Red Bull boss warns F1 over drivers behaving like ‘footballers taking a dive’

F1 preview: A lap of the Austrian Grand Prix

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Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix saw Lando Norris and Sergio Perez handed penalties for forcing drivers wide while battling to overtake. Formula One has employed a ‘let them race’ philosophy for some time, and there are concerns that such punishments go against that idea.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has warned that excessive penalties in Formula One could lead to drivers behaving like “footballers taking a dive”.

Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix saw Lando Norris and Sergio Perez handed penalties for forcing drivers wide while battling to overtake.

There are concerns that the punishments go against the ‘let them race’ philosophy F1 has been trying to operate.

And Red Bull chief Horner is concerned that excessive penalising may lead to drivers taking an easy way out and looking to enforce penalties on other drivers.

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“You don’t want the equivalent of footballers taking a dive,” said Horner. “I think we need to avoid that.

“I know it’s incredibly difficult, because we talk about these things very often, and it’s difficult for the race director, but I did feel that maybe the incidents that we did see could have been leant to more racing incidents than been deserving of penalties.”

Horner believes that the incident the incident between his driver Perez and Norris was more a case of battling for places than anything untoward.

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“The incident between Checo and Lando, that’s racing,” he said. “You go around the outside, you take the risk, particularly when you’re not in a position of being ahead.

“But I think the FIA, having awarded that [first] penalty, then couldn’t not award a penalty for a very similar move with Charles.

“These guys have raced in karting from when they were kids, and know if you go around the outside you take the risk, particularly if you’re not ahead.

“So yeah I think the penalties were a bit harsh and it sort of does slightly go against the ‘let them race’ mantra that we’ve been championing in recent years.

“I think he knew that it was going to be very hard to pass Lando, because he was so quick on the straight.

“He was trying to get the move done quickly, and obviously it was a shame at that point to lose your buffer with Mercedes.

“He then picked up another couple of penalties with Charles. But I think once he managed to get himself past Daniel [Ricciardo] and into clear air, then he drove incredibly well.

“He got his head down and built that 10 seconds by the end of the race to Daniel.”

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