‘Australian Grand Prix Safety Car ending was not worthy of Formula 1’

Thomas Maher
A red flag is shown at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

A red flag is shown at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Former F1 racer and Le Mans legend Hans-Joachim Stuck has criticised the ending of the Australian GP as unbecoming of the standards of Formula 1.

Following on from the chaotic ending to the race in Melbourne, where three red flags interrupted the Grand Prix with two of them in the final three laps, Hans-Joachim Stuck dubbed the decision-making as a ‘circus’.

The former F1 racer, plus DTM & Le Mans Champion said that it was a “waste of time” to see how the red flag decisions were made, in which Race Control opted to restore the final standing start order for a final processional lap behind the Safety Car to conclude the race.

Speaking in an interview with Eurosport.de, Stuck said the final lap with the Safety Car was “nonsense”: “What stuck with me the most was this unnecessary and unorganised action to restart the race after the third red flag.

“How can you come up with the idea of ​​letting the cars roll to the finish with only one lap left behind the Safety Car? Who wants to see something like that, what’s the nonsense? That’s not worthy of Formula 1.”

The German said that the rules need adjustment to ensure such a scenario doesn’t happen again, saying the Australian Grand Prix had been “artificially lengthened” by the fact decisions had to be made to reset the race after the carnage of the final restart.

“You have to avoid making a circus like this,” he said.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Daniel Ricciardo reflects on Red Bull reunion in Melbourne: It ‘felt like home’

Revealed: The F1 drivers and teams most grateful for lengthy April break

Sebastian Vettel on Aston Martin replacement Fernando Alonso and life after F1

“There are spectators sitting along the route and in front of the television. Nobody understands that – it’s a joke. The fact that a race can sometimes take longer is not a problem.

“But having to artificially lengthen the Grand Prix isn’t necessary, it’s a waste of time. If this is part of the rules, these regulations urgently need to be changed

“The race should have simply ended after the third red flag and we shouldn’t have gone back on the track. Nothing could change anyway, the result was already sealed.”

The cataclysm for the chaos began as a result of Kevin Magnussen ripping his right-rear wheel off against the wall on the exit of Turn 2, forcing the Dane to pull over and park his car up on the inside of Turn 4.

Stuck reckoned the incident was not serious enough to require a red flag, believing the debris could have been cleared up under a Safety Car – which would have resulted in the race ending without any further racing anyway.

“As far as I can judge from the TV pictures, a Safety Car or a Virtual Safety Car would have been sufficient,” he said.

“But I worked as a steward in Formula E and I know how difficult it is for a race director to make the right decisions quickly.”