Formula 1’s Race Director Michael Masi double downs on stewards’ actions throughout the Austrian Grand Prix. In unusual race circumstances, six different drivers have seen their final race result influenced by penalties. Most notably, podium-finisher Lando Norris could’ve finished second without the time penalty.
Norris received a five-second time penalty after closing the door to Sergio Perez in Turn 4. Perez was pushed off to the gravel, which saw the Mexican driver drop to 10th place in the race. Perez himself earned two-time penalties after his track battles with Charles Leclerc. As a consequence, Perez dropped one place after crossing the chequered flag. Despite receiving backlash from fans and drivers, Masi defends the penalties handed by the stewards.
“Obviously, the stewards had a look at all three. In Sergio’s case with Lando, he was wholly alongside Lando and therefore there is an onus to leave a car’s width to the edge of the track. And then the same in the reverse with Checo and Charles at the exit of Turn 4.
And then Checo (Perez) and Charkes again at the exit of Turn 6. The view was – and I don’t sit in the stewards’ room to deliberate – that in all three circumstances, a car’s width should have been left to the edge of the track because the two cars were alongside each other.”Michael Masi explains his decisions to Formula1.com
The race on Sunday wasn’t the only controversial part of the weekend. During Qualifying on Saturday, Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers responsible for ruining Fernando Alonso’s flying lap. The German received a three-place grid penalty for it. In addition, Alonso was unhappy with the way F1 handled Turn 1 track limits rules at the race start.
“We looked at it. One of the things we’ve said since Paul Ricard 2019 was that on the first lap and those first couple of corners…that the car needs to be back behind the car it entered the corner behind. And we looked at the incident that Fernando was referring to and the angles we could see at the time, and that was exactly what had occured.”
“All Lap 1 incidents are treated in a more lenient manner and that has been the case for a number of years, under the ‘let them race’ principle. So that’s the general principle, because particularly in circumstances like that, everyone has asked to look at things in a much more lenient way and then to help the drivers and the teams if they need to, and that was looked at at the time.”Michael Masi
McLaren’s Lando Norris should be cautious in the future. The British driver has ten penalty points on his super license. Norris, and every other driver, would receive a race-ban penalty if they collect 12 penalty points in 12 months. Fortunately for Norris, he’ll have two points removed at the British Grand Prix on July 18.