Szafnauer wary of changing F1 red flag rules
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 12th April, 2023 - 7:02pm
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer is wary of the unexpected consequences of changes to F1 red flag rules following the Australian Grand Prix.
The race in Melbourne ultimately ended under Safety Car after a late red flag and resulting standing restart.
It was the third time the race had been restarted before a lack of laps prevented a competitive conclusion.
That has sparked suggestions the red flag rules could be tweaked.
The concept float is to simply not count the lap behind the Safety Car back to the grid.
Currently, following the initial start, every lap completed on track counts.
Two racing laps were lost behind the Safety Car from the pits to the grid in Melbourne.
The proposal is those laps would not count towards the grand prix distance.
Szafnauer cautious of red flag changes
“If we’re going to change the rules, I would change it to a 55-lap race,” Szafnauer joked, noting both Alpines were eliminated at the Lap 57 restart.
“If you say ‘okay, well let’s change the rules because it would have helped’, there will be other situations where the opposite happens, where you want to count that [lap].
“So the rules are what they are and whatever they are, you can’t change them in race.
“Now, after the season, if you look back at it, it will be 50:50 whether that’s good or bad.
“We will have so many different scenarios where at one time it helps, the other time it doesn’t.
“So I think the rules are fine as they are – maybe a bit inconsistent because it doesn’t count one place [the formation lap prior to the race start] but it does count in another [all subsequent formation laps], but then it’s probably that because the race hasn’t started yet.”
“My true belief is that we can have these scenarios, you’ve got to set the rules at the beginning and then stick to it,” Szafnauer added.
“If we want to look at them after, that’s fine to let the sporting directors look at it.”
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