As you read this I am at the Sepang circuit outside of Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

This state of the art track built especially for Formula 1, has never attracted a large crowd and since the advent of the more glamorous Singapore night race, just 350 kms to the south, the crowds have dwindled even further.

Sadly it is scheduled to be the last Formula 1 Grand Prix to be held at this track, the first being in October of 1999 and was one of the first Formula 1 tracks to be designed by the much maligned, sometimes deservedly so, Hermann Tilke, a man who went on to design many more tracks for Grands Prix racing.

A fast, challenging track with the tropical heat and humidity testing the reliability of the engines on the long straight, as well as the drivers and indeed the non local tourists, Sepang has never been an easy track to master. Nor has the weather with unpredictable heavy rain storms a regular feature.


The main drivers' championship protagonists have had mixed results in Sepang with Lewis Hamilton winning only once (and who could forget his anguish last year when his engine decided enough was enough while comfortably in the lead of the race followed by Hamilton's veiled accusations of deliberate team sabotage that followed?) and Sebastian Vettel winning the race four times with both the Ferrari (once) and Red Bull teams.

We go into the race weekend with Vettel now with a twenty eight points deficit in the championship to Hamilton and that deficit is due, in the main, to his own rash misjudgement at the beginning of the race in Singapore.

The stewards of that event decided that, in the official words, "The stewards consider that no driver was found to have been wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident and will therefore take no further action."

Those stewards are completely out of step with the rest of the watching world (with of course the exception of Ferrari and it's Tifosi) who are clearly of the opinion that the collision was wholly and predominantly the fault of Vettel.

So no penalty was issued and that really does look as if Vettel, once again, is living a charmed life when it comes to penalties.

Outbursts, vitriolic and expletive laden, aimed at the officials, with Race Director Charlie Whiting being the bull's-eye, have been forgiven after he offered a humble and well drafted (by the team?) apology. Deliberately and dangerously colliding with Hamilton in Baku earlier this season earned him a comparatively slight slap on the wrist, bad sportsmanship with his driving at the Mexican GP, a collision with Rosberg at Sepang and having been adjudged to have driven Massa off the road, all in 2016, left Vettel at the top of the Formula One drivers pyramid of penalty points, almost in the situation where one more points penalty inducing situation would have resulted in him sitting on the naughty chair for a time out for one Grand Prix.

Difficult to see the stewards swinging down the axe on that with a competitive Ferrari in the battle for the championship going on isn't it?

Drivers have been penalised for far less than the actions of Vettel in Singapore which not only robbed the spectators of a potentially thrilling race but also ruined the race for at least three other drivers.

I guess if there is some justice in the situation it is in the loss of points to Vettel and the subsequent winning of the race by Hamilton, all of which has seriously damaged any championship hopes for not only Vettel but the Ferrari Formula 1 team itself.

Vettel is a brilliant driver, no doubt about that but he does seem to have serious flaws in his determination to win. Flaws that were evident even back in the Red Bull days with teammate Mark Weber.

If he were a mere mortal driving on the public roads and had racked up a similar list of 'offences' then he would be classed as a hooligan and a potential danger to other road users. Patently he is far from that as he is a highly skilled and talented hard driver in a highly competitive environment but there has to come a point where the stewards recognise that his driving sometimes sits on the wrong side of acceptable and that, in my opinion, was what occurred in Singapore.

The accident at the beginning of the race was down to him, plain and simple and regardless of any repercussions on the championship it should have been dealt with as such.

He has much work to do to get back in the title chase so let us all hope that he can start that work in earnest at this final, for now at least, Malaysian Grand Prix.

I travelled to the 2017 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix with the Global Sports and Events company.