Haas’ Protest Unsuccessful: Stewards Uphold Race Control’s Decision in Australian Grand Prix Chaos
Controversy surrounds the Australian Grand Prix as Haas’ protest over the starting order fails to overturn the final classification.
Despite Haas filing an unsuccessful protest, the outcome of the Australian Grand Prix in Formula 1 remains the same. The team disputed the method used to determine the starting order for the final restart of the Melbourne race, which ended under a safety car.
However, as there were only two laps left in the race and a subsequent red flag was raised due to the chaos that ensued during the standing restart, the classification of the race was determined by this order.
The FIA utilized the starting grid for the previous standing restart to determine the order for the non-racing restart, with the exception of the cars that were eliminated due to the accidents. This method was deemed to be the most valid point of reference.
This approach initially seemed to contradict the decision made during last year’s British Grand Prix, which mandated the use of the Safety Car 2 line if all vehicles had passed it.
During the Melbourne race, the SC2 line was located just before Turn 1, and all drivers passed it. Haas claimed that this line should have been used to determine the order for the restart, as they acknowledged that GPS data was not dependable.
Haas made this argument because their driver, Nico Hulkenberg, was able to marginally surpass Lando Norris of McLaren at the SC2 line. Therefore, he should have started the final restart one place higher, and his final classification would have also been improved.
If the SC2 line had been used to determine the order, other drivers such as Sergio Perez, who overtook Lance Stroll before the SC2 line, and Yuki Tsunoda, who passed both Oscar Piastri and Zhou Guanyu, would have also gained an advantage.
Although the SC2 line is the primary means to establish the order, the race director has the discretion to revert to the previous starting order if it is deemed necessary.
According to the relevant sporting regulation, the order should be determined based on the last point where it was feasible to determine the position of all cars.
However, in this instance, the SC2 line was not deemed to be a dependable reference point as it is situated before a braking zone. This means that some cars could gain an advantage by carrying too much speed and then running off the track, as Sergio Perez did when he skidded through the gravel.
After summoning the race director Niels Wittich and reviewing the available data, the stewards determined that for the resumption of the race, the most reliable reference point was the last grid. As a result, the stewards have upheld the original decision made by race control.
Even if the stewards believed that the SC2 line should have been used, it is improbable that they would have overturned the final classification based on a hypothetical scenario.
F1 2023 Haas’ Protest Unsuccessful: Stewards Uphold Race Control’s Decision in Australian Grand Prix Chaos F1 2023 Haas’ Protest Unsuccessful: Stewards Uphold Race Control’s Decision in Australian Grand Prix Chaos F1 2023 Haas’ Protest Unsuccessful: Stewards Uphold Race Control’s Decision in Australian Grand Prix Chaos
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