Vettel's Tire-Smoking Donuts Draw Fine After Big Win | Edmunds

Vettel's Tire-Smoking Donuts Draw Fine After Big Win

Just the Facts:
  • Sebastian Vettel's Team Red Bull was fined approximately $34,500 after the Indian Grand Prix.
  • Vettel celebrated his championship-clinching race victory by doing tire-smoking donuts on the main straightaway.
  • F1 officials fined the team for not directing Vettel to report directly to the post-race impound.

GREATER NOIDA, India — Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of Formula 1 competition, but the celebration he staged after clinching his fourth straight driving championship on Sunday earned the German driver's Team Red Bull a fine of approximately $34,500.

It was sort of an auto-racing version of the National Football League's "excessive celebration" rule that can result in fines or suspensions of players whose behavior after scoring a touchdown is ruled to be unsportsmanlike.

Vettel thrashed the competition to win the Indian Grand Prix for the third year in a row, locking up the championship, and then, after a cool-down lap, sent his car spinning in a series of donuts at the start-finish line.

He got out of the car and climbed up the fence and threw his driving gloves into the grandstand and then went over the pit wall to celebrate with team members.

Vettel became the third driver to win four consecutive F1 championships, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Vettel is also the youngest four-time world champion by eight years.

What he was supposed to do, according to the sporting regulations, was drive straight to the impound area, called parc ferme, and then report to the post-race podium ceremony.

Vettel has had the potential of clinching the championship for the last few races, but his display Sunday was spontaneous, he said.

"I didn't think about the donuts before the race today — it just happened," said Vettel. "My engineer directed for the usual procedure, but I said 'not this time!'"

Vettel was ordered to report to race stewards after the event, and after hearing his explanation, a violation — specifically, by the team, "for failing to sufficiently ensure by radio that he went to parc ferme."

In American racing, donuts, burnouts and other celebratory actions are commonplace. Triple Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and IndyCar and NASCAR champ Tony Stewart formerly celebrated wins by climbing the fencing in front of the grandstands, like Vettel did at Buddh International Circuit on Sunday. Athletic NASCAR driver Carl Edwards does backflips off the window ledge of his car after victories.

According to F1, such displays cause "unnecessary delays" in the post-race ceremonies.

Edmunds says: Many fans panned the NFL's 2006 rule against "excessive celebrations," suggesting the league's initials stood for "No Fun League." Victory celebrations appear to be popular with motor sport fans, as well.

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