Mark Webber feels F1 overplayed the ‘jeopardy card’ at Australian Grand Prix

Henry Valantine
Mark Webber speaking into a microphone. Bahrain, March 2022.

Mark Webber working as a pundit for Channel 4. Bahrain, March 2022.

With the standing restarts at the Australian Grand Prix, Mark Webber believes the drivers were “frustrated” with how the race was handled.

After Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen’s crashes at either end of the race, two separate red flag restarts took place from the grid, the second of which coming just two laps from the end of the Australian Grand Prix.

With plenty to be gained or lost and only two laps left on the board, Alpine driver Esteban Ocon believed there were drivers willing to pull a “suicidal” move to gain places late on, while McLaren’s Lando Norris felt the final restart was “maybe to put on a bit of a show.”

Former Red Bull driver Webber, now the manager of Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, believes the “jeopardy” introduced by using a standing restart was an additional risk factor that was unnecessary for the drivers, even though Piastri and McLaren benefitted from contact further ahead of them.

The nine-time grand prix winner questioned if a restart so close to the finish after Magnussen’s crash was even needed at all, given the timings, and the falling track temperature meant a drop in tyre temperature, which in turn will not have helped the drivers into the first braking zone in the lap.

“It was a frustrating finish, even though we cashed in well on it,” Webber explained on the F1 Nation podcast.

“But I think that just from a sporting perspective, it’s nice to see a standing start, you know, it’s exciting, but ultimately with the track temp where it was, Safety Car trundling around for the first part of the sector, and then the drivers are trying to manipulate energy back into the tyre – they’re not driving that slow then going quick because they want to cause any issues at the rear of the field, which we saw on one of the restarts. recommends

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“So I think that Magnussen’s crash was unfortunate timing. You’re right on that bubble of having a [question of] ‘do we need a restart? Can we finish the race at that point?’

“So yeah, I don’t know. I don’t like rolling the jeopardy card too much because these are the best guys in the world, and I think for them to go down there, we saw the result on cold tyres.

“One lap, bang. They go down there and that’s on soft tyres, you know, so it wasn’t a good result, and I think the drivers were probably a bit frustrated with how that was handled.”

The race eventually finished in yellow flag conditions after a third red flag was waved following the second restart, with multiple cars making contact and others running wide at Turn 1.

Webber’s client Piastri crossed the line eighth and scored his first ever points in Formula 1, earning that milestone in front of his home crowd.