Haas protest of Australian GP result rejected

Haas protested the result of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix after Nico Hulkenberg was denied a first podium following an FIA decision to put the results back a lap

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After Haas were summoned to the stewards for protesting the result of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, the FIA dismissed the case from the US F1 team.

The controversial race was stopped twice to allow the marshals to clean up the track after pair of on-track incidents involving Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen.

With five laps left, the race was restarted for a second time culminating in a multi-car pileup which eliminated both Alpines and Carlos Sainz’s pick up a five-second penalty for contact with Fernando Alonso.

Amidst all the chaos, Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg had spring-boarded himself up to fourth and with Sainz’s penalty, the German, who had never been on the podium F1, was suddenly in third.

But with the results being put back a lap, Hulkenberg was demoted back to seventh, enraging Haas, who protested the result a few after the race’s conclusion.

Lewis Hamilton ahead of Max Verstappen at the Australian Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 team

FIA decision

Haas had questioned the legitimacy of the order of the grid upon the race restart after Red Flag event on Lap 57/58 rather than the classification itself. 

Art. 57.3 of the F1 Sporting Regulation 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…” 

The race was resumed after another Red Flag incident. Very shortly thereafter, there was a further Red Flag incident within the first two corners of the resumed race and Race Control had to determine what the order of the grid ought to be for the next restart based on Art. 57.3.

Race Control determined that the last point at which it was possible to the determine the position of all cars was when the last grid was formed. 

Given that Race Control and the Race Director needed to be make a prompt decision, the stewards decided that the circumstances in determining the grid order were appropriate and dismissed the protest.  

Circuit organisers in trouble for track invasion

Haas was joined in the stewards’ office by the Australian Grand Prix Organisation after a track invasion just as Max Verstappen led the field over the start and finish straight. 

Following the invasion, a red flag was thrown despite the race ending with over 131,000 fans invading the circuit to join in with the post-race celebrations.

It marks the second season where an F1 race had been invaded before the race’s conclusion as six Just Stop Oil members stopped the 2022 British GP after sitting down on the Wellington straight.

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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