FIA stewards will propose changes to the formation lap procedure ahead of restarts after a multi-racer near-collision at the Australian Grand Prix.
In the first stoppage during the warm-up lap, there was congestion before turn six, which forced Kevin Magnussen into the excursion area to avoid a crash. The management of the race examined the events and considered the possible responsibility of the individual racer, but they did not decide on any measures, although the situation was allegedly caused unintentionally by George Russell, who was late in exiting the garages and thus created a larger gap between the racers on the track. Last in line, Kevin Magnussen had just driven out of the garages when the leader Lewis Hamilton went through the seventh corner.
The Mercedes driver took over the lead of the column in the sixth corner, when the safety car turned off its lights and announced a pit stop. Hamilton suddenly slowed sharply, while behind Russell rushed to catch the junction of the column and then slowed sharply before turn six, where visibility was reduced due to the guardrail, creating a dangerous situation when the racers at 200km/h catch up with slow racing cars. Thus, Zhou almost collided with Perez, Sargeant almost flew off the track while avoiding a collision with Bottas, and Magnussen, as the last, went off the track.
The commissioners have judged that none of the racers, including Russell, are to blame, but they will propose a change in the rules. “Part of the problem is the rule that allows the lead driver to dictate the pace in the formation lap, just like in a flying start. This work might need to be considered.”
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