The Australian Grand Prix was marred by multiple incidents, with two red flags being brought out during the race. Kevin Magnussen clipped the wall, leading to a second red flag and allowing the field to switch to fresh soft tyres during a stoppage for a third standing start on lap 56 of 58. However, chaos ensued at Turn 1 after the restart, as Fernando Alonso was spun by Carlos Sainz, causing the elimination of both Alpine teammates and a collision with Logan Sargeant and Nyck De Vries. McLaren driver Lando Norris was critical of the Pirelli tyres, citing a lack of grip as a major cause of the incidents.
Norris referred to the stewards’ decision to bring out red flags and standing starts over safety cars, saying that they “don’t know what’s going on inside the car.” He went on to explain that the soft tyres had a temperature of 65 degrees which, despite not being excessively high, provided “literally no grip.” Norris suggested that a lack of grip was why “everyone was going straight on in Turn 1 and locking up,” which in turn caused incidents during the race.
The 23-inch Pirelli tyres, which are used on 18-inch wheel rims, were then criticized by Norris. He stated that the rubber was “terrible” and that a better tyre could lead to better race conditions with fewer incidents. Norris argued that a tyre with more grip would have prevented the chaos that ensued during the race, stating that “it’s just you’re racing and there’s no grip, as simple as that.” In his opinion, a tyre more suitable for Formula 1 was needed, as the current specification felt “pretty terrible” on race day.
Logan Sargeant, who started last on the restart grid, sent Williams driver Nyck De Vries into a spin after locking up into Turn 1. Sargeant denied responsibility, instead blaming the lack of sufficient tyre and brake temperatures. He explained that “when I hit the brake, nothing was up to temp,” leading to an immediate lock-up of both fronts. Sargeant did apologize for the incident, while also acknowledging that the lack of grip on the tyres was a contributing factor.