Lando Norris, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Norris keeps seventh after reprimand for pit entry error

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris has kept his seventh place in the Russian Grand Prix after the stewards gave him a reprimand for crossing the pit lane entry line.

The McLaren driver skidded across the line on his way into the pits while the track was very wet. He then drove into the pits to change tyres, contravening the race directors’ instructions.

Despite the heavy rain and the fact Norris was on slick tyres, the stewards deemed the incident could not be overlooked on grounds of “force majeure”.

“This was not considered as force majeure because it does not comply with the definition of force majeure in Article 20 of the FIA International Sporting Code,” the stewards ruled.

However they decided against penalising Norris as they noted he had significantly reduced his speed on the way into the pits, before losing control of his car.

“The stewards took into account that on the previous lap the driver of car four [Norris] had passed through turn 17 (adjacent to the pit entry) at a relatively high speed, without loss of control.

“During the ensuing lap, the conditions deteriorated rapidly and were varied in different parts of the circuit. The driver slowed considerably on entering the pit entry, with his speed approximately half of his normal pit entry speed, but still lost control and slid across the painted area between the pit entry and the track.

“Although obviously the driver chose to remain out on the track on hard compound slick tyres when others chose to change to intermediates, and therefore sought to gain an advantage in retaining his race position, we do not consider that the crossing of the painted area was intentional or predictable in the circumstances.”

Norris was given a formal reprimand for his driving, his first of the season.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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39 comments on “Norris keeps seventh after reprimand for pit entry error”

  1. “we do not consider that the crossing of the painted area was intentional or predictable in the circumstances.”

    Come on. Rules are rules. I’m sure Aston Martin didn’t intentionally put too little fuel into Vettel’s car in Hungary yet he still got a DSQ. And rightfully so. This should have been a slam-dunk penalty.

    1. Big difference between a sporting infraction and a technical infraction

    2. That’s totally different. You could also argue here it was more dangerous to stay out.

      It’s a rule in place for safety.

    3. Wouldn’t be saying that if Kimi had been in the same position…

      Reply moderated
      1. Indeed, he probably wouldn’t be saying that even if it was another driver in 8th position, it’s only cause it’s raikkonen that would gain a place!

        1. @esploratore1 A driver breaking a rule clear as day and getting away with it with a reprimand does annoy me, because stewarding lacks consistency. The fact you claim I care about it only because Kimi might’ve benefitted is just a lazy cheapshot and tells more about you than it does about me.

    4. Agreed! 100%!
      As harsh as it would be to punish Norris further, rules are rules. These sort of flimsy decisions are what confuse everybody.

    5. You will find that raikkonen himself will care less about norris having a penalty or not, can’t say the same about his fans though.

  2. I’m gutted for Norris, but I don’t understand how he didn’t get a penalty. After all, he got into that position all by himself.

    It seems every time there’s a different interpretation to even the most black and white rules.

    1. I still don’t understand how Lewis didn’t get a penalty for IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN IN IN IN IN a few years back.
      At least here Norris had a valid reason for crossing over.

      1. Lewis got a drive thru penalty in Germany in 2019 after the out cry of the 2018 incident .
        If this was Lewis people would say FIA wants to hand over the title to Lewis

        Reply moderated
  3. Common sense decision, but there is no common sense in this being applied in some cases and not others.

    1. It might be common sense (to some) but the stewards are not applying the rules as written, and open themselves up for criticism now or in the future under similar circumstances.

      Of course Norris slowed down and was considerably slower than the previous lap, the track was worse and he had a much tighter turn.
      But he clearly did not slow enough, and then decided to cross the line again.

      I would’ve felt sorry for Norris, but applying the rules consistently is more important.

      1. The FIA Sporting code states “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

        The argument would be that Norris wasn’t aware of how wet the pit entry was and despite going slowly, simply aquaplaned off. The option to remain on the track after he’d gone off would mean doing another lap in the wet on slicks and having already gone off the track several times, I think it could be reasonably argued that doing so would be more dangerous than crossing the line back into the pits.

        Either way, the regulations were followed as the Stewards are allowed to use their discretion and did. It’s not the same as someone going too quickly and locking up – they’ll have looked at the data and must be satisfied that Norris was going slow enough to have been safe but went off anyway.

        1. But their ‘discretion’ is inconsistent with Hamilton’s penalty two years ago in Germany.
          It also ‘would be more dangerous than crossing the line’ had he driven another lap with a broken wing.

          1. The previous year in the same race he wasn’t penalized for a similar infraction, so don’t you try and play the “hamilton is a victim” now.

  4. Compare this to Tsunoda receiving a 5-second time penalty and a penalty point on his licence every time he touched the white line in Austria.

    1. It wasn’t raining, newsflash.

      1. Didn’t seem to be a problem for anyone else’s pit entry.

  5. Sensible decision in the end.

    Reply moderated
  6. I am tired of the preference Norris gets, he recently escaped a penalty point on his license (for pushing RB of track and crashing against RB ) that would effectively ban him for a race. This is completely wrong from the Stewards and FIA/F1. Norris not only caused an unsafe situation on track for himself but for others too, besides he decided to stay on track the lap before so it is not like mother nature decided to throw buckets of water at the pit lane entrance just for Norris and not other drivers.
    The extend the stewards took to excuse Norris is ridiculous and suspicious

    Stewards FAIL to realize that the unsafe action by Norris resulted in advantage as he was able to change tires on that lap and eventually pass Kimi and separate from others behind. Had Norris stayed on track and pitted the lap after he wouldn’t ended up on P7

    Alfa Romeo and Red Bull should protest the no penalty for Norris, he should receive at least a 5 second penalty effectively putting him on P9, a 10sec would negate any points to him.

    1. Put your tin foil hat away.

    2. Alfa romeo and red bull aren’t called mercedes… I’m sure they won’t protest.

  7. Refreshing to see a common sense decision from the stewards

    1. Hard to type over these ads. It was a bad decision. He was in the same position as everyone else and took a dangerous action to cross the line a second time.

      1. @dmw you realise that you could subscribe for £1/month. It’s not exactly a lot of money

        1. And also, I’m not subscribed, yet no AD issues, so…

  8. Makes sense. Definitely the lesser of 2 evils. If he’d stayed out for another lap, it could have arguably created a more dangerous situation. Or he may have been asked to park it. Assuming he could stop the thing of course!

  9. Hmm, not sure about this. Hamilton at Hockenheim, you’d have to say that was grounds to pit rather than go around another lap with damage. Yes he’s on slicks, but it’s a penalty. Would have been harsh, however these grey area precedents won’t work long term. You’ve got to have a hard and fast rule when it comes to crossing pit lines.

    1. I’m with you John, not sure about this. I don’t particularly think it’s fair to penalise Norris as he was already lost a lot of time skidding here and there struggling with the slicks, but similar cases were judged with different outcome in the past. I hope for consistent ruling but I guess it won’t come to that

  10. Good decision, look what the rules say and how can you interpret them.

  11. It is all a little strange, if it is open to interpretation, it’s not a rule.

    Reply moderated
  12. Lando fans will say “Good decision” and give their reasons. Others will say this is inconsistent with previous decisions, based on previous decisions that seems like a pretty strong argument for favoritism, which is not good for anyone. Rules need to be applied consistently, if it is found that they don’t meet the spirit and intent, then they need to be changed for the next season to ensure they evolve. but at any given point in a season they must be applied without interpretation, how rules were applied in previous seasons is not really relevant, all that matters is consistency within a season.

    Reply moderated
    1. Sometimes I don’t like to think FIA an F1 is Brit biased, but common there is always such inconsistency in rule applying. Other drivers never have the same consideration.

  13. It is typical of biased FIA.

    Look at this bizarre quote:
    “we do not consider that the crossing of the painted area was intentional or predictable in the circumstances.”

    By that reasoning many usual penalties are not possible to be handed.

    Reply moderated
  14. common sense didn’t seem to play a part in the case for Raikkonen overtaking safety car in Imola this year…

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