Mick’s ‘holy cow’ moment prompts SC protocol review

Michelle Foster
Yuki Tsunoda leading Mick Schumacher. Australia April 2022

After a “holy cow, that was close” when Mick Schumacher swerved to avoid Yuki Tsunoda, Formula 1 is set to review the Safety Car protocols.

Preparing for a restart from a Safety Car period at the Australian Grand Prix, Schumacher had to swerve to the left to avoid running into the back of Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri.

The latter had suddenly braked, doing so in response to his team-mate, Pierre Gasly, hitting the brakes.

None of the drivers did anything wrong, it is just something drivers do before a restart as they try to get heat into their tyres.

For Schumacher, it was an all-too-close encounter.

The Haas driver, Tsunoda and Gasly were all summoned to the stewards’ office after the race, where it was decided there would be no further action.

The stewards did, however, note drivers’ behaviour behind the Safety Car, especially as they have to stay within 10 car lengths of the car in front, needs to be reviewed.

They noted: “The stewards find no driver guilty of breaching the regulation, however it is clear the speed and braking capabilities of F1 cars, especially while trying to maintain required temperatures in tyres and brakes, are in tension with the 10-car-length separation behind the Safety Car traditionally specified in the regulations.

“This needs to be a point of emphasis in future driver briefings, to ensure the drivers collectively agree on how best to address this challenge before an unfortunate incident occurs.”

Schumacher finished the grand prix 13th, the German unable to break his points duck in Melbourne.

“It was a very eventful one,” he said of his Sunday afternoon.

“Right from the beginning with Carlos [Sainz] coming around and cutting back across the track, I think we got missed by a few metres there, and obviously Yuki under the Safety Car coming quite close together.

 

“I think in terms of pace we were not too far off, it’s just unfortunate there’s not a huge amount of passing opportunities here.

“Lots was learned, some positives, so we’ve just got to take it away with us and hopefully be better at Imola.”

 

Haas fall back after early season form

Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen both finished outside the points in Australia.