Brown: Austrian penalties set precedent that make racing ‘difficult’

McLaren boss Zak Brown believes that last Sunday’s string of “nonsense” penalties has set a precedent that could make racing “difficult” in certain circumstances in the future.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was hit with a five-second penalty in the Austrian Grand Prix for forcing Sergio Perez off the track during a wheel-to-wheel battle, while the Mexican found himself on the receiving end of the stewards’ wrath for two similar moves on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Brown was unimpressed with the calls which he says were “nonsense” and which may lead to unintended consequences.

“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,” the McLaren Racing boss told Motorsport.TV. “And I think that will become very difficult to go racing that way.

“I thought it was nonsense. 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’.

“For 50 years, it’s been great wheel to wheel racing. But you put yourself at risk of potentially running out of room on the exit.

“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, but from everyone I’ve spoken with, 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.”

    Read also: Horner warns of F1 penalties becoming equivalent of ‘diving footballers’

Brown questioned the reasons why the current penalty system was introduced and why on-tracl battles have become over-regulated.

“Motor racing has been around a long time and we haven’t had these penalties until recently,” he said.

“From what I remember of my years growing up following F1, and all sorts of motor racing, the racing has been great, it’s been hard, you’ve had incidents.

“But you know, 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 over-regulate the on-track activity.

“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.”

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