Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing salutes the crowds while standing atop his car after the controversial 'doughnut' celebration at the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International circuit in Greater Noida. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
Sebastian Vettel got off with a reprimand but Red Bull were slapped with a €25,000 ($34,500) fine on Sunday over the German's rubber-burning 'doughnuts' after sealing the world title in India.
Vettel defied the officials and span round and round in his car in front of the packed grandstand, raising a plume of smoke, after winning the race and his fourth straight championship.
He then climbed on top of his Red Bull and saluted the crowd before kneeling down in front of his car in mock worship, raising a huge roar from the spectators.
Race stewarts summoned Vettel and a team official and issued the punishments after examining video and audio tapes. But they said they showed leniency over Vettel's "special circumstance".
"The driver failed to proceed directly from the circuit to the post-race parc ferme as detailed under article 43.3 of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations," an FIA release said.
"Due to the special circumstance, the stewards accepted the explanation of the driver. The team failed to instruct the driver sufficiently to return directly to post-race parc ferme."
However, Vettel's comments, given separately, appeared to contradict that version of events.
"I didn't think about the doughnuts before the race today - it just happened," Vettel said.
"My engineer directed for the usual procedure, but I said 'not this time!' There are so many people on the main grandstand here, I just had to do it."
Last month, Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was also reprimanded for running on to the track and hitching a ride on Fernando Alonso's Ferrari after the Singapore Grand Prix.
But Webber's punishment resulted in a 10-place grid penalty because it was his third reprimand this season, an outcome which left the Australian driver fuming.