F1 stewards suggest review of safety car protocols after Schumacher near-miss

The FIA stewards at Formula 1's Australian Grand Prix have suggested that future briefings should focus on how drivers safely maintain the mandated 10-length gap behind the safety car.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

During a safety car period in the Albert Park race, onboard footage from Mick Schumacher's car showed the Haas driver making a dramatic swerve to the left on the main straight while trying to avoid Yuki Tsunoda, who had braked in front of him.

The Japanese driver was in turn trying to stay clear of his AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly, who was ahead.

Schumacher was so shocked by his near-miss that he shouted "holy cow" to his team on the radio.

All three men were summoned to the stewards, who reviewed the incident and decided that no further action should be taken.

They decreed it resulted from the normal ebb and flow as drivers tried to put temperature in their tyres and brakes, and that no one was at fault.

But the stewards also issued a recommendation for the matter to be discussed further in upcoming meetings between the drivers and the FIA race directors.

"Drivers were in line on the main straight behind the safety car with lights on. Cars were accelerating and decelerating to keep tyre and brake temperatures up in anticipation of the restart," the FIA stewards report read.

"Gasly slowed in reaction to the car in front, Tsunoda also slowed in reaction. Schumacher was closer 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 Tsunoda while braking to avoid colliding with him.

"The stewards find no driver guilty of breaching the regulation, however, 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 10 car length separation behind the safety car traditionally specified in the regulations.

"This 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."

The Safety Car Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75 ,and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

The Safety Car Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75 ,and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

After a separate review, the stewards took no further action against Kevin Magnussen after he was summoned for allegedly forcing Fernando Alonso off the track.

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They noted: "After Magnussen passed Alonso at Turn 3, Alonso had a run and was attempting an outside pass on Magnussen 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. The stewards agree and take no further action."

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