McLaren concerned it was used to set precedent with Norris penalty
By Ian Parkes
Tuesday 20th June, 2023 - 9:54am
McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has expressed concern Lando Norris was used to set a precedent with the penalty he received during the Canadian Grand Prix.
Norris was punished with a five-second penalty for ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’, with the stewards determining the British driver “slowed under the safety car to avoid a delay during a ‘double stack’ for his pitstop”.
Although Norris took the chequered flag in ninth position, the penalty relegated him to 13th. Post-race, he said the punishment “doesn’t make sense to me”.
Stella said the penalty was “a bit of a shame” that resulted in discussions afterwards with the stewards to further understand their logic.
“We thought these kinds of speeds under a safety car, or even a virtual safety car, shouldn’t be a reason for an infringement,” said Stella.
Norris was found to have been approximately 50 km/h slower than team-mate Oscar Piastri between Turns 10 and 13.
Stella added: “There’s a possibility that the stewards want to set new references. We’ll carry on discussing with them.
“Ultimately we trust their judgement but we are reviewing the behaviour of Lando because we come out of this race very surprised that this has caused a penalty.”
Stella felt compelled to temper his remarks at one stage, particularly given the suggestion that Norris may have been used as a guinea pig.
“It’s one of those where you really need to look into a great level of detail before you express too strong an opinion, so let me do the due diligence,” he added.
“We understand the position of the stewards, we understand that they may want to set a precedent so that there’s kind of a new way of interpreting the way you have to drive under the safety car. If that’s the approach, fine.
“But it’s a bit of a shame that we are involved in this setting of new precedents.”
Stella has confirmed there to be no previous indication from the stewards that there was a new direction in approach.
“Not to my knowledge, but like I say, let me do the due diligence, because during the race you can kind of look into this level of details, but there’s a race going on where you are fighting for points,” he said.
“Also, if we could have overtaken (Alpine’s Esteban Ocon late on) rather than being blocked, then we could have opened the five seconds.
“So we’re doing some of the work that we couldn’t do during the race in terms of checking exactly the facts associated with this episode.”