What are the F1 red flag regulations after chaotic Australian GP

The 2023 Australian Grand Prix was the first race to feature three red flags, so what are the rules in Formula 1 when a race is stopped


The 2023 Australian Grand Prix was chaotic to say the least as three red flags left everyone wondering how the race would pan out and what the restart rules were.

Red flags in Formula 1 are generally used for poor weather, huge crashes, barrier damage or debris that will take too many laps to clear up under the safety car.

At the Australian GP, it was a case of the latter factor, as well as the number of cars off the road on the final restart.

Max Verstappen was not pleased about the race being red flagged for a second time when Kevin Magnussen caught the wall at Turn 2 and his tyre flew off. However, he held on to win the race, albeit all the talk will be about the red flags.

F1 red flag regulations

The red flag regulations have changed over the years in F1 but the current rules state you can make changes when returning to the pit lane, so tyres can be changed and any parts such as front wings.

For an initial red flag in the middle of the race, the order is whatever the order of the Grand Prix is, which is what happened with the first stoppage in Melbourne.

A 10-minute warning is given to the teams ahead of the restart, so the drivers have plenty of time to get ready.

Red flag restart regulations

From 2002 to 2016, a rolling start was used to restart the Grand Prix but this was changed in 2017, so there was the option of a standing start restart.

This first happened at the 2020 Italian GP, when Pierre Gasly took a shock win, although the 2019 German GP also saw a standing start after a delayed start due to weather. However, the race was not actually red flagged.

“Signals will be shown ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, one minute and fifteen
seconds before the resumption and each of these will be accompanied by an audible
warning,” reads article 58 in the F1 sporting regulations.

“When the five minute signal is shown all cars must have their wheels fitted. Tyre
blankets must also be disconnected from any power supply at this time and must not be
reconnected during the start procedure, unless the delayed start signal is shown.

“After this signal wheels may only be removed if the car has been moved out of the fast
lane or during a further suspension.”

Formula One – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 6, 2020 AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly celebrates winning the Italian Grand Prix on the podium Pool via REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

What happened at the 2023 Australian GP?

The reason for the mayhem at the end of the Australian GP was because a red flag was called with three laps to go and another red flag was needed due to the chaos of multiple cars going off including Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant.

F1‘s regulations state if the cars go past the first sector, then the order from the restart is taken, not the current order of the race.

But, if the drivers do go beyond Sector 1 then the order is the standings of the race at that timing line.

Even though, there was just one lap left and no more green flag racing could be completed, the FIA decided the cars had to complete the final lap anyway.

This meant the Alpine pair and those who couldn’t take to the restart lost out.

Why was there so much controversy?

It was the necessity for the red flags that were questioned by some drivers, with some feeling the debris could have been cleared under the safety car.

The 2021 Azerbaijan GP had a standing start restart after a red flag with two laps remaining, so it was not unprecedented for the late restarts in Melbourne. However, the 2022 Italian GP finished behind the safety car, which has happened 10 times in F1.

“Of course, very happy to win the race,” said Verstappen. “But I think the race itself towards the end was a bit of a bit of a mess with all the calls.

“I don’t think we needed that second red flag, that could have been done with a virtual safety car, or a safety car at worst. It left a lot of drivers confused about why it needed a red flag.”

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiuhttps://total-motorsport.com/author/nigel-chiu/
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
- Advertisment -


Jake Dennis of Andretti at the 2024 Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Dennis: Formula E brings something different, F1 is just a procession

Jake Dennis believes Formula E's peloton style of racing brings something different to motorsport in an era where Formula...
Pascal Wehrlein in action during the 2024 Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Wehrlein Secures Dramatic Misano E-Prix Win After Rowland Runs Out of Energy

In a stunning turn of events at the 2024 Misano E-Prix, Pascal Wehrlein seized a dramatic victory, capitalising on...
Pascal Wehrlein at the 2024 Misano E-Prix | Porsche Formula E Team

Results for Misano E-Prix 2024 Formula E Round 7

A dramatic end to Formula E Round 7 at the 2024 Misano E-Prix saw leader Oliver Rowland run out...
Oliver Rowland, Sebastien Buemi and Sam Bird battle at the Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E LIVE: Misano E-Prix 2024 – Wehrlein wins on dramatic last lap

Welcome to this Total Motorsport Live Blog for Round 7 of the 2024 Formula E World Championship, where history is set...
William Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle celebrate victory in Martinsville in 2024 | NASCAR

How often are NASCAR Cup Series podium sweeps?

It almost feels too good to be true. Hendrick Motorsports winning on the 40-year anniversary of their first ever...
Lewis Hamilton faces the media at the 2024 Japanese GP | Jiri Krenek / Mercedes F1 team

Lewis Hamilton discusses the challenge of transitioning to Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he's not sure how to navigate the transition from Mercedes to Ferrari as it...
Antonio Felix da Costa looks on ahead of the 2024 Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Antonio Felix da Costa stripped of Misano E-Prix victory

Antonio Felix Da Costa of Porsche has been disqualified from the inaugural Misano E-Prix, resulting in his loss of...
Mitch Evans during the 2024 Misano E-Prix | Jaguar Formula E Team / LAT Images

Mitch Evans brands Max Gunther driving ‘dirty’ and ‘ridiculous’

Mitch Evans has hit out at Maximilian Gunther's driving in the first 2024 Misano E-Prix after the pair battled...
Mitch Evans leads the field in the first 2024 Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Is Formula E ‘crazy’ peloton-style racing too dangerous?

If you turned on the TV and watched the first 2024 Misano E-Prix, you would have seen Formula E...
Antonio Felix da Costa celebrates victory after the first 2024 Misano E-Prix | Formula E

Da Costa triumphs for Porsche in chaotic Misano E-Prix

Antonio Felix Da Costa triumphed in an electrifying race for Round 6 of the Misano E-Prix, marking his first...
- Advertisment -