Formula 1

Why McLaren’s bid for penalty review was rejected on all counts

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

McLaren’s bid for a review of Lando Norris’s penalty in Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix has been rejected.

Norris lost a points finish in Montreal after receiving a five-second penalty that dropped him from ninth to 13th.

He was punished for slowing down behind the safety car and impeding others while creating a gap to team-mate Oscar Piastri so McLaren could pit both cars at the same time.

McLaren’s bid was based on four pieces of evidence it felt were new and significant, which is the criteria to get a review admitted.

These four pieces were: notes from team managers meeting on June 30 and earlier that “allegedly showed the understanding of the teams was that the alleged infringement should not be penalised”; discussions in a team managers’ meeting in Canada in 2019 after the previous race in Monaco that “led to an understanding that this type of action was acceptable”; evidence from “eight different instances where cars made a gap that allegedly had a negative impact on a competitor and allegedly were not penalised”; and that Alex Albon “allegedly did not lose position as a result” of what Norris did.

Williams, summoned to the hearing because Albon was the car that followed Norris into the pits, supported some of McLaren’s points but contested others and also noted “three occasions in 2016, 2017 and 2018 where such actions as occurred in Canada 2023, were in fact penalised” – these being China 2016, Bahrain 2017 and France 2018.

There were other representatives of several teams in the hearing, as any interested party has the right to attend. Aston Martin stated there were no new elements to consider.

The stewards’ verdict on the McLaren claims were as follows: that the June 30 team managers’ meeting was significant and new but not relevant; that the 2019 Monaco GP case was significant but neither new nor relevant; that the eight prior examples were significant but neither new nor relevant; and that Albon not losing a position was significant but neither new nor relevant.

Lando Norris McLaren F1

That amount to a rejection of McLaren’s petition because it had failed to provide significant, new and relevant evidence. They said the citing of previous cases is irrelevant because the incidents were different in some way and did not previously address the issue of “unfairness”, which is what Norris was specifically penalised for this time.

The stewards also added that while there was no cost to Albon there could have been a cost to Norris – a cost specifically avoided by the action – as he may have been overtaken in the pits had he queued for the double stack.

They noted that they considered some elements not new because they were known to McLaren at the time of the decision, but accepted the International Sporting Code’s framework for allowing the right of review is based primarily on post-race stewards’ hearings and have recommended that this is amended to take into account in-race decisions, like this one regarding Norris, in which there is no hearing.

McLaren said in a statement: “We respect the FIA and Stewards’ decision to uphold Lando Norris’ 5-second time penalty at the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix.

“However, we believe that we provided sufficient new, significant and relevant evidence to warrant a ‘right of review’.

“We accept the Stewards’ decision that this evidence did not meet their requirements.

“Whilst it is not the outcome we hoped for, we thank the stewards for their time and collaboration.”

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