Stewards call for action on Safety Car protocols after Schumacher near-miss

The Formula 1 Safety Car

Formula 1’s Safety Car protocols need to be addressed after Mick Schumacher’s near-miss in the Australian Grand Prix, according to stewards.

Schumacher, Pierre Gasly, and Yuki Tsunoda were summoned after the former nearly shunted the latter during the second Safety Car period of the race at Albert Park.

No further action would be taken against any of the aforementioned trio, but that is unlikely to be the end of the story based on the decision which was published by stewards.

In fact, in explaining the reason for their decision, they concluded that the issue which the drama highlighted “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.”

The lucky escape in the Australian Grand Prix occurred when Schumacher got caught out by the concertina effect on Walker Straight as drivers tried to maintain temperature in their brakes and tyres.

He had to throw his Haas down the left edge of the track in order to avoid clouting Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri, which the German in fact overtook, before redressing.

Stewards reported, “Drivers were in line on the main straight behind the safety car with lights on.

“Cars were accelerating and decelerating to keep tyre and brake temperatures up in anticipation of the restart.

“GAS slowed in reaction to the car in front, TSU also slowed in reaction.

“MSC was closer to TSU as he slowed, while trying to maintain the ten car length maximum separation specified in the regulations, and had to move left and overtake TSU while braking to avoid colliding with him.

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

In other judicial matters, Kevin Magnussen was cleared after an alleged breach of regulations in forcing Fernando Alonso off the track at Turn 4 in the latter stages of the race.

Lance Stroll had already been pinged during the 58-lap affair for weaving on the main straight as he tried to defend position from Valtteri Bottas, although the five-second time penalty made no difference in the end to his finishing position of 12th.

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