FIA rejects Haas’ Australian GP protest over restart

FIA rejects Haas’ Australian GP protest over restart

The final results for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne have been signed and sealed following the rejection by the FIA stewards of a protest by the Haas F1 Team.

The American outfit was unhappy with race control’s decision to roll back the running order for the final finishing lap behind the safety car to the grid of the second restart, which had been triggered by Kevin Magnussen’s crash on lap 52 of 58.

Mutliple incidents ensued after that restart, with both Alpine’s eliminated on the spot, but during the commotion, Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg had steered clear of the trouble and was running fourth in the field when the red flag was brandished.

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Regarding the determination of the running order after the red flag period, Article 57.3 of the F1 Sporting Regulation states: “In all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars…”.

Haas argued that the running order should have therefore been based on the order of the cars at the safety car line 2, not based on the previous grid as was the case.

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But F1 race director Niels Wittich, who was called to the hearing, explained that “in the time available for the continuation of the race, the most reliable point was the last grid, given the data available at the time”.

Both parties acknowledged that using GPS data to determine the order at the safety car line was not completely reliable, but Haas nevertheless contended that “instead of the last grid, the timing data ought to have been used to establish the order of the cars”.

A statement from the stewards said: “This determination needed to be done in the context of a timed race event and therefore the decision of Race Control and the Race Director needed to be made promptly; with the exercise of appropriate discretion and by using the most appropriate information available to them at the time.”

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