FIA rejects McLaren's request to review Norris' Canadian GP penalty

The FIA has rejected McLaren’s request for a right of review over Lando Norris’s five-second penalty at Formula 1’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Alex Albon, Williams FW45

McLaren had hoped to get the stewards to look once again at the decision to penalise Norris for “unsportsmanlike behaviour” after he backed off to create a gap between himself and team-mate Oscar Piastri ahead of a double stack stop at Montreal.

For the right of review to go ahead under the FIA’s International Sporting Code, McLaren had needed to submit a “significant, new and relevant” piece of information that was not available to the stewards at the time of their decision.

McLaren submitted four pieces of evidence that it felt fulfilled this criterion.

They were:

  • Notes taken during the FIA Team Managers meeting on June 30, 2023, and on other previous occasions, which allegedly showed the understanding of the teams was that the alleged infringement should not be penalised
  • Proof that discussions following the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix held at the team managers’ meeting in Canada 2019, led to an understanding that this type of action was acceptable.
  • Video, audio, GPS and timing evidence of eight different instances where cars made a gap that allegedly had a negative impact on a competitor and allegedly were not penalized.
  • And evidence that Alex Albon, the car behind Norris, did not lose any positions as a result of what Norris did.

The hearing at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday heard evidence from a number of teams, including Williams, Red Bull Racing, Aston Martin and Alpine to get a picture on whether or not McLaren’s evidence should be accepted.

Lando Norris, McLaren, with Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Lando Norris, McLaren, with Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

In the end, the FIA determined that the evidence submitted by McLaren did not go far enough to bring anything new, significant and relevant to determine that the Norris incident should be looked at again.

The stewards made it clear that there were two primary issues at stake here: that teams had to follow rules to the letter and could not base their actions on gentleman’s agreements reached in private meetings, plus other incidents that were highlighted were not identical.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the FIA said: “Discussions, informal “gentlemen’s agreements” etc cannot become binding unless and until they find their way into regulatory format, despite the good intentions of the parties concerned.

“Officials may only clarify, through the medium, for example, of Race Directors notes, certain matters, in accordance with Article 12.2.1.i. Such clarifications cannot contradict an existing regulation.”

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It added: “The citing of previous cases is, in our view, irrelevant to this particular case. Whilst there are cases cited where no penalty was applied, and cases cited by Williams where penalties were applied, each incident was different in some aspect, albeit sometimes in a minor way.

“What is most important to note is that the original penalty was applied in relation to what was considered an unfair action. None of the cases cited, address that issue of unfairness.”

The FIA added that the matter was not subject to further appeal.

In a statement, McLaren said: "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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