Vettel gets in trouble in Turkey for driving, then drinking

Ruh-roh. It looks like Sebastian Vettel hasn't quite ingratiated himself with his hosts in Istanbul, though there's no telling what (if any) repercussions might ensue.

According to reports, Vettel was told before the start of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix that, if he were to win, he would not be allowed to drink the champagne. Not because alcohol isn't permitted in Turkey – while in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain the traditional bubbly is replaced with a sparkling non-alcoholic beverage in deference to the ban on alcohol under Sharia (Muslim law), Turkey, while predominantly Muslim, is a more liberal country. No, the instructions were given specifically to Vettel because of a new Turkish law that places the minimum drinking age at 24. And Vettel (both the youngest race winner and the youngest world champion in F1 history) is just 23. As you can see above, drink champagne he did.

Now Vettel isn't the youngest driver on the grid this year. Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari and Sauber's Sergio Perez are all younger, but given their track records compared to Vettel's... well, let's just say the bookies weren't giving even odds on that particular bet.

The restrictions in Turkey extend as well to a ban on advertising alcohol, forcing some teams to temporarily jettison their liquor sponsors (much as they did when tobacco advertising was banned in certain countries, but not others). McLaren, for example, is sponsored by Johnnie Walker scotch whisky, as Force India is by Whyte & Mackay, while Sauber is sponsored by Jose Cuervo tequila. (Ferrari is apparently no longer sponsored by Martini, while we assume Vettel and Webber simply left the vodka out of their Red Bulls for this round.)

Will Vettel face some sort of punishment at the hands of the Turkish authorities? We'd hate to think what that would entail, but one way or another, he'll be legal by next year's grand prix. That is, assuming the race takes place again next year; an increase in the fees by Bernie Ecclestone could mean that this year's was the last for Istanbul Park.

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