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Stella: Stewards setting precedent with Norris' Canada penalt

Stella: Stewards setting precedent with Norris’ Canada penalty

Stella: Stewards setting precedent with Norris' Canada penalt
Lando Norris was given a five-second penalty at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix for slowing down behind the Safety Car, which has been subject to debate, with McLaren boss Andrea Stella claiming the Stewards are setting a precedent.

Norris slowed down behind the Safety Car – that came out after Mercedes’ George Russell hit the wall at the exit if Turn 9 – to keep a gap to teammate Oscar Piastri in front allowing McLaren to do a double-stack pitstop.

But the stewards deemed his behavior “unsportsmanlike” and for that gave his a five-second penalty which dropped him out of the points after crossing the finish line ninth.

The fact that the stewards did not base their decision on a specific rule in the F1 rulebook, has caused a stir around Norris’ penalty.

Commenting in his driver’s penalty, McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella told Sky Sports F1: “We spoke to the stewards after the race because we thought this kind of speed under a Safety Car, or even a Virtual Safety Car, should not be a reason for infringement.

“There’s the possibility the stewards want to set new references,” he speculated. “We will discuss 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.”

Norris and McLaren caught up in a new precedence

Stella tried to be cautious before going in the offensive, he added: “It’s one of those where you really need to look into a great level of detail before you express too strong opinions. So let me do the due diligence.

“We understand the position of the stewards. We understand that they may want to set a precedent so that there’s a kind of new way of interpreting the way you have to drive under a Safety Car.

“If that’s the approach, fine. But it’s a bit of a shame that we are involved in this setting of a new precedent,” Stella concluded.

For reference, this is what the Stewards said regarding Norris’ penalty in their Decision Document #58.

The document said: “The Stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence. During the Safety Car period the driver slowed to allow a gap to form between his team mate in Car 81 and him. In doing so he delayed the cars behind. There was a significant difference in speed between Car 4 and Car 81 between Turns 10 and 13 (approximately 50 km/h).

“Article 12.2.1.l of the ISC refers to “any infringement of the principles of fairness in competition, behaviour in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempt to influence the results of a competition, in a way that is contrary to sporting ethics,” the Stewards added.

Norris expressed his disappointment with the penalty he receives, claiming it did not make any sense.