Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Szafnauer: F1 race finish rules are "fine as they are" despite Melbourne chaos

Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer says Formula 1's race finish rules are "fine as they are" despite an unpalatable end to the Australian Grand Prix.

Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine F1 Team, Team Principal, Ciaron Pilbeam, Alpine F1 Team Chief Race Engineer, Alan Permane, Alpine F1 Team Trackside Operations Director on the grid

Alpine

The Melbourne race was red-flagged for a third and final time on lap 57 of 58 after a chaotic restart, which prompted a 30-minute delay to work out how the event would finish.

With just one lap remaining, the safety car led out the surviving cars across the line in order of the previous restart, which gave the race an anticlimactic end and was a blow to the drivers that were eliminated.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly was one of the drivers who crashed out on the final restart and stormed out of the media pen after seeing his competitors follow the safety car round for the final lap, having been prevented from scoring points by the decision to complete the final lap.

FIA race control followed the rulebook to a tee with the way the race finished, but questions were raised on whether the rules themselves need to be revisited to prevent a repeat of the Albert Park chaos.

But Alpine's Szafnauer, who also saw his other driver Esteban Ocon left without points after his collision with Gasly, felt the rules are "fine as they are" as it's impossible to cater for every scenario.

"In this situation if you say: 'Okay, well, let's change the rules, because it would have helped', there will be other situations where the opposite happens," Szafnauer said.

"The rules are what they are, and whatever they are, you can't change them in race.

"After the season, if you look back at it, it will be 50-50 whether that's good or bad, because we will have so many different scenarios where at one time it helps and the other time it doesn't.

"So, I think the rules are fine as they are.

Marshals remove the damaged car of Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, from the circuit after the race

Marshals remove the damaged car of Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, from the circuit after the race

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

"My true belief is that we can have these scenarios... you've got to set the rules at the beginning and then stick to them.

"Now if we want to look at them afterwards that's fine too, let the sporting directors look at it."

He then joked: "If we're going to change the rules, I would change it to a 55-lap race. That's what I would do," referring to the stage at which both Alpines were still in the points.

Read Also:

When asked if Alpine pushed for the race to end before completing the final lap, Szafnauer said: "For sure, we definitely pushed because we would have been up there.

"Safety car line two was before Turn 1, so Pierre probably would have been in fourth or something.

"Yeah, for sure we asked them to do that. We were at that point unsure of what was going to happen.

"But I think they made the right decision. Those are the rules, so you've got to follow the rules."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article AlphaTauri still "aligned" despite Tost's no trust comments
Next article Hulkenberg: “Good things happening” with Haas F1 team

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe