Team bosses defend F1 red flags

Christian Horner and Otmar Szafnauer have defended the use of red flags

Christian Horner and Otmar Szafnauer have defended the use of red flags

Christian Horner and Otmar Szafnauer have defended the use of red flags during F1 events following the thrice-halted Australian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen won in Albert Park from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in a race that was effectively reduced to a parade across the line under Safety Car.

That followed a penultimate lap crash at Turn 1 which in itself had followed a crash at Turn 2 for Kevin Magnussen which left the circuit littered with debris.

Many have criticised the willingness of the FIA to throw red flags suggesting it is the sport placing the entertaining factor ahead of the competitive purity of F1.

While teams understand the need for a commercially attractive product, they also believe the red flags in Melbourne were necessary.

“I think in safety reasons, the red flag has always been thrown,” began Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

“There was a lot of debris on the track,” he noted of the penultimate lap crash.

“When you look at it, it was the right then to red flag it.

“Problem was, it was only two laps to the end of the race, and so you’re always going to get winners and losers out of that.”

The event drew comparisons to Abu Dhabi 2021, when the race was not stopped and a selection of cars allowed to pass the Safety Car before racing resumed for a final lap sprint.

“It’s something that has been discussed,” Horner said of the desire for a racing finale.

“There’s always been a preference to finish under racing conditions.

“So if by stopped the race enabled them to tidy up the circuit, so rather than just cruise out the remaining laps under a Safety Car, it’s the right thing to do.”

Alpine’s team boss, Otmar Szafnauer, agrees in that safety is paramount.

“When you need to have marshals, workers, whatever on the track, and you don’t want cars going by – and it’s not just when everyone’s gone by run out, get a piece of debris and bring it back – well, you got to sweep or you got to repair a barrier, or… it makes sense,” he reasoned.

“How else are you going to do it?”

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]