McLaren concern as FIA target Lando Norris in suspected new precedent

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris exiting the McLaren MCL60. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Lando Norris climbing out of the McLaren MCL60 cockpit. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Andrea Stella has questioned whether the stewards wanted to set a “precedent” with Lando Norris’ ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’ penalty in Canada but stopped short of expressing a “strong opinion”.

Coming in for a double-stack pit stop at the Canadian Grand Prix, Norris dropped off from his team-mate Oscar Piastri to create a gap that would mean he wasn’t left stationary behind his team-mate in the pits.

The stewards took a dim view on that and hit the McLaren driver with a five-second time penalty for what they dubbed ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’.

Norris was perplexed, telling Sky Sports: “It doesn’t make sense to me. I was, what, three seconds, four seconds behind my delta – which everyone quite often is.”

Stella was also baffled by the call and questioned whether the stewards were trying to set a precedent.

“We thought these kinds of speeds under a Safety Car, or even a Virtual Safety Car, shouldn’t be a reason for an infringement,” he said as per Speedcafe.

“There’s a possibility that the stewards want to set new references. We’ll carry on discussing 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.” recommends

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The McLaren team boss, though, stopped short of criticising the stewards before he joined Guenther Steiner in their office, the Haas team boss having found himself in hot water after the Monaco GP.

“It’s one of those where you really need to look into a great level of detail before you express too strong an opinion, so let me do the due diligence,” Stella added.

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

“If that’s the approach, fine, but it’s a bit of a shame that we are involved in this setting of new precedents.”

The penalty meant that Norris, despite crossing the line in ninth place dropped to P13.

The team boss also wasn’t happy that Esteban Ocon, who was running eighth to Norris’ ninth, “blocked” the McLaren driver from making a pass.

“If we could have overtaken (Ocon) rather than being blocked, then we could have opened the five seconds,” he added.

“So we’re doing some of the work that we couldn’t do during the race in terms of checking exactly the facts associated with this episode.”