Alpine boss reacts to Australia controversy

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon suffered a race ending incident as the Frenchmen collided after the second red flag restart.

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has defended the FIA’s handling of the Australian Grand Prix, which saw the most red flags in a single race.

The first incident was caused by the Williams of Alex Albon spinning into the barrier, while the second occurred when the Haas of Kevin Magnussen touched the wall, sending debris flying around the track.

The third incident, moments after the second restart, saw both Alpines crash into one another, as Pierre Gasly rejoined the circuit in front of his teammate, resulting in a race-ending moment for the duo.

“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 told Autosport.

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

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

“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.

“For sure, we definitely pushed because we would have been up there. Safety car line two was before Turn 1, so Pierre probably would have been in fourth or something

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

Szafnauer didn’t blame one particular driver for the crash, although Ocon revealed after the race that Gasly had apologised swiftly for costing the duo a shot at a double points finish.

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“Well, they each apologised, so they each thought they played a role in it,” he explained 

“It was just chaos out there; had Pierre not gone wide in Turn 1 – but a lot of people did – then I think he would have been further up the road,” he added.

Gasly escaped a potential race ban over the incident with the FIA choosing to not penalise him over the crash.

It’s not clear why the FIA felt the incident didn’t deserve any penalty points, with some suggesting he got away with the crash as it was with his teammate, rather than another driver.