After a “painful” engine trouble in Australian Grand Prix practice, Sebastian Vettel was fined 5,000 euros for riding a scooter on the track.
‘Fireman Seb’ was called into action again once he jumped out of the car following the high-speed chicane during FP1.
Later, Vettel climbed on a marshal’s scooter and rode around Albert Park back to the pitlane, but he broke the rules by entering the circuit without permission, resulting in the fine.
The stewards confirmed with Vettel that he meant for a marshal to join him on the scooter, but rode away when he did not appear. Instead of using the access roads around the circuit, he used the track to return to the pits.
“Car five [Vettel] stopped on the circuit due to a mechanical issue,” the stewards explained.
“At the end of the session, Vettel sought a way to return to his pit.”
“A marshal was at the location with a scooter. Vettel asked if he could drive the scooter in order to return to his pit. The marshal assented.”
“Vettel got on the scooter, expecting the marshal to get on behind him. When he didn’t get on, Vettel departed alone for the pit, without the prior approval to do so.”
“Meanwhile, the marshal was trying to contact race control for instructions.”
“In driving on the track to his pit, instead of the designated route, Vettel breached Article 26.7 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, which prohibits anyone from being on the track in the five-minute period after the end of a session, with the exception of specifically identified personnel, which makes no provision for drivers to have such access unless specifically authorised.”
Vettel remarked of the failure, which cost him the whole second race: “We had a problem, there was a bit of smoke, I lost power and we had to stop the car on the track.”
“I did the best I could to limit the damage and get it off the track as soon as possible.”
“It stopped our running, which was painful and unfortunately cost us the whole session in the afternoon, which is not ideal.”
“I haven’t been in the car for a while, plus the track is different. It will be fine tomorrow but it would have been nice to get more laps.”
After missing the first two races with Covid-19, this was Vettel’s first experience in the Aston Martin since the second pre-season test. Despite his lack of track time, the four-time world champion was quick to catch up with the rest of the track.
“It [the car] felt more or less where we left it in Bahrain,” he revealed.
“Obviously, some bits changed and a lot of work since then, but [also] a different track so it was a bit of both, getting myself back in the rhythm, getting used to the new layout here, the new tarmac.”
“I don’t think it was a big problem to get back in the rhythm, I felt quite comfortable quite quickly.”