Lando Norris: 'Really bad' new car issues will decide F2 title

McLaren Formula 1 junior Lando Norris believes this year's Formula 2 Championship will be decided entirely by luck because of the new F2 2018 car's "really bad" technical issues

Lando Norris: 'Really bad' new car issues will decide F2 title

The top three in the championship heading into Saturday's race at Paul Ricard all suffered problems. Norris and Artem Markelov stalled, while Alexander Albon believes a throttle sensor broke for the second time in two days after the same problem affected his qualifying.

In an exclusive interview with Autosport before Paul Ricard, F2 boss Bruno Michel said that "improvements have already been done for Barcelona and Monaco and will be finalised for Le Castellet", but problems related to the engine and start procedure have affected most of the field this season and continued at the French Grand Prix weekend.

F2 chief Michel on the new car

"With the starts we may as well forget about it, there's nothing we can do about it, the car is really bad quite frankly," said championship leader Norris.

"Three people stalled. I stalled three times coming out of parc firme here [before the race], so I don't know if I had a problem. But I couldn't pull away from my pitstops.

"After looking at the data, there's nothing I could have done."

George Russell slashed Norris's title advantage from 36 points to seven by winning on Saturday.

Sunday race: More new car problems and another title twist

"It [the championship] couldn't be further up in the air basically," added Norris.

"It's not a pure drivers' championship, it's not like this guy won because he drove better.

"This guy's won because the car has failed on him the fewest number of times.

"That's why I'm not disappointed now, I didn't finish last because I made a mistake, it's because of the car.

"Everyone has had the same problem at some point and they say they are going to fix it, but it just doesn't work properly.

"It's a bit annoying but in the end you just have to laugh it off as there's not a lot you can do."

Albon said his DAMS team was talking to F2 in a bid to fix the problem.

"Of course we are already putting pressure on the championship," he said.

"They are aware of the problem, a lot of people are complaining.

"It's just a shame because it looks like this is deciding the outcome of the championship and no one wants that."

Markelov confirmed the clutch was not entirely to blame for his stall, adding: "It was a clutch and me problem. I can't explain because we need to see the data, [but] it was both. The clutch was part of it."

F2 technical boss Didier Perrin acknowledged the reliability issues are a "major concern" but underlined that the championship is working hard.

"Yes we have reliability issues, yes we spend a lot of energy and yes it is a major concern as we have three races back-to-back-to back," he said.

"We understand it can be a frustration for the driver and I guarantee we are on the case, to solve any root cause."

On the clutch, he added: "We admit the clutch is difficult and we are working with the clutch supplier for a way to make it more progressive.

"Markelov is right when he says it is half clutch, half him.

"F2 is not F1, it will still be possible to stall an F2 car, we don't have electronic assistance."

Perrin said the biggest problem with the clutch, relating to the oscillation of the engine on the rev limiter, has been solved for Paul Ricard.

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