Several drivers were on the wrong side of the FIA penalties at the Red Bull Ring, including Sergio Perez – who was twice penalized for allegedly pushing Charles Leclerc off the track at turns 4 and 6, with the Ferrari driver trying to make his way through a way around the outside of the Mexican.
Perez attempted a similar move away on McLaren’s Lando Norris early in the race as he tried to make his way to the podium spots. Norris craned his elbows and Perez went over the gravel, getting a five-second penalty in the process. Despite the movement affecting his driver, Horner said the McLaren driver should not have received a penalty for this maneuver.
With the move seen by some as just a tough race rather than a rule violation, the Red Bull team principal doesn’t want penalties imposed for moves that would discourage drivers from making daring overtakes.
“You don’t want the equivalent of diving footballers,” said Horner, as quoted by Motorsport.com. “I think we have to avoid this.
“I know it’s incredibly difficult, because we talk about these things very often, and it’s difficult for the clerk of the course, but I felt that maybe the incidents that we saw could have been related to more racing incidents than meriting penalties.
“The incident between Checo and Lando is the race. You go around the outside, you take the risk, especially when you are not in a position to be in front.
“But I think the FIA, after awarding [first] penalty, so could not fail to award a penalty for a very similar move with Charles.
“These guys have been racing karting since they were kids, and know that if you go around the outside you take the risk, especially if you’re not in front.
“So yeah, I think the penalties were a little harsh and that goes a bit against the ‘let them run’ mantra that we’ve been championing for the last few years. “
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Horner added that he believes Perez was right in trying to get past Norris and be proactive in doing so, rather than sit still and lose any potential strategic advantage.
Despite further penalties later, Horner was pleased with how the Mexican responded to the adversity ahead and still comes home in points.
“I think he knew it was going to be very difficult to pass Lando because he was so quick in the straight,” he said. “He was trying to make the move quickly, and obviously it was a shame at that point to lose your stamp with Mercedes.
“He then received two more penalties with Charles. But I think once he got past Daniel [Ricciardo] and in the clear air, then he drove incredibly well. He put his head down and built those 10 seconds at the end of the race up to Daniel. “
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