McLaren CEO Zak Brown feels that with the rigorous regulation regarding on-track battles, F1 has set a bad precedent for drivers when it comes to overtaking and defending their position.
This was said in light of the Austrian GP when McLaren’s Lando Norris was handed out a 5-second time penalty for allegedly pushing Red Bull’s Sergio Perez off the track, which Brown fears will lead to the end of hard racing.
“Certainly if someone’s doing something dangerous [it is justified], but I certainly didn’t consider that move dangerous at all. That was just good racing,” Brown told Motorsport.tv.
Brown fears that drivers will now ‘pull up’ and let the other driver pass if the latter gets alongside while entering the corner, something he feels completely changes the rules of engagement.
He feels that these penalties were intended to punish dangerous driving and if there was not enough space given, and that in the past, without this overregulation, racing was fine.
“Motor racing has been around a long time and we haven’t had these penalties until recently,” he explained. “The alternative now is you’ve set the precedent for all you have to do is get up alongside someone, and then they’ve got to pull over for you. And I think that will become very difficult to go racing that way,” Brown complained.
“I thought it was great, firm, hard racing. And I think sometimes, we need to let the drivers race. We need to make sure they’re doing safe stuff and they are driving within the limits.”
He has also explained how trying to go around the outside will always have its risks and that the incident between Norris and Perez was “just clean racing” and nothing more.
“I think ever since I’ve been in motor racing, which is about 35 years now, when you go to make a pass on the outside, certainly on an opening lap, I think it’s ‘passer be aware’,” Brown said.
“I don’t think there’s a race car driver in the world that didn’t think that was just good clean racing. And if you’re going to make a pass on the outside, or try, you run that risk.”
Brown concluded by stating that these penalties were only recently introduced and that there is still no need for overregulation and potentially setting the wrong precedent.
“These five-second penalties because you didn’t give someone enough room, these didn’t exist 5/10/15 years ago, and the racing was just fine. So I’m not sure why we’ve had to kind of overregulate the on-track activity,” he commented.