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Formula 1 Monaco GP

McLaren: F1 Monaco GP banner issues 'unacceptable'

McLaren and Lando Norris have labelled the advertising banner issues during Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend as "not acceptable".

Marshals repair some trackside advertising

The Monaco weekend has been blighted by the banners that cover the Armco barriers around the Monte Carlo street circuit repeatedly coming away.

In some areas, like the swimming pool, coverings have been rubbed away by cars repeatedly brushing the barriers.

But, in Norris’s case, a whole section of the banners at Mirabeau was sucked off by the force of the cars running close to them.

In the closing stages of Q1, Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz helped pull a banner away in that section, before WilliamsLogan Sargeant ran over one section. Then, a few moments later, Norris hit it and pulled it under his car.

Norris was annoyed by the incident, which forced him into the pits with a few minutes of Q1 remaining – and risked him being knocked out completely.

“I had to pit for it to come off and it just shouldn't happen in Formula 1,” he said. “It is a bit silly, in my opinion. We said it [in the drivers’ briefing], we said it was going to happen again, and they said they were going to fix it. But it obviously wasn't fixed.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella backed up his driver’s claim that the situation was "not acceptable", and he urged action to be taken before the race, so a repeat incident would not affect the outcome.

“What happened in Q1 is something that should not happen and is not up to the standards of racing circuits,” he said.

“We caught it [the banner] under the car and the car lost as much downforce as equivalent to three seconds per lap.

“It shouldn't happen that the car is compromised by these kinds of problems that have been there right from free practice one. It is not that suddenly in qualifying we have the banners coming off. It's been there every single session, and we need to fix it.

“It affected Lando in a pretty catastrophic way from a performance point of view and I understand potentially Leclerc as well - some other drivers too.

“So, what is exactly going to determine the race result? The luck as to whether you take the banners or not? Or do we want this to come as an outcome of the quality of the drivers, the car and the teams. Something needs to be done.”

Autosport understands that the FIA instructed marshals to remove any loose banner sections between the different qualifying segments to ensure that there were no further problems in Q2 and Q3.

Further changes will be made for the race given the problems, with the FIA confirming: "We've now decided to completely remove branding in some small areas for tomorrow."

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