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Norris calls for "rethink" of F1 red flag calls

Formula 1 needs to "rethink" its red flag procedure and should consider rolling restarts in response to the incident-strewn close to the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, reckons McLaren's Lando Norris.

A marshal waves a red flag

A marshal waves a red flag

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Melbourne race descended into controversy as a total of four red flags and three standing starts disrupted proceedings as the field finished in a procession behind the safety car.

Many felt that the decision to restart the race on lap 56 with a standing start to tee up a two-lap shootout encouraged a spate of crashes into Turn 1 as drivers considered riskier late overtakes.

Consternation was also prompted by the delayed end to the race while the FIA stewards attempted to work out an agreeable starting order for the safety car train.

This apparent eagerness to wave the red flags to ensure racing could continue, when the 2022 Italian GP notably finished behind a safety car to boos from spectators, has come under fire from Norris.

"It's tough, I feel like you can just be so unlucky. I kind of hate it," said Norris.

"I feel like a rolling start is better in these situations because you feel like you can try so hard... It just feels like you can do such a good race and because someone is a bit silly and locks up in Turn 1, you just get your race finished.

"I don't like the restarts… I don't feel like it's fair for a lot of people who have done a good job and get taken out and it's race over. I doubt they're going to change anything."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Norris returned McLaren its first points of the season with sixth in Australia, a result of the running order behind the safety car, which effectively determined the final classification.

This was taken using the grid from the previous lap 56 restart minus cars eliminated in the crashes.

He considered that Race Control might have been more inclined to opt for red flags and standing starts to boost the spectacle.

Norris continued: "I think if we'd just finished behind [the] safety car, it would have been a bit more straightforward.

"Someone does something stupid in Turn 1, locks up and your race is over because they just want to make the show more exciting.

"In the end, I know it is a show but we're not here to just put on a good show. We want to race each other and to be fair and I don't think it's a fair thing for everyone.

He added: "The whole point of red flagging it, it feels like was just to put on a show.

"I just think that side of it, it needs a small rethink. I don't think it needs a change; it just needs a small rethink."

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