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Andrea Stella

McLaren take aim at F1 stewards over Verstappen inaction

McLaren saw a potential win opportunity in Austria go down the drain following a late-race collision between Max Verstappen and Andrea Stella.

Stella
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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has stated Max Verstappen and Lando Norris' collision at the Austrian Grand Prix could have been avoided with an official warning in the build-up to the clash.

Norris voiced frustration over team radio on multiple occasions, highlighting Verstappen was moving in the braking zone while he attempted to overtake.

On lap 64 of the race, the pair collided at Turn 3 of the Red Bull Ring, resulting in Norris' retirement from the grand prix.

Verstappen was forced to return to the pit lane for new tyres after sustaining a puncture and was issued a 10-second time penalty before classifying in fifth place.

With McLaren left frustrated by the missed opportunity, Stella underlined the stewards could have been more proactive in responding to Norris' radio complaints.

“This race has given us a lot of good information to fix some of the aspects which are needed to go racing in a way that we can enjoy this kind of battle until the chequered flag,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.

“For me, it's a big shame that we didn't see the last six or seven laps, because they would have been quite entertaining.

“They were not entertaining because simply the rules were not enforced.

“It would have been enough to give Max the warning, like a black-and-white flag - [so] don't do it again. And he would have been much more prudent in closing the door on Lando.”

McLaren call for FIA improvement

Stella immediately suggested after the race that Verstappen's tactics were a direct result of going largely unpunished for aggressive defensive displays while fighting Lewis Hamilton for the title in 2021.

The Italian doubled down on his assessment and believes the FIA can use the incident as an opportunity to improve going forward.

“In every kind of human dynamics, if you don't address things as soon as you introduce competition, a sense of injustice, these things escalate,” he said.

“Here there was an incomplete job, let's say, that comes from the past. And there's a legacy that as soon as there was a trigger, immediately it became a case that escalated.

“This episode should be taken as an opportunity to tighten up the boundaries and enforce some of the rules which are already in place.

“But we need to be very clear that these rules cannot be abused in a way that then leaves margin to do the same manoeuvre a couple of times.”

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