Lando Norris casts verdict as concerns grow over ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ Silverstone protests

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris speaks to Channel 4. Australia April 2023.

McLaren driver Lando Norris speaks to British TV after the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne April 2023.

Lando Norris hopes to see potential protestors stay away from Silverstone this year, calling such a move “stupid” and “selfish” on the part of those who go onto a live track.

Activists from environmental group Just Stop Oil have interrupted multiple sporting and cultural events over the past couple of years in the name of raising alarm over climate change, with protestors most recently being escorted off the pitch at Lord’s during the Ashes test between England and Australia – including England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow carrying a person off the field himself.

Six people from the group were arrested and prosecuted for protesting at last year’s British Grand Prix after making their way onto the Wellington Straight during a red flag period, and concerns are growing that this year’s race may be interrupted again.

Lando Norris hopes protestors are ‘smart enough’ to avoid live race track

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

The six people arrested at Silverstone last year were found guilty of causing a public nuisance after attempting to glue themselves to the track surface, but all were spared prison time and given a mixture of suspended sentences and community orders.

Given the group’s continued activity, security concerns have been raised about the possibility of protests taking place again this weekend at Silverstone, and McLaren driver Norris gave multiple reasons why he hopes to see this avoided – not least for the life-endangering risk they would place themselves under.

He added that he understands the right to protest, and trusts in the security staff at Silverstone to do the best job possible to ensure the track stays off limits to spectators at the British Grand Prix this weekend.

“I guess there’s a concern over it, of course,” Norris told media including PlanetF1.com when asked about protestors interrupting sporting events of late.

“I think to do such a thing is, I’m not going to lie, it’s a stupid thing to do, to put your life in danger with cars driving around.

“It’s a very selfish thing to do at the same time – this particular act of what happened last year, because of the consequences it also has on a person that’s driving the car if something happened.

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“But at the same time, I mean, it’s not my area of expertise and my best knowledge of these things, but everyone has the right to do such a thing.

“I guess there are some good ways of doing it and worse ways and I saw the in one of the articles from Lewis [Hamilton] saying he supports it, in a way, supports protests and these kinds of things, and people standing up for what they think is right, as long as it’s done in the right way – I think that’s the most important thing.

“I don’t want to think of it as a concern. I feel like Silverstone will do the best job that they can to stop these kinds of things. I just hope people are smart enough to not do such a thing again.

“There are plenty of other ways [to protest], much safer ways to get just as much attention and do what they want to do.”

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