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FIA takes no further action against Vettel for Baku F1 clash

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The FIA has confirmed it will take no further action against Sebastian Vettel for his clash with Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan.

Vettel drove towards Hamilton behind the safety car in Baku eight days ago after feeling he was brake-tested ahead of the restart, causing contact between the two drivers with a side-swipe.

Vettel was hit with a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race – the harshest penalty besides disqualification – before the matter was re-examined by the FIA following outcry from a number of figures in the paddock, including Hamilton.

On Monday, the FIA announced that it would be taking no further action against Vettel, respecting the stewards’ decision from the Baku race as the German took full responsibility for the clash and issued an apology.

“The FIA remained deeply concerned by the wider implications of the incident, firstly through the impact such behavior may have on fans and young competitors worldwide and secondly due to the damage such behavior may cause fo the FIA’s image and reputation of the sport,” part of a statement from the FIA reads.

“Following detailed discussion and further examination of video and data evidence related to the incident, Sebastian Vettel admitted full responsibility.

“Sebastian Vettel extended his sincere apologies to the FIA and the wider motorsport family. He additionally committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events, including in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the FIA Formula 3 Championship, at an FIA Formula 4 Championship to be defined and at the FIA Stewards’ seminar.

“Due to this incident, president Jean Todt instructed that no road safety activities should be endorsed by Sebastian Vettel until the end of this year.

“The FIA notes this commitment, the personal apology made by Sebastian Vettel and his pledge to make that apology public. The FIA also notes that Scuderia Ferrari is aligned with the values and objectives of the FIA.

“In light of these developments, FIA president Jean Todt decided that on this occasion the matter should be closed.”

However, Todt did stress that a repeat of the incident would not be tolerated, and would be referred immediately to the FIA International Tribunal should it occur again.

“Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare. However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with that pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport, but which befits the elevated status they enjoy,” Todt said.

“Sportsmen must be cognizant of the impact their behavior can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models to millions of fans worldwide and must conduct themselves accordingly.”

After dodging further punishment, Vettel will head to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix still leading the drivers’ championship by 14 points from Hamilton with 12 races remaining.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.