Motor racing-Norris calls for harsher penalties for impeding

FILE PHOTO:Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 17, 2023 McLaren's Lando Norris celebrates on the podium after finishing second place in the Singapore Grand Prix REUTERS/Caroline Chia/Pool/File Photo

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Formula One should be tougher on drivers who impede others because it has become rife in the sport and nobody seems to care enough, McLaren's Lando Norris said on Thursday.

Red Bull's runaway championship leader Max Verstappen received three summons to the stewards in Singapore last weekend for impeding in qualifying and was handed two reprimands but no grid penalty.

Norris, a good friend of Verstappen, said the Dutch driver should certainly have been penalised for impeding AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda.

"I think the blocking one on track was the one that should have been a penalty. He blocked someone," said Norris. "I know the team got the fine in the end of the day, but it should be down to the driver as well to look at his mirrors...

"You've got nothing else to do the whole lap but look in your mirrors, and it seems like a lot of people struggle to do that.

"It should just be harsher penalties for blocking people, because so many people do it. It ruins your lap, it ruins your qualifying, it put Yuki out in qualifying."

Stewards reprimanded Verstappen for the offence after the representative of the Red Bull-owned sister team chose not to attend the hearing.

Verstappen told reporters separately that every case was different.

"The only thing I can say about Singapore is that I explained what happened when I was sitting in the car, and the information that was given to me ... and then it's up to the stewards to make that call."

The double world champion was also reprimanded for holding up rivals at the end of the pitlane as he waited to create a gap before taking to the track.

He was cleared entirely of impeding Williams' Logan Sargeant after the American told stewards he did not believe the champion was at fault.

"Just no one seems to care enough. And it's happened a lot this season, it's happened to me quite a few times, especially with certain teams," said Norris.

"I'll probably block someone now this weekend and make myself look stupid."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Alexander Smith)

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