The restart following Alex Albon’s dramatic crash during the early stages of the Formula One Australian GP led the race stewards to call on Formula One for a rethink.
Due to the extreme amount of gravel on the circuit, the stewards red flagged the race and indicated that there would be a standing restart.
Hamilton slows behind safety car
Once the debris was removed, the cars left the pit lane behind the safety car. Half way around the lap the lead driver Lewis Hamilton slowed to gather up the pack of cars and lead them in formation for the second standing start of the day.
Behind Lewis a number of cars slowed almost to a halt to maintain position however unaware of this Zhou Guanyu, Valterri Bottas, Logan Sargent and Kevin Magnussen approached turn 6 at speeds approaching 200mph.
All were forced to take evasive action with Magnussen even running into the gravel trap.
Russell late leaving pit lane
Initially it was believed the fault was with the way Hamilton had backed up the pack but further investigation revealed the incident had been triggered by George Russell’s slow exit from the pit lane.
The stewards decided not to issue any penalties though they did issue an explanation.
“Car 63 RUS, got off to a slow start from the pits and as soon as he left the pit lane sped up to make up the gap. That then resulted in the other cars behind RUS to be delayed leaving the pit lane and also speeding up.”
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Stewards note lead car ‘problem’
The stewards added the effect of the Russell led group of cars catching up led to the concertina and that “this was not at all an ideal situation from a safety point of view.”
Without attributing blame to Hamilton the stewards questioned whether “part of the problem is the regulation that permits the lead car to set the pace even when the restart is for a standing start from the pit lane (as opposed to a rolling start).”
Clearly when a rolling restart is performed behind the safety car, the regulation forcing cars to remain within 10 car lengths of each other prevents such a situation occurring.
The stewards conclude by calling on the FIA to rethink the regulations around repeated standing starts to see if there is a better way of restarting the Grand Prix.
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It’s the way Max just breezes past Lewis like it’s nothing for mepic.twitter.com/qPxRN49ARa
— Matt³³⁺¹⁶ | spring break (@FM1_3316) April 2, 2023
I don’t think the approach speeds into T6 reach 322 kph or even exceed 300.
However, Lewis could’ve caused a chain-reaction collision by driving unnecessarily slowly behind the SC, like in the 2007 Japanese GP.