3 teams Formula 1 completely screwed over in Melbourne

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) /
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Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Formula 1
Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Formula 1 (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Three teams Formula 1 screwed over: No. 3 – Alpine

Let’s get back to the basics first. Formula 1 made the decision to effectively revert to the order before the final restart took place, and that decision was made because the field did not complete the entire first sector before the red flag flew on lap 57 of 58 around the 14-turn, 3.28-mile (5.279-kilometer) course.

Fair enough (though that may even be generous).

For example, instead of Aston Martin finishing outside of the points completely due to the disastrous restart their drivers experienced, Fernando Alonso finished in third place, marking his third straight podium finish. Teammate Lance Stroll finished in fourth.

However, the Alpine drivers were not allowed to retain their positions prior to the last-lap parade lap behind Bernd Maylander’s safety car.

Before the restart, Pierre Gasly had been having a solid run in fifth place, with Esteban Ocon set to bring an additional point to the team in 10th (fourth and ninth with Sainz penalty). Instead, they finished scoreless.

If the wreck technically “never happened” and the order was reverted to pre-restart, why were the Alpine pair the only two drivers not scored appropriately? Yes, the fact that their cars could not continue was obvious after they collided and sustained massive damage, but that can only be used to justify this decision to a very slim extent.

There was no need for the race to continue at that point, as there was one lap — a guaranteed safety car lap — left, and everybody was already stopped and in the pits. Having reset the order to what it was on lap 57, that should have been the finishing order. The French duo should have been scored in fifth and 10th place.

Instead, the rest of the field did a parade lap without them, and the team scored no points, with neither driver technically finishing the race (despite having been running in the top five and the top 10 when scoring was, in fact, stopped).

To add to that, the argument that we needed to run the full race distance was silly at this stage in the race. Sure, if a safety car were to come out with one lap (or a few laps) remaining, you would finish the race under yellow (and not just bring everyone into the pits beforehand).

But under the red flag, the cars were all stopped anyway, and the one lap remaining was going to be a safety car lap. The race was neutralized and effectively over. And no, you don’t need a full race distance for full points to be scored. The race had long been past the 75% mark, at which point 25 points were guaranteed for the winner. Again, the race was over.

So David Croft saying, verbatim, “there’s no reason for the race not to resume”, is somewhat mind blowing. There was one lap remaining that was going to be under caution. To most everybody else, there was no reason for the race to resume.

Of course, many outside the UK have drawn a certain conclusion as to what those in the Sky Sports broadcast booth were probably hoping for. We’ll leave that one to your imagination.

Separately, can you imagine the fallout had Lewis Hamilton passed Max Verstappen on that restart, only for the order to be reverted? Yikes.