Austria F1 drivers' meeting 'going in circles' caused Vettel exit

© XPB 

A F1 drivers' meeting that was "going in circles" last weekend in Austria caused Sebastian Vettel to suddenly storm out of the room, according to Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

Vettel was fined €25,000 euros by the FIA for his premature exit that was deemed a breach of Formula 1's sporting rules by the governing body.

At the time, it was unclear why Vettel had decided to cut short his attendance of the traditional Friday evening briefing that was chaired at the Red Bull Ring by F1 race director Niels Wittich.

It later came to light that Vettel's frustration had been sparked by a lengthy discussion focused on topics such as track limits and pit entry requirements which the Aston Martin driver considered as relatively secondary issues compared to other priorities.

Schumacher shed some light on the proceedings and on why Vettel had grown impatient.

"I just felt like we were going in circles with some of the things that were discussed," said the Haas driver. "It kind of was getting longer than necessary.

"I fully understand the direction from Seb, and I think there were a lot more drivers who kind of felt the need to leave the briefing as well."

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo also felt that the meeting was going nowhere fast.

"I don't want to speak for Seb, but sometimes we've got engineering to do," the Aussie pointed out.

"So I think sometimes if you're going back and forth, and there's always conversations, if it goes on long and without a definitive answer, then for sure some are like, ‘I gotta go.’

"Obviously Seb was a little frustrated with the back and forth. He obviously felt quite strongly about it."

On the topic of track limits, whatever rules were prescribed by Wittich in the meeting appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as the stewards noted a total 43 track infringements during Sunday's race, with four drivers – Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Zhou Guanyu – handed five second penalties.

However, the sanctions did little to instill a sense of confidence among the drivers over the consistency of the officials' decisions.

"The track limits debate this weekend has been a bit of a joke, not only in F1 but in F2 and F3," admitted Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

"It’s easy to say from the outside, yeah, but you just have to stay within the white lines. It sounds very easy, but it’s not, because when you go that quick through a corner and some of them are a bit blind, you have a bit more understeer, tyres are wearing, and it’s easy to go over the white line.

"But do you actually gain time? Maybe yes, maybe not. To be honest, it’s only like two or three corners where you can go a bit wider.

"I don’t think we should have this, ah you went 1mm over, that’s a penalty or whatever. Then just add a wall or bring some gravel back."

Schumacher, who often struggled with track limit decisions in F2, agreed that hitting a driver with a penalty for very marginally running beyond the all-important white line was "silly".

"It does look a bit silly if for going a centimetre of track you get a penalty of five seconds, and most of the time when you go off you don’t gain any lap time, which is worse," commented the German.

"It’s something to be discussed, something to see if we can improve it for the next event because I think in Paul Ricard especially it will be a big concern.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter