Zak Brown Believes FIA Is Changing Culture of F1 With ‘Non-Sense’ Penalties After Norris Incident

Published 07/07/2021, 5:18 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 30, 2021 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


The Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday ended up being quite an eventful day for the stewards, who were rather busy handing out penalties to the drivers like pamphlets. Two of the F1 drivers took the heftiest blow – Sergio Perez, and obviously, Lando Norris.

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It is quite usual to see the stewards disregarding lap 1 incidents, and claiming them as ‘racing incidents.’ However, that wasn’t the case over last weekend’s race at the Red Bull Ring.

Norris received a penalty for ‘forcing’ Perez off the track around turn 4 of lap 1. What’s more, later in the race, Perez, himself, committed a similar mistake with Charles Leclerc twice. And the stewards awarded the Mexican with two five-second penalties.

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Hence, following the race, McLaren’s boss, Zak Brown revealed he was absolutely disappointed with the FIA and reckoned there is disagreement amongst drivers over FIA’s stance on penalties.

Brown unhappy with the Lando Norris penalty

As reported by Motorsport-Total, the American reckoned it was a ‘non-sense’ show from the stewards at the Austrian GP. He further insisted the FIA let the drivers enjoy wheel-to-wheel racing more often.

It was nonsense to me,” he told Motorsport TV. “Since I’ve been in motorsport, that is for about 35 years, when you want to overtake on the outside, especially on the first lap, the motto is, ‘Watch out!’

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrates with his team after finishing in third place Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna

For 50 years it was great wheel-to-wheel racing. But you run the risk of running out of space at the end of a curve. I thought it was a great, tough race.

And I think that sometimes we just have to let the drivers drive. Of course, we have to make sure that we respect safety and drive within the limits,” Brown added.

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The McLaren CEO claimed that most of the viewers disagreed with the stewards’ decision on Norris. “But from everyone I’ve talked to, I don’t think there is a racing driver in the world who didn’t find it a good, clean race. And if you want to overtake or try to overtake, you take that risk,” he said.

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Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during the race REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

When Norris crossed the finishing line, he was just over two seconds away from Valtteri Bottas, who was in P2. Hence, this clearly shows that Norris had every opportunity to claim the Finn’s position; however, the five-second penalty meant that he couldn’t.

Nevertheless, the Briton drove brilliantly to secure his third podium of the season, and there is definitely more to come. So, Given his blazing form at the moment, can Norris clinch his fourth podium in front of his fan base at Silverstone next weekend?

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Rohit Kumar

934 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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