FIA explain why Lando Norris was slapped with rare penalty for ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris arrives at the circuit. Jeddah March 2023.

McLaren driver Lando Norris arrives at the circuit ahead of the press conferences. Saudi Arabia March 2023.

Lando Norris lost a points-scoring finish in Canada after the FIA penalised him for what they deemed to be “unsportsmanlike behaviour”. 

When George Russell left a shower of debris on the circuit following his heavy whack of the wall on Lap 12, Norris was among the drivers heading to the pits, with McLaren deciding to double-stack their drivers.

The stewards though took issue with what they perceived as Norris slowing down to an unnecessary level, in order to create enough of a gap between he and team-mate Oscar Piastri so that he would not lose time by having his pit stop immediately after his team-mate’s.

The verdict from Race Control was that a five-second penalty would head Norris’ way, meaning P9 on the road became P13 in the final Canadian Grand Prix classification for the Brit.

Explaining their decision, the stewards wrote: “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.'” recommends

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That then marked a point-less visit to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for McLaren, with Piastri having crossed the line P11.

And with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon scoring four points for a P8 finish, it means Alpine’s buffer over McLaren in P5 in the Constructors’ Championship has now grown slightly more daunting with a gap of 27 points following the Canadian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Red Bull meanwhile continue to pull further clear of the competition, the Dutchman making it four wins in a row with Canadian GP victory, that also Red Bull’s 100th win.