Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2024

How Norris avoided two British GP penalties after collision with Verstappen

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

After collecting a track limits penalty and driving into the pits with damage, Lando Norris’ was fortunate to avoid a grid drop for his home race.

Even amid the drama which ensued after the pair tangled on lap 64, McLaren ensured they served a penalty he received mere moments earlier, to avoid it being carried over to the next race.

It would have been easy for McLaren to overlook this penalty. The decision appeared on their timing screens 21 seconds after the Red Bull and McLaren made contact at turn three.

McLaren would have expected the decision after they saw Norris’ fourth infringement five minutes earlier, but it wasn’t confirmed until the message flashed up on their timing screens at this point.

Meanwhile Norris was limping back to the pits with a right-rear puncture. The urge to repair his car and get him back out onto the track was no doubt top of their minds, yet despite having only around a minute’s notice in a high-stress situation, McLaren did not miss the opportunity to serve his five-second time penalty.

The situation played out so rapidly McLaren hadn’t even told Norris about his five-second time penalty when he arrived in the pits. His crew held back for the required five seconds before touching his car.

As it turned out, McLaren did not actually need to do this. Norris’ 64th and final lap of his race was also the one which tipped him over 90% of the total distance, and he was therefore classified as a finisher.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

This meant the five-second penalty could be added to his total race time. However had this whole scenario played out any earlier (and there had been several near-misses between the two drivers already) McLaren’s quick thinking would have been crucial – though they would have had to send Norris back out to cover another lap, as Red Bull did with Perez in similar circumstances at Suzuka last year.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024
Perez dropped debris but continued driving to pits in Canada
This was one of two moments in which Norris was fortunate to avoid a penalty for the forthcoming race. The second owed more to fortune than any intervention by his team, and under the circumstances could just as easily have affected Verstappen.

At the Canadian Grand Prix three weeks ago Sergio Perez was given a three-place grid drop for the following race by driving back to the pits with his car in an unsafe condition. He had backed his RB20 into a wall and its rear wing was hanging off. He was clearly only driving back to the pits to retire, and Red Bull admitted to the stewards they told Perez not to stop on the track because they did not want to risk triggering a Safety Car period which might jeopardise his team mate’s lead of the race.

Norris and Verstappen both sustained punctures when they collided at turn three. The seriousness of their problems became apparent at the next two corners.

Their teams reacted the same way, both telling their drivers they had a puncture and should pit, though Norris appeared to believe his car’s damage was worse than it was.

Verstappen’s puncture was on his left-rear, so he struggled most in the right-hander turn four, and Norris was able to pass him. Then in the left-handers of turns six and seven Norris’ right-rear puncture compromised him more, and Verstappen re-passed.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

While Verstappen made it into the pits with his right-rear tyre still largely intact, Norris’ right-rear came apart completely. It took a chunk out of his floor, scattering debris, as he rounded turn nine.

Fortunately for Norris, he was at the pit lane entrance by that point and could as easily pull into the pits as stop by the trackside. This contrasted with the case of Perez, whose car shed parts between turns nine and ten at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, over a kilometre before the pit lane entrance.

Had Norris’ damage occured earlier in the lap, McLaren would probably have had to tell him to stop, or risk collecting the same penalty as Perez by continuing.

Miss nothing from RaceFans

Get a daily email with all our latest stories - and nothing else. No marketing, no ads. Sign up here:

2024 Austrian Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Austrian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “How Norris avoided two British GP penalties after collision with Verstappen”

  1. I am still wondering why Hülkenberg got a penalty for dive-bombing Alonso and pushing him off track and Norris did not get one for doing the same to Verstappen. This is not being discussed much, so I am obviously overlooking something. But what is the difference between these two events?

    1. Nationality is the difference, one being british and the other not.

      1. Max must be British then as he got no penalty for moving under braking and in effect no penalty for causing the collision.

        I mean if anyone in the history of F1 has been treated as leniently as Max I must have missed that.

        1. When did you see any other driver get a penalty for moving under breaking? Happens in at least a quarter of the fights (according to the drivers en commentators). Never seen a penalty for that since Vettel got one years ago.

    2. Probably Max’s contribution to the out-braking issue, as in he was moving under braking. Norris also didn’t cause a collision, nor keep any advantage from Max running wide in avoidance.

      1. Norris contributed to Verstappen’s penalty, that is why Verstappen was only “predominantly” to blame, so that can’t be it.

        Hülkenberg also didn’t cause a collision, nor kept any advantage from Alonso running wide in avoidance. Actually the stewards description of Hülkenberg’s incident (“The Car understeered to the very edge of the track, thereby preventing Car 14 from turning in and forcing the other driver off track”) fits very nicely with the Norris/Verstappen incident.

        With all the steward inconsistency it is hard to discern if I myself do not understand the rules, or if the stewards are just being inconsistent.

    3. See Brazil 2021

      1. That is not the correct answer, because it would leave the question as to why Hülkenberg was penalised.

    4. @uzsjgb

      But what is the difference between these two events?

      Alonso hit Zhou, Norris didn’t hit Verstappen.

    5. Good question. Maybe, just maybe because Verstappen, unlike Alonso who even lost a further place, could regain his position.
      But that would contradict the FIA guidelines that the outcome of an incident doesn’t effect the penalty.
      So no consistency either way…

  2. I’m wondering how NOR was the only driver to exceed track limits enough times to get a penalty on a track that had gravel traps put in to prevent exceeding track limits. Methinks the stewards came up with this count when they saw NOR would be a threat to VER with the orange army filling the stands.

    1. You don’t even know at which corners Norris exceeded track limits, as your comment about “gravel traps” shows.

      First rule about trying to start a conspiracy theory: get at least some of your facts straight and don’t invent everything.

      1. @uzsjgb That’s easy by simply looking at the Race Deleted Lap Times document on FIA site.
        He went off at T3 four times & T1 once.

    2. Speaking of track limits, did no one noticed Fernando Alonso approaching turn 1 outside of the white line on *every* lap? Why was this not penalized?

      1. @miguelbento Do you mean between the left-hand side white line & the armco?
        I doubt he really did so.

    3. Toto Wollf, and I quote: ‘lunatic conspiracy theorist need to see a shrink’ and ‘These conspiracy theorists, I have zero respect for, because they have no brain.’ and ‘cowards’ and ‘lunatics’….
      I wonder… How does it feel to be called all these things by Toto Wolff?

  3. Was the Virtual Safety Car to pick up bits that fell off Norris’ car? If so, then he did get lucky for not getting a penalty, since Sergio got one and his car hadn’t dropped bits on the track.

    1. @x1znet Perez’s car did drop debris on the track, as I wrote in the article.

      1. Mea culpa, missed it first time.

      2. Perez’s car did drop debris on the track

        Plus, as you noted, the next safe point for Norris was essentially the pit lane entrance.

        So, simplified Norris took the first opportunity of a safe turn-off Perez did not.

  4. It also helped tremendously Herbert was in the Stewards room.

Comments are closed.