FIA reaches verdict on Haas protest

Nico Hulkenberg was on course for the first podium in his Formula 1 career but was denied it due to a last lap decision.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has been left feeling frustrated by the ending of the Australian Grand Prix, a race plagued by red flags and safety cars.

The American-owned team launched a protest after officials denied Haas a spot on the podium following a chaotic red flag restart that saw both Alpines crash each other out of the race.

With a third red flag waved and one lap remaining, after a long period of deliberation, the stewards reverted to the starting order of the second red flag restart for the final, non-racing lap behind the safety car.

While Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg took home six points after the race, a good result for the team, he could have finished in fourth place if the finishing order had reflected the overtakes he completed after the second restart.

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With Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz demoted from third to P12 with a five second penalty for causing a collision, Hulkenberg could have picked up the first podium of his career. 

That success would’ve ended Hulkenberg’s unfortunate run, which has earned him the record of most Formula 1 starts without a podium.

If the FIA had sided with Haas, Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda would’ve all benefited from being ranked higher at the chequered flag. 

The FIA dismissed a protest from Haas over the finishing order, arguing that cars had not completed the first sector, so they had to revert to the previous starting order. 

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As Hulkenberg’s teammate Kevin Magnussen crashed out of the race earlier in the session, Haas sits in seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, far behind the leading Red Bull team.

With Alfa Romeo close behind Haas in the title fight, the American team could find itself struggling to remain in seventh. 

Last season, Haas finished in eighth place in the Constructors’ fight with just 37 points, only two ahead of ninth placed AlphaTauri.