Red Bull called out over ‘weird reaction’ to red flag

Sunday's Australian Grand Prix saw three standing starts, with the final one having occurred with two laps remaining.

Former Ferrari engineer Ernest Knoors has questioned Red Bull’s “weird reaction” to the second red flag at the Australian Grand Prix, after Kevin Magnussen crashed at Turn Two with five laps to go.

Race winner Max Verstappen, team principal Christian Horner, and advisor Dr Helmut Marko were all surprised by the late red flag, with Horner in particular having labelled it as a “massive variable that becomes a bit of a lottery”.

The Austrians were seemingly unhappy for there to have been a standing start with just two laps to go, something which did lead to several crashes at the opening two corners.

Interestingly, the incident is very similar to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to claim his maiden title, after a Safety Car was brought in a lap early.

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On that day in 2021, Red Bull encouraged former race director Michael Masi to end the Safety Car before the final lap, whilst in Melbourne on Sunday the Milton Keynes-based team believed the race should’ve ended behind the Safety Car.

Knoors views this as being “a bit of a weird reaction” from Red Bull given the similarities in the timing of the two events, with the former engineer believing the FIA made the “right decision” to red flag the race.

“I think it’s a bit of a weird reaction,” Knoors told

“We all know what happened in 2021. The end of the season where the race was not neutralised by a red flag, but by a Safety Car. Some drivers really got a big advantage from that.

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“Then it was said: ‘Yes, but we have to make sure that the race always ends under racing conditions, not under the Safety Car.’

“Then we also had the race in Monza last year, where the race also ended under a Safety Car in the final phase.

“And now Race Control actually does what you would expect, they neutralise the race.

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“Everyone gets the chance to get new tyres, even if your tyres are damaged by all the rubbish that was on the track because of Magnussen’s accident, you can just get new tyres.

“You restart. Everyone has the same chances and then that’s not good enough either.

“I think in that sense that Race Control has made the right decision. But this circuit is already very peculiar because of the first two corners, which makes it difficult to do a start without disturbances, without accidents.

“That will play tricks on you. If you have to do that twice, you also have more chances of accidents.”