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Why Norris didn't get a jump start penalty in F1's Saudi Arabian GP

The FIA race stewards have explained why McLaren driver Lando Norris wasn't punished for jumping the start in Formula 1's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

From his sixth-placed grid slot, Norris briefly jolted forward before the five red lights went out as he prematurely released the clutch, but swiftly stopped again in his grid box before the start signal.

Norris' movement was immediately reported on the team radio by Mercedes' George Russell, who started alongside him in seventh.

But, while it was expected that Norris would get a penalty, the stewards decided to take no further action after it emerged that Norris' movement hadn't set off the FIA's transponder.

The stewards explained that this standard transponder is the only valid parameter to determine whether or not a car has made a jump start. And because Norris' limited forward movement remained within the existing tolerances, the Briton got away scot-free.

"The stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video and determined that the video appeared to show that car 4 moved before the start signal was given," the statement from the stewards read.

"However, the FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted on the car did not indicate a jump start.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, talks to the media

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, talks to the media

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"Article 48.1 a) of the Formula One Sporting Regulations states clearly that the judgment of whether or not there was a jump start is to be made in accordance with the transponder, which did not show a jump start. In the circumstances, we took no further action."

When Sky Sports F1 asked Norris about the incident, he replied: "I don't know what happened, it happened so quickly.

"I just went a little bit and then tried stopping again, and then went again. But overall, I lost. I didn't gain anything from it."

There are precedents for Norris' penalty escape in Jeddah, with Valtteri Bottas previously being cleared for a jumped start in the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix. One year earlier, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel similarly escaped punishment in Japan.

Norris eventually finished eighth after a decision to stay out under an early safety car and split the strategy with team-mate Oscar Piastri didn't pay off.

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