Lando Norris believes the FIA and F1 should punish drivers who deliberately cause hindrances to others on track during qualifying.
Norris' comments come after Alex Albon alleged that Alpine driver Fernando Alonso wittingly went down an escape route during the first qualifying session for the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP, ruining the Williams driver's lap in the process. All the cars behind Albon at the time also bore the brunt of the incident.
Qualifying in Monaco was also scuppered when a crash by Red Bull's Sergio Perez and a pile-up involving Ferrari's Carlos Sainz brought Q3 to a premature end, much to the disappointment of many drivers on their final flying lap.
These occurrences have led some to suggest that F1 take a page out of the IndyCar playbook and delete the best lap time of any driver that brings out yellow or red flags during qualifying.
Lando Norris feels the rules need to be strict when it comes to intentional discrepancies by drivers. In an interview following the 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP, the 22-year-old said:
“I was one of the guys who caused the yellow [on Saturday], but just to get out of the way of Seb [Vettel]. I think there’s a difference between people doing it by accident – and people doing it to get out of the way of people by not causing blue flags and whatever when you’re in qualifying business – versus people who quite obviously do it on purpose. Especially when you’re one-and-a-half seconds down on the push lap.”
Norris, however, was quick to acknowledge that this could leave some gray areas while following the rules and be harsh on some drivers. The Briton went on to add, saying:
“It’s tough. You always say it until you’re the one that does something wrong, and then you’re like ‘I wish that rule wasn’t introduced’ because you just made a simple mistake. Or like when I spun in Imola, then I guess I’d say I wish there’s no rule. Obviously when someone else does it, you say you wish that was a rule. So it’ll always bite someone at some point. But of course, people who are more vocal about it are the ones who just haven’t made a mistake just yet.”
"I think I’m a team player" - Lando Norris has no regrets after team orders influenced 2022 F1 Azerbaijan GP outcome
Both McLaren drivers were able to score points in Baku for the first time since the 2022 F1 Australian GP. It was also the first race in which Ricciardo was able to outscore Norris, albeit with the help of team orders.
Speaking in the post-race interview at the Baku City Circuit, Lando Norris revealed he had no regrets about the decision, saying:
“I think I’m a team player. I accepted I can’t overtake at the end and I couldn’t go for the position. Daniel [Ricciardo] helped me out in the middle. It was one lap he wasn’t allowed to overtake me on. If the return favor is to not overtake at all in the last three laps, I guess I have to accept it. I think it’s fair. I don’t think what we did was incorrect. It’s just you’re racing, you always want to push it, you always want to find what the limit of it is. But I could have done it when I was at the inside into Turn 1 and I gave way to him and then let him through.”
Heading into the 2022 F1 Canadian GP weekend, Lando Norris is seventh in the World Drivers' Championship with 50 points after eight rounds of racing in 2022.