McLaren driver Lando Norris didn’t mince his words when he criticized the FIA’s lenient stance on Max Verstappen’s impeding incidents during the Singapore Grand Prix. Norris expressed his discontent with the two reprimands handed out to Verstappen and the €5000 fine imposed on Red Bull, arguing that such penalties failed to serve their intended purpose.
Verstappen faced a challenging weekend in Singapore, wrestling with his RB19. His troubles extended beyond the racetrack, as he found himself summoned to the stewards’ office after Saturday’s qualifying session to address three separate impeding incidents, two on the track and one in the pit lane. One of the reprimands was issued for impeding Yuki Tsunoda during Qualifying 2, while the other stemmed from delaying his exit from the pit lane during Qualifying 1. Verstappen openly acknowledged that the incident involving Tsunoda resulted from a breakdown in communication within his team regarding the approaching AlphaTauri F1 car.
However, Norris strongly believed that Verstappen’s punishment was too lenient, particularly in the case involving Tsunoda. During a press conference covered by Sky Sports, Norris called for more stringent regulations governing impeding incidents in qualifying sessions. He asserted that drivers needed to shoulder greater responsibility for their actions on the track, advocating for stricter consequences for those who compromised their competitors’ laps.
“I don’t want to say too much as I’ll just create controversy. I think the blocking one on track was the one that should have been a penalty.
“He blocked someone. It’s not just down to the team. I know the team got fined in the end of the day but it should be down to the driver as well to look in his mirrors and see if someone else is behind.
“You’ve got nothing else to do the whole lap, you’ve got to look in your mirrors, and it seems like a lot of people struggle to do that. It should just be harsher penalties for blocking people because so many people do it. It ruins your lap, it ruins your qualifying. It put Yuki out in qualifying. He was P1 in Q1 and probably would have been P1 in Q3…all the way!
“Just no one seems to care enough.”
In a candid statement during the press conference, Norris expressed his frustration with the rising number of impeding incidents throughout the season. He emphasized the need for drivers to exercise caution and respect for their fellow competitors, maintaining that such incidents could have serious repercussions for the affected parties.
“It’s happened a lot this season, it’s happened to me quite a few times, especially with certain teams.
“But it’s also up to the driver to look in the mirror. You’ve got nothing else to do [on an out lap] but hit the recharge button and look in your mirror and people seem to struggle to be able to do that in Formula 1. It’s just a surprise.”
Interestingly, Norris made his comments while sitting alongside Yuki Tsunoda in the press conference, further underscoring the importance of addressing and rectifying impeding incidents to ensure fair competition and safety on the Formula 1 circuit.
“I’ll probably block someone else, Yuki, and make myself look stupid…”