It hasn’t been a good season for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Actually, make that two seasons.
In 2018 he had the fastest car but too many errors helped Lewis Hamilton win his fifth world title.
And the errors have continued into this year – in fact, they’ve got worse.
Last season, he was given penalty points on his super licence – which a driver needs to race in F1 – at the United States Grand Prix.
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The German has been racking them up ever since and his tally now stands at nine. If a driver hits 12 penalty points over a 12-month period, they automatically trigger a one-race ban.
This isn’t football, where taking a ban is as regular an occurrence as a mis-timed sliding tackle. In fact, F1 race bans have been handed out only twice in the past 25 years.
So it’s little wonder Vettel is under such scrutiny – after all, this is a four-time world champion with 12 years’ experience under his belt. This is not what we have come to expect from him – particularly during those incredible years of dominance with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.
But here we are, and if Vettel acquires three more points over the next three races – or five points between now and June 2020 as two of his current points will expire on 19 October this year – he will incur a ban.
So he has a quite few races to keep his nose clean.
Here’s the rap sheet so far…
Those aforementioned race bans in the past 25 years?
Michael Schumacher – 1994
Romain Grosjean – 2012