FIA never addressed Verstappen’s driving in 2021 – Stella

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says the way Max Verstappen races was never addressed properly by the FIA in 2021, following a controversial battle with Lando Norris in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Norris complained that Verstappen was moving in response to his attacking attempts at Turn 3, with the McLaren driver trying to take the lead in the closing stages of Sunday’s race. After multiple off-track incidents for both, the pair touched as Norris was on the outside of the track approaching the same corner, with Verstappen given a 10s time penalty for the incident that ended Norris’ race and eventually demoted the championship leader to fifth.

“The entire population of the world knows who was responsible except for a group of people,” Stella told Sky Sports. “If you don’t address these things honestly, they will come back. They weren’t addressed properly in the past when there were fights with Lewis that needed to be punished in a harsher way. Like this, you learn how to race in a certain way.”


Stella later expanded that he believes the FIA need to use the incidents at the Red Bull Ring to reinforce what he believes to be the rules of on-track competition.

“In every kind of human dynamics, if you don’t address things, as soon as you introduce competition, as soon as you introduce a sense of injustice, these things escalate,” he said. “I think here there was an incomplete job, let’s say, that comes from the past, and is a legacy that as soon as there was a trigger…immediately it became a case that escalated.

“So I think this episode today should be taken as an opportunity to tighten up, to plump up the boundaries, and in fairness, enforcing some of the rules that are already in place. We need to be very clear that these rules cannot be abused in a way that then leaves a margin to do a couple of times the same maneuver, and you know the third time there is going to be an accident.

“Of course, even statistically, there is going to be an accident. Like I say, there is obviously frustration to today, but for me what is important is this is now taken as an opportunity for the FIA, for the sport, so that we can in the future hopefully enjoy more of these battles that means McLaren is in condition to race Red Bull, but knowing that this is not going to end up with a collision.

“For us, there’s a lot of points gone and a victory which I think Lando deserved to have the opportunity to have. It could have been Max, it could have been Lando. That’s racing. But racing…with collisions, we don’t like it.”

Story originally appeared on Racer