Lando Norris doesn’t think he did anything wrong with regards to slowing down in F1 Canadian GP, as McLaren and Alpine discuss rear wing wobbles.
It was a hectic F1 Canadian GP for McLaren’s Norris. He was investigated for unsafe release against Williams’ Alex Albon for which he was cleared, but another investigation for driving slowly under safety car conditions resulted in a 5s penalty for the Brit.
The penalty was debatable considering few have been let go for same offence and this time the antics from Norris was regarded as ‘unsportsmanlike behaviour’. “During the Safety Car period the driver slowed to allow a gap to form between his team mate in Car 81 and him,” the FIA’s note stated.
“In doing so he delayed the cars behind. There was a significant difference in speed between Car 4 and Car 81 between Turns 10 and 13 (approximately 50 km/h). Article 12.2.1.l of the ISC refers to “any infringement of the principles of fairness in competition, behaviour in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempt to influence the results of a competition, in a way that is contrary to sporting ethics”.”
This penalty hurt Norris eventually as he dropped from ninth to 13th and outside of points. He was not alerted about the reasoning by the team as they wished to discuss it internally. But both the driver and the team weren’t too happy with the outcome.
Another ruling that confused McLaren team boss Andrea Stella was related to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon. When Norris was chasing the Frenchman, he could see a wobbling rear wing which the Brit felt was dangerous for him and the drivers behind.
It was wobbling all-race but only got violent as the race progressed. There was no action against Ocon who passed the post-race checks. Both Norris and Stella were surprised with the ruling, while Otmar Szafnauer noted of the FIA being okay.
Time penalty: “With what? I don’t know what I got a penalty for. The team didn’t tell me so I got no idea! Too slow under the safety car? I only got told to box like three seconds before the box, by that time I was flat out, so it doesn’t make sense to me. There’s plenty of times where you go slow under VSC, so if I get a penalty today I should get a penalty for the last three years as well and so should everyone else, but no I don’t think I did anything wrong. All they said was a [five-second penalty] five or 10 laps to go.”
Ocon’s rear wing: “I was just like ducking down the straights a little bit. In the corners you’re fine but at the end of the straights when you got like DRS and it’s wobbling I was like just ducking. I didn’t want to get hit by anything. It’s enough to get hit by a little stone, so the last bit I want to do is get hit by a rear wing. It is not my decision. I just said it, the rest is not up to me.”
Time penalty: “We went and spoke to the stewards right after the race because we thought these kind of speeds under a Safety Car or even a Virtual Safety Car shouldn’t be reason of an infringement. There’s a possibility that the stewards want to set new references. We’ll carry on discussing with them. Ultimately we trust their judgement but we are reviewing once again, right now, as we speak, the behaviour of Lando, because we come out of this race very surprised that this has caused a penalty.”
Ocon’s rear wing: “The race direction now leaves the duty of care to the teams, it’s the team’s call to say ‘we should retire the car’ or ‘we should leave the car out’. It’s a tricky one because teams, when they are in a competition, you have a conflict of interest in terms of safety of everyone involved and maximising your result. I think this is a debate that will deserve more time and I’m sure that the next Sporting Advisory Committee it will be raised again. Because Lando said a couple of times that it is not nice when you follow a car with a wobbling rear wing and this may hit you, and kind of nothing happens. Certainly I’m surprised that the Alpine wasn’t in condition to pass Albon because their tyres were much newer. So they must have lost some performance because of the tyre difference.
“I think if Lando was behind, we should have been able to pass Albon. So maybe that was a contribution to create this little train. When Lando was following Ocon he said that it got worse and worse. This was the kind of concerning element. Of course sometimes we saw already before that the Alpine real wing wobbles. You might have noticed as well. But then when Lando reported it and it started to look like there’s something broken, it can’t wobble like that just out of its normal behaviour. It wouldn’t be accepted by the FIA, it wouldn’t be accepted by the team themselves. I’m sure the thing is not operating within design. We will certainly make a question as to what was their thinking in terms of how safe the situation was today.”
Ocon’s rear wing: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It didn’t fail. So it stayed on. We designed that wing and we manufacture it. So that failure mode was probably most familiar to us. And we were happy that it wasn’t going to come off. We test for that in R&D, so we put it through those tests, just because of the way it’s mounted, and we, therefore, see those types of modes and understand if it’s going to come off or not. So we’re happy that with all the testing that we do, it wasn’t. We talked about it, and the FIA came to us as well and said it looks like your rear wing’s moving, and we looked at it and talked about it. We were confident that with a couple of laps left that it was going to be fine.”
Here’s how F1 Canadian GP panned out