Alpine boss breaks silence on calls for F1 rule change

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon both crashed out of the points on the penultimate lap of the Australian GP.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes Formula 1’s current race finish rules are “fine as they are”, despite the recent Australian Grand Prix having ended in chaotic circumstances.

The closing laps at the Albert Park Circuit were certainly eventful, with two red flags having been flown in the final four laps.

A red flag was initially flown after Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily at Turn Two, resulting in a standing start with just two laps remaining.

The standing start resulted in carnage at the opening two corners, where several drivers were involved in incidents.

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Two of those drivers were Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, who crashed into each other, causing significant damage to Alpine.

Alpine had been on-track for a double-points finish, something which went up in smoke following the collision.

Another red flag was flown after Gasly’s and Ocon’s crash, before the final lap of the race was completed behind the Safety Car.

Given that several incidents took place on the penultimate lap, there were several calls directed at the FIA to change their rules; however, Szafnauer doesn’t believe anything needs changing, despite the fact the restart cost his team a huge-points haul.

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“In this situation if you say: ‘Okay, well, let’s change the rules, because it would have helped’, there will be other situations where the opposite happens,” Szafnauer said.

“The rules are what they are, and whatever they are, you can’t change them in race.

“After the season, if you look back at it, it will be 50-50 whether that’s good or bad, because we will have so many different scenarios where at one time it helps and the other time it doesn’t.

“So, I think the rules are fine as they are.

“My true belief is that we can have these scenarios… you’ve got to set the rules at the beginning and then stick to them.

“Now if we want to look at them afterwards that’s fine too, let the sporting directors look at it.

“If we’re going to change the rules, I would change it to a 55-lap race. That’s what I would do,” joked Szafnauer, with both of his cars having been in the top 10 at that point.

Whilst Szafnauer doesn’t see any issues with the rules, the Alpine boss did ask the governing body to reinstate both of his drivers; however, both were eliminated from the race.

“For sure, we definitely pushed because we would have been up there,” Szafnauer admitted.

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“Safety car line two was before Turn 1, so Pierre probably would have been in fourth or something.

“Yeah, for sure we asked them to do that. We were at that point unsure of what was going to happen.

“But I think they made the right decision. Those are the rules, so you’ve got to follow the rules.”