F1 steward Emanuele Pirro has explained how handing Sebastian Vettel a penalty “changed his life” forever.

The ex-FIA man was at the thick of the most controversial penalty handed in recent memory, when he handed one out to Vettel at the 2019 Canadian GP.

The former racing driver’s life would never be the same again, as fans spewed venomous comments at him on social media.

Speaking on Beyond the Grid, F1’s official podcast, Pirro explained how handing Vettel a penalty that day “changed his life” forever.

“(It was) very much unpleasant, in a way it changed my life and also my perception, now my relationship with social media is very different,” Pirro said, as reported by motorsportweek.

Pirro: Vettel penalty fallout ‘changed my life’

“But more than all the insults that I had, it was because it was a straightforward (decision), just people did not understand it, and at the end of the day, the whole motorsport of Formula 1 lost something because the majority of the world had a bad perception.

“So at the end we (gave) one (decision) to one racing (incident), (and) this was hurting the whole of F1 because it was perceived in an incorrect way.”

By the book

The former steward insisted that the FIA cannot satisfy every fan, but they always abide by the rules.

“So this hurt me because I love the sport so much,” he said.

“I thought ‘for god’s sake, why don’t they understand that the one who has to win, has to win and not the one you want to win.’

“I think the whole world wanted Sebastian Vettel to win because he was going through a tough time, it was just a wonderful story. If you score and it’s offside, it’s got to be offside. Somebody has to take the decision to make sport fair,” he concluded.

Read more: Szafnauer relieved Vettel is staying with Aston Martin – “Would have been a shame if he left”


  1. “… the one who has to win, has to win and not the one you want to win….” So the fix was in foe Hamilton. He had to win the Canadian GP. I’m glad he cleared that up for everyone.


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