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McLaren urge FIA to avoid Verstappen 2021 repeat

McLaren's Lando Norris and Red Bull's Max Verstappen were involved in a dramatic collision as they battled for victory at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen Norris Austria crash
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has stated he is keen to avoid seeing the sport slip back into similarities to the controversial 2021 F1 campaign.

Three years ago, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were embroiled in a highly intense season-long fight for the title, featuring several dramatic scraps throughout.

During the Austrian Grand Prix, Verstappen collided with Lando Norris in the late stages of the race as they battled for the lead.

Verstappen was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident that caused Norris to retire, while Verstappen managed to take the chequered flag in fifth place.

When asked if it was an injustice that Verstappen extended his championship lead despite being labelled as the guilty party in the incident by the stewards, Stella told media including RacingNews365: “That’s a tricky one.

“If the stewards elected that the 10 seconds was an appropriate penalty… they, to some extent, go by their rulebook.

“So it’s complex because sometimes the outcome can be minor, sometimes it can be big, like in this case with a car taken out and with the other car whose race is heavily compromised.

“I don’t want to be in a position where I make everything simple [and say] ‘everything was clear’. Things sometimes are complex, they deserve enough reflection.”

Stella hopes Austrian GP incident sparks FIA 'reflection'

Stella also highlighted that Verstappen's manoeuvres at the Red Bull Ring were a result of there being no severe consequences for Verstappen's aggressive defensive tactics during the 2021 season.

The Italian called on the FIA to enforce stricter racing rules going forward or risk having a repeat of the harshly fought 2021 season.

“I think the 10 seconds as a matter of fact was ineffective and we have the driver that we are trying to catch in the classification that gained 10 points,” he said.

“It definitely deserves a reflection. I’m sure the FIA will approach [the incident] as an episode which gives us a richness of cases that should be analysed and think ‘How do we move forward?’

“Because we don’t want to see another 2021. I thought that was not a good point in F1 racing. It might have been entertaining, but not for good reasons.”

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