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Why Norris "unfair" penalty adds to FIA safety pressure

Why Norris "unfair" penalty adds to FIA safety pressure

F1 News

Why Norris "unfair" penalty adds to FIA safety pressure

Why Norris "unfair" penalty adds to FIA safety pressure

Lando Norris' penalty for failing to adhere to red flag protocols during qualifying led to the McLaren driver taking aim at the FIA.

The British F1 driver was annoyed at a lack of empathy from the stewards for a racing driver's situation during such moments, suggesting a reprimand would have been more suitable given he had tried to take the safest option available to him under the circumstances.

There is no doubt Norris broke the red-flag protocols. After the session had been stopped, the 21-year-old should have returned to the pits as per the regulations but after some late confusion over team radio, continued on to start another lap.

This was because the light panels only started to illuminate when Norris was within range of the pit entry. He asked over the radio if he should pit as, because he had not seen the incident on track, he did not know if there was a blockage in the pits.

An added complication at Baku is the high closing speed into the pits, guarded by an artificial chicane upon entry, due to the long blast from turn 16.

Norris decided it was the safest thing to do when touring the circuit one more time.

This was taken into account as the stewards exercised a degree of leniency as they only handed Norris a three-place grid drop when he should have been relegated five.

This is the second time a driver has been handed punishment for taking a safe option amidst confusion over neutralised track protocols.

Kimi Raikkonen was stripped of points at Imola after failing to regain his position behind the safety car after a spin, with the team believing it was safer in wet conditions to remain at the back with marshals potentially on track.

Safety is at the forefront of F1 and the FIA's innovation, with great work done over the years with the Halo, the survival cell and other technologies that make the sport a safer environment.

Perhaps it is time the way regulations are applied, or maybe even the regulations themselves should reflect these advances.

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