Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur believes Lando Norris should have been penalized for driving over the white line at the pit entry. He emphasizes that the rules are crystal clear in these kinds of cases: “You have to be punished.”
Norris had to report to the stewards after the lost race in Russia for the way he drove into the pits. The Briton wanted to make a pit stop and also followed the white lines, but with slicks on the wet track, he overshot the white line and turned back. Normally that comes with a penalty, but the stewards decided to only reprimand Norris. Much to the dismay of Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur, who believes the stewards should have been consistent and given him a penalty.
“I am very sorry for Lando, because he had a fantastic weekend in Sochi,” Vasseur told to Motorsport. “But you can’t change the rules because you like that guy and he deserved to win. The rules are crystal clear: if you go over the white line, you must be penalized. It was often the case when it represented much less, like with Tsunoda in Spielberg and with Räikkönen in Mugello last year.” Tsunoda was given two five-second penalties for crossing the white line while Räikkönen lost precious points last year when a five-second penalty dropped him from eighth to ninth place.
“It was even worse under these conditions,” Vasseur said. “When Tsunoda put his tires on the white line in Spielberg, it wasn’t even a safety issue or a matter of saving time. You won’t go through it any faster, but he did get a penalty for it. Nobody complained about that because the rules are clear: if you cross that line with your tires, you get a penalty. The benefit to Norris was enormous. In this situation it was either five seconds to lose or another lap in the rain on the slicks, which might cost you something like 25 seconds.”