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Stewards call for review of safety car protocols

NEWS STORY
10/04/2022

Following an incident during today's Australian Grand Prix, the Melbourne stewards have called for a review of safety car protocols.

At race end, Mick Schumacher, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were all summoned by the stewards following an incident behind the safety car which almost resulted in a collision.

The three drivers were in line on the main straight behind the safety car and were accelerating and decelerating to keep their tyre and brake temperatures up in anticipation of the restart.

Gasly slowed in reaction to the car in front, and his teammate also slowed in reaction. Schumacher was clos to Tsunoda as he slowed, while trying to maintain the ten car length maximum separation specified in the regulations, and had to move left and overtake the Japanese driver while braking to avoid colliding with him.

The stewards found no driver guilty of breaching the regulations however, they feel it is clear that the speed and braking capabilities of F1 cars, especially while trying to maintain required temperatures in tyres and brakes, are in tension with the ten car length separation behind the Safety Car traditionally specified in the regulations.

"There needs to be a point of emphasis in future driver briefings, to ensure the drivers collectively agree on how best to address this challenge before an unfortunate incident occurs", said the stewards.

Meanwhile, the stewards felt no further action was required after it was alleged Kevin Magnussen had forced Fernando Alonso off track in the closing stages of the race.

After the Dane had passed Alonso at turn 3, the Spaniard had a run and was attempting an outside pass on the Haas going through turn 4.

The cars went through turn 4 essentially side by side but at the exit Alonso was off the track.

The drivers agreed that this was hard racing with no clear breach of the regulations - a claims with which the stewards agreed as they opted to take no further action.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 12/04/2022 15:51

"I have an answer: Just don't put out the safety car unless it's really needed. Go back to double waved yellows where the incident is until it's cleared. "

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2. Posted by alvarezh3, 12/04/2022 0:12

"@ Pavlo:

Oh, you are referring to the accelerating and sudden braking by (I believe) Tsunoda behind the pace-car. Yes, that is dangerous, and, like you, I think it should be properly addressed.

@Superbird70 and I were referencing the speed of the pace-car the drivers were complaining about."

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 11/04/2022 22:20

"As we saw with Mick, it’s not safe. And rules need to be reviewed.
In fact there are normally no issues not because the rule about “10 cars length” is good, but because it is normally ignored. And it’s ignored because it’s not safe :)
If stewards will start to enforce (by penalties - how else), drivers can try to “punish” driver behind by suddenly accelerating. Imagine then random braking and acceleration, on distances 10-20 meters - this is not safe clearly."

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4. Posted by alvarezh3, 11/04/2022 17:01

"@Superbird70

The proof that it's safe is the fact that everyone restarted without crashing.

What happens is that the drivers want to restart at full speed after the pace-car period and they can't do it when the tires are not up to temperature. It's easier for them not to be a little extra careful.They are not complaining of this issue being unsafe, for them it is just UNPLEASANT.

After a pitstop the tires are not up to full racing temp (probably just as or colder than while driving behind the safety-car) - they adjust and they don't complain.

Racing in the rain is not as safe as in the dry, again - they adjust and they don't complain.

It's not safe to go around a curve at 201 kph when your car is only capable of doing it at 200 kph, drivers adjust to their reality.

What is important here is that everyone is on the same wagon just as you have admitted. He who can cope with the circumstances the best, is the finest driver/car combination.

Remember, there are no tire warmers in Indy, NASCAR, nor IMSA in the USofA. You never hear them complaining, and that includes the former F1 drivers driving in Indy or IMSA, they adapt!

I am sorry but I don't see any safety issue here.

These modern day F1 drivers love to complain. They did it when they widened the front wing a few years back, also when they introduced the HANS device. Some are complaining that the new 18 wheeled tires (28 vs 26 inch tire diameters) restrain the view, as if it is an issue an extra 1 inch of rubber above the top of the previous 2021 tires.

Some (if not most) F1 drivers just love to be pampered. :-)"

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5. Posted by Superbird70, 11/04/2022 15:40

"@alvarezh3- I agree, it's the same for everyone. The question will be, "Is it safe?". This is especially true since there is an alternative available that may provide a safer option. It would a shame to have the outcome of a race decided by a safety car."

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6. Posted by alvarezh3, 11/04/2022 14:56

"@Superbird70

Yes, the MB is faster not only because it has more HP but better handling also. Bernd Maylander has declared that the MB is almost a race car. Leclerc said that he saw the AM sliding all over the place and that because of that he didn't complained as the driver was doing the best in keeping the highest speed possible.

Having said that, if everyone's speed is the same, then everyone's tires should also be more or less equal in temperature. Therefore, there should be no one disadvantaged. All the drivers just have to be careful on the restart (as they did) as all should of have been having the same temperature issue.

Drivers must adjust to the situation, just as they do when it rains. You can't control the weather and your can't expect a certain pace-car to run at your preferred speed and it's the same for everyone......adapt!"

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7. Posted by Superbird70, 11/04/2022 14:02

"I read an article that said the Max was complaining that the Aston Martin safety car was too slow compared to the Mercedes safety car, and that it was difficult to maintain tire temperatures when following."

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