Haas Australian GP protest dismissed
By Mat Coch
Monday 3rd April, 2023 - 12:33am
Stewards have dismissed a post-race protest from Haas confirming Max Verstappen as the winner of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
In a chaotic conclusion to the race, which saw two red flags in three laps, Haas argued the starting order for the Safety Car restart which concluded the race was incorrect.
Specifically, the Guenther Steiner-led operation argued Article 57.3 of the Sporting Regulations, which 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 claimed Race Control did not do this when it opted to use the starting order for the Lap 57 restart rather than the order at Safety Car 2 line, meaning Nico Hulkenberg was therefore out of position in the final lap behind the Safety Car.
According to the Stewards report, “Race Control determined that the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars was when the last grid was formed.”
However, “Haas suggested that the relative positions of the cars could be established as at the SC2 line instead.”
According to the Stewards, FIA Race Director Niels Wittich argued that, “In the time available for the continuation of the race, the most reliable point was the last grid, given the data available to him at the time; the relative positions of the cars and the incidents on the track.”
They subsequently sided with Wittich, determining that, “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.”
As a result, Haas’ protest was dismissed with the provisional classification confirmed, leaving Verstappen the victor from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
Nico Hulkenberg was the sole Haas running at the chequered flag, finishing seventh to secure six championship points for the American-registered operation.
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