Christian Horner says he would be surprised if Sebastian Vettel was not reprimanded for telling FIA race director Charlie Whiting to "f--- off" at the end of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Vettel's furious radio tirade included repeated expletives towards Whiting, who was in the process of handing Max Verstappen the time penalty Vettel had been asking for. Vettel was upset that Verstappen had gone off at Turn 1 while defending third position late in the race but then refused to yield afterwards.
Though Vettel sought out Whiting to personally apologise after the race, Horner thinks his former driver could have a punishment coming his way for what he said.
"Of course in the heat of the moment there's always going to be emotion from the drivers," Horner said. "In other sports, I'm sure if football players had microphones on their language would be an awful lot bluer than what's going out on the track. But in any sport what you can't do is give abuse to the referee, essentially. So I would be surprised if that went unreprimanded."
Though Verstappen's crossed in third, Vettel eventually took his place on the podium, only to lose that again through a ten-second penalty for amoving under braking to defend a lunge from Daniel Ricciardo on the penultimate lap.
Vettel drove at Red Bull between 2009 and 2014, winning four drivers' championships in that time. Horner says Vettel's colourful language has started since moving to Ferrari.
"It is not an attribute that he had when he drove for us. Obviously his frustration is vocalising, and everyone can hear that."
Vettel's colourful radio messages have been a regular feature in 2016, including a furious rant at the Russian Grand Prix after being punted off by Daniil Kvyat, though they have usually been reserved for backmarkers failing to yield for blue flags.
During the Mexico weekend, Fernando Alonso forgave Vettel for calling him an "idiot" over the radio during Friday practice, saying the German was "living a very frustrating period" at a Ferrari team yet to win this year. After the grand prix Verstappen, the grid's youngest driver, suggested Vettel go back to school to learn better language.
Helmut Marko, the man who guided Vettel through Red Bull's driver programme, said his language in Mexico was "unworthy of a four-time world champion".