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Norris Speaks on F1's Jeddah Dilemma

Sport vs Controversy: Norris Against Off-Track Drama

07/03/2024

F1 has arrived at the Jeddah paddock against a backdrop of off-track controversies involving Red Bull Racing, currently in internal turmoil, and, for the past two days, the FIA president, who is facing reports submitted to his federation’s ethics committee following allegations from a whistleblower.

While F1 is no stranger to controversy and politics, indeed having always relished them, and fans are well aware of this, the atmosphere in Saudi Arabia is nonetheless tense.

This is according to Lando Norris, McLaren F1 driver, when asked about the matter.

“Fortunately, I’m not involved in any of that, so I’m doing fine.”

“There’s a lot of noise, it’s definitely not what we should have in sport, it should be all about the racing and what the drivers do with each other on the track.”

“I don’t think the sport should be disrupted by what happens or has happened off the circuit, it has nothing to do with racing.”

“It might make headlines, but it shouldn’t impact the sport, I shouldn’t be asked about what happens in people’s private lives, it’s not my business.”

“So I try to stay out of it as much as possible, it’s not the reason I’m here, so I guess it’s a distraction, people want big headlines but it has nothing to do with F1, nothing to do with McLaren and myself, which is also a good thing because it allows us to focus on what we want to do.”

“But as a sport, this shouldn’t happen.”

The allegations concerning Ben Sulayem have, however, sparked significant concern due to the nature of the accusations, as he is alleged to have interfered with the results of a Grand Prix by pressuring the race stewards, last year, right here in Jeddah.

“It’s a broader subject,” replies Norris.

“Again, it’s nothing that directly concerns me and I’m sure the investigation is ongoing and I don’t know everything. If it happens and drivers become more involved, then absolutely… but it’s not something we were aware of either, I don’t know all the facts so I can’t comment.”

“But you never want this kind of thing to happen at any time, because of preferences or anything from any side. As long as it’s resolved, all is well.”

Beside him, George Russell had the same stance regarding this matter related to the FIA.

“As the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association) director, we want to see all the facts and have total transparency. We all race together and we want fair play rules to be able to show what we can do. I can’t really comment further.”

“Regarding Fernando’s penalty (overturned), we were surprised a year ago when the result was overturned, as the Mercedes legal team thought they had done an excellent job in presenting the case and winning initially, then losing later on. We just want transparency and the opportunity to race under fair conditions.”

Norris Speaks on F1’s Jeddah Dilemma. Norris Speaks on F1’s Jeddah Dilemma

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