McLaren’s Lando Norris is of the opinion that his Austria punishment earlier this year was unfair with context to the FIA’s explanation of Max Verstappen’s similar moves in Brazil GP.
Lando Norris was awarded a five-second penalty in Austria following an incident where he, according to the FIA, ‘forced’ Red Bull’s Sergio Perez off the track during their battle in turn 4.
The incident where Perez was attacking Norris on the outside line and trying to hold that position is being used as the example to showcase the inconsistency of the decisions that are rolled out by the stewards. Case in point, the incident between Verstappen and Hamilton in Brazil.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in a bid to hold onto his lead in the Brazil GP against a charging Hamilton went wide and thus caused the Mercedes driver to do the same. Both drivers went off the track as a result of this move. Initially, the FIA decided to not investigate the incident any further.
While Norris was found guilty in his case, Max Verstappen was given a clean chit by the FIA for a very similar incident.
Austria 2021 – Norris v Perez
Norris kept his car on track and made the corner but received a 5 second penalty. pic.twitter.com/1Jbke5t3Lw
— Whipped🍯 (@SS_Khoza) November 16, 2021
Drivers have been trying to understand if there will be similar leniency during the Qatar GP today but FIA Race Director Michael Masi has made clear that any future incidents of the same nature will not go unpunished.
Norris believes that keeping the context of the Brazil incident in mind, he is now positive that he was unfairly penalised for his actions in the Austrian GP. The only difference in the two incidents was that in Austria, Perez was forced onto the gravel whereas Hamilton and Verstappen ended up on the asphalt run-off.
“Some of the things that we now understand means that I shouldn’t have got a penalty.”
“But then also, what types of surfaces are on the outside of the circuit, whether that’s gravel or tarmac or whatever, can also have an effect. Which I don’t think is maybe fair.
“I think if you know there is gravel on the outside, and you know if you’re not completely alongside, which Perez wasn’t, then he’s put himself in that very risky position.”
More inconsistency by the FIA states Lando Norris
The FIA has always maintained that the end result from an altercation between drivers should not be a deciding factor on action being taken by the stewards. Thus, the asphalt vs gravel trap angle should hold no merit.
Norris further reflected on his incident with Perez in Austria. “I gave still a bit of space for him to back out, and it wasn’t like I shoved him off. There was no contact made, so from that perspective there’s no reason I should have got the penalty.
“The only reason I now believe is that there was gravel and not tarmac. And I feel like that’s a bit of a difficult one to give a penalty on, in that there was gravel and not tarmac.”
“That’s not my fault: it’s the guy on the outside’s risk. He’s taking to put himself on the outside on the corner and it’s up to him. I still feel like it’s an unfair penalty I got.”