(L to R): Alex Albon, Williams; Lando Norris, McLaren; Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Norris ‘even more’ sure Canada penalty was wrong after review request fails

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In the round-up: Lando Norris continues to dispute his Canadian Grand Prix penalty after the stewards denied McLaren’s request for a review.

In brief

Norris sticks by innocence over Canadian GP penalty

Norris remains convinced he did nothing wrong to earn a penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix for “unsportsmanlike driving” by lowering his pace behind the Safety Car. The team requested a review of the penalty at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, but the stewards rejected it as they deemed McLaren did not have enough new evidence.

“There was certain situations or things that we brought up to support the reasoning for why they should relook into it,” Norris explained. “Once I re-looked at everything that happened, there was even more reason for there not to be a penalty. I still stand by that everything I did was completely normal and correct and by the book and so on. What they suggest happened, there’s no rule for it.”

“There’s nothing which makes what I did unsportsmanlike. And at the same time, everyone knows that I’m not unsportsmanlike,” he added.

“They have now set a new precedent of what is allowed and what is not allowed and quite a strict one. But we’ll see. I’m sure if they are consistent, which sometimes they’re not, there will be a lot of penalties that are coming up over the next months if people don’t abide by the new regulation, the new rule.”

Alpine and Mercedes confirm new wings for Silverstone

Alpine and Mercedes will bring upgraded front wings for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Pierre Gasly said Alpine’s is “definitely going to bring us some performance, and hopefully Silverstone can be a track that suits us a bit better as Austria is always a bit particular. I’m looking forward to next weekend and see what we get out of it.”

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said their upgrade “will hopefully move us a bit further up the grid.”

Horner doubts move to lighter cars will happen

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the FIA is keen to address concerns about F1 cars getting heavier, as the current minimum weight of 798kg is the highest ever, but believes the 2026 power units regulations will make it more difficult.

“You heard recently the president’s comment about weight,” said Horner. “That’s not an easy thing to reduce when you look at the increase in [battery] cell size that we have, and so on, and the cooling that obviously goes with that.”

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison recently proposed the FIA reduced the minimum weight to encourage teams to find ways to shed kilos off their cars. Horner likes the idea, but doubts it will win support.

“It’s essentially what we did with the KERS in 2009, where we elected not to [run] it, to take the weight advantage,” Horner said in response to Allison’s idea. “It gives it more of an engineering play on things. It’s an interesting proposal. I doubt it would get, unfortunately, the support it needs.”

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Comment of the day

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denied any “self gain” in his recent calls for changes to F1’s 2026 engine rules.

Base on simulations done by his team, he said the rules risk creating “Frankenstein” cars and create situations where drivers would have to change down gears on long straights to maximise performance.

Right now, some of the basic fundamentals of the 2026 regulations have not yet been formally defined – the minimum weight is not yet fixed, dimensions for the width and breadth of bodywork are currently undefined, as are the related restrictions on wheelbase, and the way in which the active aerodynamics will operate are not yet known either.

We already know that at least one basic assumption made for those simulations is currently disputed – Red Bull have been claiming the minimum weight will go up, whilst the FIA has previously stated they intend the minimum weight to remain the same, or potentially even decrease slightly, in 2026. That is arguably one of the simpler parameters to define, and already there are contradictory assumptions being made – how many other assumptions made by Red Bull might also be disputed?

Red Bull can simulate what they want – but given that it will have to be based on a large number of assumptions about the 2026 regulations, it doesn’t mean that their simulations are a realistic representation of a 2026 car.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to John H, Mitz1111, Sebsronnie, Elliot Horwood and Isaac Mwale!

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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23 comments on “Norris ‘even more’ sure Canada penalty was wrong after review request fails”

  1. FIA? With a Rule Book already a weighty tome. 2022 FORMULA 1 TECHNICAL REGULATIONS.
    Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. https://www.fia.com › sites › default › files › 2022…
    PDF. Feb 19, 2021 — The FIA will organise the FIA Formula One World Championship (the “Championship”) which is the property of the FIA and comprises two titles of 158 pages

    How on earth is there any continual & seemingly arbitrary interpretation every race weekend?
    Not ridiculous any longer. Now completely FARCICAL.

    1. This may sound a bit strange – but no two weekends include the exact same incidents to judge on… Literally every individual incident is unique.
      And using previous incidents as precedents often leads to even more subjectively and objectively ‘wrong’ decisions.

      Don’t worry too much about the growing sporting regs. The drivers clearly don’t read them, and their teams aren’t too well-versed on them either.

  2. Just let it go & pointless to base supposed injustification on what happened before because FIA simply didn’t care as much.

    While moving to a smaller cylinder amount or otherwise a powertrain without surrounding hybrid components, given synthetic fuel reduces the need for this stuff would be better in this regard, reducing car length & width dimensions, as well as fuel tank size since synthetic fuel allows for as little as, iirc, 75 or 80 kg as the maximum permitted in a race based on Pat Symond’s words at one point last year + maybe a 5-speed gearbox if that’s still on the table, these combined would decently compensate for the increased battery cell size, albeit with matured hybrid technology, lighter batteries should be achievable anyway.
    Nevertheleess, I still don’t get the desire for increased battery power because of removing MGU-H, even though the current level is perfectly okay & should equally be without MGU-H.
    For that matter, as COTD points out, Red Bull indeed bases things on pure assumptions rather than anything definitive, which is why I’m careful with buying into words from their side.

    1. I forgot to add earlier that I’m surprised Bottas went for a Mercedes despite not driving in the team anymore, although for that matter, his former teammate has/has had a Ferrari & probably some other instances of a driver having a certain manufacturer vehicle despite not being in that manufacturer’s team at that time.

    2. I have always said that if the FIA set the rules that weight must be reduced by a few kilos, then the teams will be able to find a way of doing it. I am not sure why Horner thinks it would not be supported? Maybe it would cost more to make these savings.

      I don’t see either why cars necessarily have to be as powerful as they are now. A small reduction in power would not I think, make any difference to the racing if it effects everyone.

      1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
        8th July 2023, 9:27

        @phil-f1-21 Because the FIA are the main reason why the cars are so heavy in the first place, due to a combination of banning certain materials in most parts of the car, and putting in a bunch of requirements with weight implications.

  3. It’s not that Norris’ penalty was wrong, it’s that the FIA has been far too lenient when other drivers have done the same thing in the past. But it feels like he is more aggrieved by the “unsportsmanlike driving” label than anything else.

    1. I agree. If they’d penalised him under the actual rule which applies (55.5), I’m sure he’d be much less critical, even though it’s a much more strict application of it than we’ve seen most of the time in the past.

      But by calling his behaviour “unsportsmanlike”… He isn’t going to accept that because it “feels” like it’s calling into question his character rather than just his behaviour.

      I really don’t understand why the officials chose to penalise him under this general rule instead of the specific one written for the circumstances, and haven’t since it was announced. Quite frankly, it was IMHO a ridiculous thing to do.

      1. To be honest slowing down is unsportmanlike vs the ones behind you who can’t overtake you. I remember Monaco where Bottas dropped back 11 seconds to give him room to pit and leave Red Bull behind him.
        So slowing down just before the pit 1-2 seconds is acceptable but 7 seconds is too much.

        1. Firstly, I’m not sure it is unsportsmanlike. We see it fairly regularly. It doesn’t really hamper anyone, as they’ll all just line up behind the SC anyway, and it’s something we’ve come to expect.

          Secondly, even it of was, I still fail to see why they punished out under the very general “unsportsmanlike behaviour” rule when there’s a rule specifically written for this situation. It’s almost as if the stewards couldn’t find the correct rule, so decided to just dump it under the general rule instead. It’s seems really weird. It’s like penalising someone who runs a competitor of track or impedes someone in qualifying under this rule: while it may be technically correct, it makes no sense to do so when there is a rule specifically written for these situations.

          1. It doesn’t really hamper anyone, as they’ll all just line up behind the SC anyway

            It hampers those who would have jumped the driver in the pits if he’d had to queue up behind his teammate, @drmouse.

          2. That may be the case. However, I’d still question it being called unsportsmanlike behaviour. It’s currently standard practice in these situations. Anyone looking to pit under the SC when they are close behind their teammate will back off to ensure they don’t have to queue. Everyone does it and everyone expects it to be done. It’s rarely penalised or even commented on, and it’s never been penalised as “unsportsmanlike behaviour” before.

            That said, sportsmanlike behaviour is very subjective, and I can see the points people make about it. It still doesn’t make using that rule the correct way to deal with this incident. If he was considered to be driving too slowly, he should have been penalised under 55.5. That’s the right rule to address driving unnecessarily slowly. The unsportsmanlike behaviour rule should be used when a driver does something unsportsmanlike but there isn’t a specific rule which covers it. It’s a kind of fallback for when there is a gap in the regulations.

          3. I understand the argument that it’s “standard practice” and largely to be expected, but it is also specifically against the rules (and has been ever since Spa 2005, when the McLarens did it – although in those days it was even more blatant since the pit stops were longer due to refuelling).

            In that way it is similar to other rules that are regularly broken but rarely penalised, such as the one that prevents teams from sending their pit crew out to stand in the pit lane when they’re not making a pit stop – we still see teams doing this to try and wrongfoot their opponents, but I can’t recall anyone ever getting a penalty for it.

            (See also “crowding your opponent off the track on the exit of a corner,” which is definitely against the letter of the rules, but only penalised when it goes wrong, such as Hamilton/Albon in Austria 2020).

            In both cases, the conduct is arguably unsportsmanlike, since it relies on breaching the rules in order to gain an advantage for yourself, but where there is a specific rule I agree that it is good practice for the stewards to cite the rule rather than relying on the catch-all.

    2. Whatever the reasons Norris had, his action mimicked those who did try to create a gap for their own stop. And that’s ultimately the only thing the stewards can really look at. And that is both unnecessarily slow driving behind the safety car and unsportsmanlike. Good call by the stewards!

    3. @red-andy

      it feels like he is more aggrieved by the “unsportsmanlike driving” label than anything else

      This is what I have felt all along, though if it were the case you’d think someone would have been able to get him past that element of it by now.

      Still, I’d agree it’s an unpleasant label, but it’s a fair penalty. A line obviously needs to be drawn else a one-two team may as well have their second driver park their car in a similar circumstance. Of course, whether this has been evenly and fairly applied in the past is another question.

      1. It’s not and that’s why I understand the complaints by mclaren.

      2. As in that a lot got away with it before.

  4. It’s a shame they didn’t roll out the unsportsmanlike behavior penalty for Max’s deliberate block on the start of Lewis’s qualifying lap – would have been a more appropriate use of the rule!

    1. While I agree it was a much more unsportsmanlike thing to do, that’s another one which has a clear and well defined rule which already covers it. They should not be using the unsportsmanlike behaviour rule for things which are already covered by a specific rule.

      I would say, though, that it could always be used as an “add-on”. In most cases, the stewards have the power to give a more severe penalty than normal if they feel the behaviour warrants it. However, this can lead to the appearance of inconsistency. I would probably consider it a good use of this rule (and other general rules, like “dangerous driving”) to increase penalties.

      e.g. we generally have a 5s penalty for “leaving the track and gaining an advantage”. However, in situations where the stewards feel appropriate, they could cite it both as that and unsportsmanlike behaviour, giving the standard 5s for the first plus an another 5s or more for the unsportsmanlike behaviour. This would make it clear that they specifically considered the offence more serious than normal, and allow them to give a good explanation of why in their ruling.

  5. Coventry Climax
    6th July 2023, 11:28

    On COTD, Anon does not take into account that the assumptions as he calls them, are made by people at the heart of the business. From a designers point of view, there’s all sorts of logical resulting directions you can expect from being obliged to incorporate significantly more heavy part. That has a bearing on the required structural strength for example, as the chassis still has to make it through the strength and safety tests. Extra weight also requires stronger brakes etc. Then there is the increase in battery power, which brings along the need to dissipate more heat, and that brings the necessity for extra weight as well. Plus the extra power translates into parts that can deliver and withstand this extra power, meaning extra weight again. All the extra provisions for all of these factors have, in their turn, an impact on the aerodynamical aspect as well, it’s not as if these aren’t related.
    So, the extra weight of a single, heavier, mandatory part translates into a change of numerous, related, things.
    It’s quite safe to assume that the Newey’s of this world have a more clear understanding of these relations, of how changing one part relates to the change of other parts.
    So they’re not just guessing there, but Anon is, as he lacks insight in the design process.
    And he makes that lack obvious, simplistically stating about weight that

    It is arguably one of the simpler parameters to define.

    Actually, Anon, I do argue about it and say that that is the most silly assumption of all.

    1. Good to see you defending the simulated integrity of Horner and his simulated sincerity about the sporting part of the sport.

      No worries, RBR is the dominant team in F1 lobbying. They’ll get their way, as they usually do.

  6. Stoo (@stewart51)
    7th July 2023, 18:44

    What’s the difference between slowing down to give yourself room to pit …………….. and dropping back to impede a competitor when your team mate #1 driver is in the lead, and the number 3 car is going like blazes – “Unsportsmanlike” ? Maybe so, but not one official has ever described it as such, or even said a rule change should be made.

    That situation has happened with several teams over the years, so how come no-one at the FIA makes a noise about that ?

    1. @stewart51 As far as the specific regulation is concerned, they’re both as forbidden as each other – it’s delaying other people artificially by driving unnecessarily slowly that is the offence.

      Also, people have been getting penalties for this since 2005, so if you are aware of times that have been missed, the issue is inconsistent application of a pre-existing boundary, not setting a new precedent.

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