Drivers call for ‘harsh’ F1 qualifying penalties if ‘dangerous’ Monza traffic occurs

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen leads a train of F1 cars at Monza.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads a train of cars during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris has called on F1 to be “harsh” in its penalties for impeding in qualifying, with traffic predicted to be a significant issue at Monza in Q1.

With heavy emphasis placed on getting a slipstream, there is potential for drivers to not want to lead others around during qualifying, and there was already evidence of drivers having to weave in and out of their F1 colleagues on qualifying simulations in FP2.

Max Verstappen in particular was unhappy at the amount of traffic he encountered, but those issues may come to a further head when qualifying is in full flow.

Lando Norris and Nico Hulkenberg hope for F1 action over Monza traffic

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

The drivers were due to meet on Friday night to discuss how they deal with traffic at Monza, with the relatively narrow track not allowing too much space to get out of the way at certain places.

On top of that, no driver is going to want to put in a flying lap without a tow, leading to the possibility of a game of ‘chicken’ among them whereby they may wait for one driver to lead off in qualifying, as was evidenced in F2 and F3 qualifying on Friday.

But if any such antics take place on Saturday, McLaren driver Norris wants to see firm action from F1 and the FIA.

“I think they just need to be harsh,” Norris told media including after FP2.

“If anyone does anything that’s dangerous, it should be a penalty straightaway.

“It can be very dangerous around here with the speed differences, so if anyone does anything or just something dangerous, simple as that, it should be a penalty and I think they should be very strict on this.

“The rest is for us to figure out and deal with those drivers, we’ve had to do it for every year for the last 20 years, 30 years. So it’s the same now, just more people complain and it’s our job to do it better.” recommends

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From his point of view, Haas driver Hulkenberg explained that the traffic swells “happen naturally”, given the situations on track, but believes the drivers have to find a solution that works.

“Yeah, it wasn’t pretty,” Hulkenberg said to media including after the session.

“Everyone slowed down, you know, in order to get a tow. It’s obviously pretty effective around here, but we’re just tripping over each other.

“It was getting close, you know, and other cars coming through at high speed – a bit dangerous at some points, too.

“So I’m sure in the drivers meeting now, we’re going to talk about it and we have to find a solution.

“If something needs to change, I don’t know.

“With how the format is and everyone is looking for ultimate performance, you know, that’s what happens naturally.

“But of course, if we create dangerous situations with that, that’s not great. That’s not how it is intended, so that’s why I think we’ll have to look at it.”

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