Motorsports

Norris on red flag tyre changes: ‘Worst rule ever’

Lando Norris has labelled Formula One’s rule about allowing drivers to change tyres during a red flag stoppage as “the worst rule ever invented by someone.”

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix featured two stoppages due to crashes. The first was controversial at the time, as Max Verstappen stayed out during a Safety Car period while the Mercedes drivers pitted from first and second.

When the race was red-flagged a couple of laps later Verstappen was effectively given a free pit-stop — meaning he effectively jumped the Mercedes drivers and inherited the lead without stopping at racing speed.

Although it gained less attention at the time, Norris lost out even worse than the McLaren drivers, having pitted from sixth position under the Safety Car but sliding down to 14th once others took advantage of the free change.

“It’s possibly the worst rule ever invented by someone being able to change tyres under red flag,” Norris said after the race.

There was a similar situation at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, which helped Pierre Gasly to his shock victory.

“We said it last year already. I’m not taking anything away from Pierre but with the Monza race last year, like Pierre got to change tyres for free.

“I don’t know, I don’t feel like it’s deserved in a way. It’s just complete luck and luck that doesn’t need to be given to someone and that’s pretty much what it is — luck given to someone.

“It just ruined our race. It feels like you do so much just to get it all taken away. It sucks because the team did a good job. I thought the car was pretty decent. But it’s just crap, the rule ruins everything.”

When asked if other drivers shared his concerns, Norris said: “I would hope so. If Max won because he just got a free pit stop, then I feel like Mercedes would complain.

“I don’t know if they would still now or not because he [Hamilton] won. So it’s just a great day for them. But I just feel like it’s such an unfair thing. They should still have to do their pit stop, they should be more just unlucky rather than getting lucky. Just sucks.”


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