7 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations , which stipulates that no one can enter the track until five minutes after a session ends.
This was not a tasteful dish for Aston Martin, who let off steam by calling the governing body’s decision “a joke” when asked by Motorsport.com what he thought of the penalty, as well as questioning where the money was going.
“It would be nice to know what happens with that amount,” Vettel said. “I think we still don’t know what happened to the €50,000 that Max [Verstappen] or Lewis [Hamilton] or any of them had to pay for touching a rear wing.
To this we must add the fact that the four-time world champion also received another fine when entering the pitlane with the scooter, since he went to 85.1 km/h when the imposed limit is 80 km/h, both for the F1 single-seater as for the rest of the vehicles.
The German had to pay 600 euros more, so it was 5,600 euros that the FIA collected with Vettel, who did not have his best weekend at the Australian Grand Prix.
After problems in the first free practices, in the morning session prior to qualifying on Saturday, he hit the wall at turn 9, causing damage to his AMR22 . The mechanics were against the clock, and thanks to the accident between Nicholas Latifi and Lance Stroll he was able to go out and make an attempt in Q1.
With very little break-in, he was unable to go beyond 18th place , and in the race, in the middle of the peloton, he lost the rear of his car, causing another touch against the protections that certified the end of his participation in Melbourne.
At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix he will have another chance to make amends, and he will try to improve on the 2021 performance at Imola, where he was forced to retire due to gearbox problems with just two laps to go.