The Canadian Grand Prix saw Norris get penalised for overly decelerating under safety car conditions during the 12th lap, inadvertently creating a gap between himself and his McLaren team-mate, Oscar Piastri. This move seemingly allowed McLaren a buffer for executing a double pitstop.
In their ruling, the FIA stewards slapped a five-second penalty on the British driver for “unsportsmanlike conduct”. They explained that Norris had intentionally slowed down under the safety car to sidestep a delay during his pitstop, specifically during a ‘double stack’ manoeuvre.
According to the stewards, Norris slowed down enough to allow a considerable gap to form between his team-mate in Car 81 and himself, thereby delaying the trailing cars. They pointed out a significant speed discrepancy (roughly 50 km/h) between Car 4 and Car 81 between Turns 10 and 13.
The stewards cited Article 12.2.1.l of the ISC, which addresses “any breach of fair competition principles, unsporting behaviour, or attempts to sway competition results in a manner contradicting sports ethics.”
In an interview with F1 Flow.com, Norris confessed his confusion over the penalty. “I wasn’t informed by the team, so I genuinely don’t know why I got penalised,” he shared.
After being updated on the situation, he expressed more bewilderment, saying, “I was only instructed to pit about three seconds prior to reaching the pit lane. I was racing full throttle at that point, so the penalty seems nonsensical to me.
Norris added, “Many drivers, myself included, have slowed down under VSC multiple times. If I deserved a penalty today, the same should have applied for the past three years for myself and everyone else. However, I firmly believe I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The imposed time penalty effectively lowered Norris’ final race position from ninth to thirteenth, nullifying his chances of earning points after a thrilling mid-pack battle with Esteban Ocon from Alpine and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.
Despite the disappointing outcome, Norris described the Canadian Grand Prix as his finest performance in 2023 so far, saying, “I’d say it was my best race of the year. I managed one of my first overtakes of the year, making it a good race.
Despite losing a spot to Piastri, I made a comeback. All of my successful overtakes were at the hairpin, where I felt especially confident with the brakes.
The pace wasn’t spectacular, but it was sufficient to keep up with the Alfa and the Alpine and offer some opportunity to compete against them.”
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Alonso likens F1 Canadian GP to “70 laps of qualifying” for him
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lando Norris F1 Penalty
Why was Lando Norris penalised during the Canadian Grand Prix?
Norris was penalised by the FIA stewards for overly decelerating under safety car conditions during the 12th lap. This action resulted in a gap between himself and his McLaren team-mate, Oscar Piastri, which was considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
What was the nature of Norris’s penalty?
The British driver received a five-second penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct”. This penalty was added to his race time, effectively lowering his final race position from ninth to thirteenth.
Did Norris agree with the penalty?
No, Norris disagreed with the penalty. In an interview, he expressed confusion and said he didn’t believe he did anything wrong. According to him, if he deserved a penalty for this race, the same should have applied for the past three years for all drivers who slowed down under the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) conditions.
Despite the penalty, how did Norris evaluate his performance?
Despite the disappointing outcome, Norris described the Canadian Grand Prix as his finest performance in 2023 so far. He managed one of his first overtakes of the year and felt confident with his race pace, which was sufficient to keep up with his competitors.