Vettel admits Aston Martin car 'isn't where they want it to be'
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French-language F1 commentator, Lionel Froissart, has been suspended by Belgian channel RTBF Sport after labelling Aston Martin star Lance Stroll ‘the autistic’. Froissart received backlash from his co-commentator, and now faces an investigation after RTBF released a stern statement on Wednesday.
Both Aston Martins finished out of the points on Sunday, with Sebastian Vettel taking the chequered flag last of the finishers and Stroll coming home four places better off in P13. But the latter, whose father Lawrence co-owns the team, was targeted by a controversial insult midway through the race.
Froissart, who works for Belgium’s RBTF Sport which, in turn, provides the official French-language commentary for F1 TV, labelled Stroll ‘the autistic’. Co-commentator Gaetan Vigneron quickly struck back, snapping: “That’s too strong. You’re going too far.”
To make matters worse for Froissart, he doubled down on his initial comment by saying: “Honestly, this is the truth.”
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The exchange quickly gained traction on social media, leading RTBF to release a statement confirming Froissart’s suspension, pending an investigation. “RTBF strongly condemns the words used on Sunday, July 10, on air by its consultant Lionel Froissart during the Austrian Grand Prix,” it read.
“Associating autism with a driver’s way of communicating was misplaced and completely inconsistent with RTBF values. An internal investigation will be conducted, to hear all the involved persons.
“The goal is to understand in detail what could have led to this incident. Pending the results of this investigation, RTBF will no longer work with the consultant in question until further notice.”
Stroll is currently 19th in the Drivers’ Championship having put just three points on the board, considerably less than the 15 managed by team-mate Vettel. His position as Lawrence Stroll’s son has left him open to criticism, and that has only ramped up with his inconsistent performances this season, which he blames on not feeling comfortable with the car.
Three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert has tipped the father and son duo to have an honest conversation if things fail to pick up from here.
“Lance has had a bit of a difficult time of late,” he told the F1 Nation podcast. “I sometimes think there is a certain time that, if it doesn’t quite happen, Lawrence has got to go ‘son, I’ve given you a chance. It isn’t quite working out, and I’ve got to do what’s right for the team’.
“I think there will be a point that’s going to happen. I don’t exactly know when that will be, but it’s down to Lance actually to do the job that he needs to do and consistently do that job. At the moment, it’s a little bit scrappy.”
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