Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2021

“Stupid” penalty points system is not what F1 should be – Norris

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris criticised Formula 1’s penalty points system after his controversial sanction in the Austrian Grand Prix put him close to an automatic ban.

The McLaren driver left the ninth round of the world championship with 10 points on his licence after picking up two for an incident with Sergio Perez. Two more would trigger an automatic ban.

Norris will have two points for a past infringement removed from his licence this week. However he will remain on at least eight until later in the season.

The McLaren driver defended his record, and said penalty points should only be issued for drivers who have committed potentially dangerous acts.

“In my opinion, there should be decisions about when someone’s done something dangerous and put someone in harm’s way and done something that they shouldn’t have done,” said Norris. “And then you have racing and when people have to use common sense.”

The McLaren driver collected three penalty points for an incident during a qualifying session in Baku where he passed the pit lane entrance when the session was red-flagged. Norris was unsure whether to pit, and given his high approach speed did not want to commit to the pit lane entrance, which he insisted was the safe thing to do.

“I didn’t put anyone in harm’s way,” said Norris. “In fact it was the opposite and I did everything safely. Why should I deserve penalty points for that? Why should I deserve penalty points today for someone going into the gravel?”

He wants Formula 1 to draw a sharper distinction between genuinely dangerous acts and typical racing incidents.

“Nothing I’ve done is dangerous,” Norris stated. “Maybe in some cases you deserve an on-track penalty because you’ve done something bad in terms of racing and you just made a mistake.

“But then you have things that people do every now and then which are purely dangerous. If you do genuinely overtake in a yellow flag and do something else that’s clearly a rule that will put people in danger then I understand penalty points for a driver and if that adds up you get a driver ban or race ban.

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“But for little things like this, it’s stupid in my opinion. It’s not what Formula 1 should be. I would expect and hope that other people would back me up on this kind of opinion.”

No Formula 1 driver has ever accrued enough points to earn a one-race ban. However Mahaveer Raghunathan did so twice in 2019 in Formula 2.

How Norris accumulated 10 penalty points in 12 months

DateRoundSessionInfringementPenalty points
10/07/2020StyriaFirst practiceOvertook under yellow flags2
14/11/2020TurkeyQualifyingYellow flag speeding3
05/06/2021AzerbaijanQualifyingFailed to pit immediately after red flag3
04/07/2021AustriaRaceInvolved in an incident2

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on ““Stupid” penalty points system is not what F1 should be – Norris”

  1. For certain events number of penalty points seems very harsh compared to the instantly-affecting sanction. In Norris case that seems to be case in most of his infractions.

    Styria 2020: 3 places on the grid
    Turkey 2020: 5 places on the grid
    Azerbaijan 2021: 3 places on the grid
    Austria 2021: 5 seconds

    I feel that mostly infractions worth of time penalty or 3-place penalty would be 1 point, drive throughs or 5-place penalties 2 points and 10-second stop/gos and 10-place-penalties 3 points.

  2. I would never say Norris is a dangerous driver and as a person seems to be one of the more conscientious and level headed people on the track. For him to be near a ban is a bit of a joke.

    1. Abies de Wet
      5th July 2021, 9:19

      Agreed… The FIA are a bunch of Idiots most of the time… They are regulating F1 to Death…

      Reply moderated
    2. Did you read the article? There’s a table with his infractions. He is a dangerous driver who pays little attention to what is happening on the race track, and so he amassed his penalties for that.

      1. @sviat Okay, we get it, you don’t like Norris. Unfortunately, your inability to be objective betrays your lack of knowledge. If I didn’t know better I’d say you were f1osaurus.

  3. Its all just nonsense if masi and his goons dont have a proper format. This weekends penalties makes f1 a laughing stock. Totally ridiculous! If anything the move that perez made on norris if tbere was a wall there would perez have continued on his trajectory? He should have gotten the penalty. But in truth neither should have

    1. Would Norris have kept pushing Perez wide if there was a wall there? It would have taken them both out.

      F1 does a fine job of making itself look like a laughing stock regardless of the FIA’s involvement.

    2. All three penalties were totally appropriate. And Masi is a racing director. He has nothing to do with penalties.

  4. I noticed most of his Penaulty point is about ignoring flags (Yellow/Red) I think he should pay more attention on Flags But i agree with him on the Perez situation.

    1. Yes @macleod, and arguably this is the whole point of having a penalty points system, to track repeat offenders and clamp down on poor driving standards. If you are consistently ignoring signals from race control then that is a serious problem – the penalty points system encourages officials to look at infractions in context rather than in isolation.

      For example, Norris might have had mitigating circumstances for his red flag infringement in Baku, but for a driver who already has a history of ignoring flags then it is likely (and right) that the offence will be taken more seriously.

      1. I agree with you.
        So Lando complaining about Stupid Penaulty points is wrong as he has a history of ignoring flags.

        1. @macleod Lando says in the above article: “If you do genuinely overtake in a yellow flag and do something else that’s clearly a rule that will put people in danger then I understand penalty points for a driver and if that adds up you get a driver ban or race ban.” He understands why he got those penalty points and agrees with them being given. His issue is with the other penalty points he was given, which were harsh in his (and my) opinion.

          1. He shouldn’t complain about stupid penaulty points but on revised penaulty system.

            I find it strange teams has a say instead of the drivers….

          2. @macleod Teams do not have any more of a say in how penalty points are given out than drivers do.

  5. While Lando is on a roll and most of the things he does are right, don’t think that is the case.

    The penalty points system makes sense as it instills good behavior in the drivers instead of each infarction being a standalone event. And it has worked to a large extent I would say. Maldonado’s incidents reduced post 2012, as did Grosjean’s and Mazepin hasn’t been a train wreck yet.

    8 of Lando’s 10 penalty points have come in qualifying / practice and have been due to application of fairly simple and transparent rules to his driving. (Not saying whether the rules are right or wrong). For example, his 3 points for Turkey are due to a flaw in the rule. Norris had slowed sufficiently at the double waved mini-sector and then completed his fastest lap in Q1 (aided by drying conditions) and hence, was given a penalty. Penalty decision need not be dependent on the eventual lap time.

    There is probably a case for reducing the penalty points applied for incidents in at least practice. I mean overtaking under yellows in FP1 and in the race can’t be the same level of offence.

    To summarize, penalty points system is fine. The points given for any infarction could be lesser for practice and the rules need to be more tighter and farier.

    1. Yellow flags mean the same thing in practice as they do in the race. Ignoring them isn’t any safer in one session than another.

  6. It was clear that he was at fault in the Perez incident, he forced the manouvre and make Perez go out. So he cannot complain like a baby again. Be cleaner and apologize to Perez.

    Reply moderated
    1. “It WaS CLEaR ThAt hE Was At faULT In ThE PErez InCIdEnT, He foRcED tHE MANoUVrE and make PeRez go oUt. sO He CAnnOt complaIN LiKE a BaBY agaiN. Be CLeaNeR ANd APoLOgize tO PeReZ.”

      I guess Lando knows who you are! He and Lewis will keep track of you…

    2. It WaS CLEaR ThAt hE Was At faULT In ThE PErez InCIdEnT, He foRcED tHE MANoUVrE and make PeRez go oUt. sO He CAnnOt complaIN LiKE a BaBY agaiN. Be CLeaNeR ANd APoLOgize tO PeReZ.

      trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash trash

    3. And that’s another killshot from me.

  7. He’ll lose two penalty points next Saturday, which will ease the situation going into Silverstone. He still has to be careful as the next earliest occasion of losing penalty points won’t come until November.

  8. I think the penalty points system is alright, even if maybe sometimes a bit too harsh for minor infringements. The problem with Norris’s most recent penalty points is that they were handed to him for a racing incident. Perez was on the outside and Norris was entitled to the racing line, none of the ‘pushing a driver off track’ in yesterday’s race should’ve resulted in penalties

  9. Agree the penalty points were too much, but F1 should definitely be about racing and not dirty driving so the time penalty was completely right.

  10. I never wanted this. At all. Basically, it’s just introduced so that no race bans can ever happen again.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      5th July 2021, 13:15

      Which was in itself a little silly since the previous race ban to Grosjean in 2012 was Jacques Villeneuve in Japan 97, although he did take part in that particular race

      1. I think Romain had a race ban for repeated dangerous driving. I didn’t knew Jacques had a race ban, thought he was only disqualified.
        Had he been banned, Michael would not hit someone. Well yeah, they didn’t ban him so he could defeat Germany.

        1. It’s funny because Grosjean had not been penalized earlier that year even though he had some incidents (in Australia and Monaco he was the only one to really suffer which probably affected the decisions)

  11. Geoff Wilson
    5th July 2021, 11:42

    All these stupid penalties will just stop drivers racing and that will be the end of F1

    Reply moderated
  12. The penalty points system was introduced to kerb the dangerous driving of the likes of Grosjean, at a time when talent was seriously missing from the grid

    The simple fact is there has been no dangerous driving in Formula One for some time now, and the FIA really need to be asking themselves the question would it be right for any of the current field of drivers to receive a race ban

    What would it achieve, other than to seriously pee people off?

    The only person who should actually get a ban is Masi… telling drivers to slow down & be prepared to stop because 2 cars went spinning of the track in the gravel?

    Slow down and stop for what exactly? There was nothing on the track to slow down and stop for

    What’s wrong with a yellow flag? That’s what you used to caution drivers there’s been an incident

  13. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    5th July 2021, 13:41

    I’m fine with the time penalties associated for pushing competitors off the track when they are fully along side. However, handing out penalty points against drivers licenses is absolutely ridiculous. You might be able to argue the 2 penalty points against perez on tbe first infraction on Leclerc, but even then I’m not sure about it.

  14. I don’t think I can agree with any of this.
    Grosjean wasn’t particularly dangerous either – many of his incidents were caused (at least partially) by others.

    There have been plenty of borderline driving standards in F1 in recent years, but fortunately the consequences haven’t been as bad as they might otherwise have been. Increasing safety standards appears to have lowered the risk, but the risk is still there in reality.

    Yeah, Masi – imagine telling the drivers to obey the regulations. What a villian.
    Double yellows are double yellows, and the incidents they cover range from anywhere between light debris to people and cars stuck on the track.

    1. Even in his last race Grosjean was dangerous. He literally lunged from one side of the track to the other to get in the clean air and without even knowing/caring Daniil Kvyat was there, resulting in a huge collision that lead to F1s second most dangerous crash in the last decade

      That’s unacceptably dangerous and really really stupid . That deserves penalty points.

      Running someone out by holding your racing line through the corner is just racing

  15. Lately, in F1, it seems as though you not absolutely certain who won the race, podiums, point standings etc., until some time long after the teams have departed and are well on their way to the next venue. In most, if not all other sports, referees make a call, and that call is final. I realize, in motor sport, you cannot blow a whistle and stop the race, until a call is made. However, leaving fans, teams, drivers, sponsors in the dark until hours after a race is very unsatisfying. Am I the only one who thinks there have been a rash of penalties awarded post-race lately? I am very unhappy with how the stewards are not getting it right.

    Reply moderated

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