‘Shame’: McLaren fume over Lando Norris incident

Lando Norris has had a mixed start to the 2023 season with McLaren, with the Brit having a new team-mate in the form of Oscar Piastri.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has voiced his concern over the penalty imposed on Lando Norris during the Canadian Grand Prix, suggesting that the British driver may have been used as a precedent. 

Norris received a five-second penalty for what the stewards deemed “unsportsmanlike behaviour” when he slowed down under the safety car to avoid a delay during a double stack pit stop. 

Despite finishing the race in ninth position, the penalty dropped Norris to 13th, leading him to express his confusion over the decision.

Stella described the penalty as “a bit of a shame” and subsequently held discussions with the stewards to gain a better understanding of their reasoning. 

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He stated: “We thought these kinds of speeds under a safety car, or even a virtual safety car, shouldn’t be a reason for an infringement.” 

Norris was found to be approximately 50 km/h slower than his teammate Oscar Piastri between Turns 10 and 13.

The McLaren team principal further commented: “There’s a possibility that the stewards want to set new references. 

“We’ll carry on discussing with them. 

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“Ultimately we trust their judgement, but we are reviewing Lando’s behaviour because we come out of this race very surprised that this has caused a penalty.” 

Stella was cautious in his remarks, recognising the need to delve into the details before forming a strong opinion.

While Stella acknowledged the stewards’ position and the potential desire to establish a precedent for interpreting driving under the safety car, he expressed disappointment in being involved in this process. 

He stated: “It’s a bit of a shame that we are involved in this setting of new precedents.” 

Stella also confirmed that there had been no prior indication from the stewards about a change in their approach.

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He explained: “Not to my knowledge, but let me do the due diligence because during the race, you can kind of look into this level of detail, but there’s a race going on where you are fighting for points. 

“Also, if we could have overtaken [Esteban Ocon of Alpine] rather than being blocked, then we could have made up the five seconds. 

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