Every Safety Car deployment at the Australian Grand Prix

There have been 33 Safety Car deployments at the Australian Grand Prix, including Virtual Safety Car periods, with 2023 marking the first time since 2015 that the Safety Car was called out on the opening lap. Here’s a list of every Safety Car period at the Australian Grand Prix!

1999 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 15

The first ever Safety Car appearance at the Australian Grand Prix came as a result of Jacques Villeneuve spinning out after losing his rear wing.

1999 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 22

Having already switched to the spare car because of electrical problems ahead of the race, Alex Zanardi crashed out on Lap 22 of the 1999 Australian Grand Prix, leading to the race’s second Safety Car deployment.

2000 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 8

Pedro de la Rosa’s front suspension failed on the eighth lap of the 2000 Australian Grand Prix and he crashed into a tyre barrier. Eddie Irvine spun trying to avoid the Arrows car, but his Jaguar suffered an engine failure when Irvine attempted to rejoin the race.

2001 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 5

A huge collision between Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, as the BAR collided with the rear of the Williams. This crash resulted in the death of marshal Graham Beveridge. The Safety Car was expected to come in much sooner than it did, after only a couple of laps but ultimately stayed out for 11 laps.

2002 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

The 2002 Australian Grand Prix was the first time that the Safety Car was called out on the opening lap at Albert Park. At the start of the race, Ralf Schumacher collided with the rear of polesitter Rubens Barrichello at Turn 1 and flew into the gravel trap. Both drivers were out of the race. In the ensuing chaos behind, a further six cars were eliminated from the race.

2002 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 9

Jarno Trulli lost control of his car just after the opening chicane after running over oil and broke his suspension in a collision with the barrier. His car stopped in the centre of the track, meaning that the Safety Car was deployed.

2003 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 9

Just after Rubens Barrichello made contact with the wall and crashed out at Turn 5, Ralph Firman suffered a similar fate at Turn 3 while running in eighth place. This led to the deployment of the Safety Car.

2003 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 17

While running sixth at his home race, Mark Webber suffered a rear suspension failure and parked his car at the side of the track.

2006 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

A collision at the first turn saw Felipe Massa eliminated when he was squeezed between Christian Klien and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg retired too. There was another collision further round the lap between David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli.

2006 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 7

A collision a few laps earlier for Christian Klien had left debris across the circuit. The Safety Car was called out while the debris was cleared away.

2006 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 34

Michael Schumacher hit the barriers after riding over the grass at the final corner, eliminating himself from sixth place and leading to the third Safety Car deployment in the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

The F1 Safety Car at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. Image: Steve, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

2008 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

Five cars were eliminated in a first lap crash at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. Of the five, Sebastian Vettel and Giancarlo Fisichella both stopped at Turn 1. The other three cars made it back to the pits, but all three retired from the race.

2008 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 26

A collision between Felipe Massa and David Coulthard at Turn 1 led to a second Safety Car deployment in the 2008 Australian Grand Prix. Coulthard was immediately out of the race, while Massa retired four laps later.

2008 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 44

The Safety Car emerged for a third time in the 2008 Australian Grand Prix when Timo Glock suffered a sizeable shunt. The Toyota driver got airborne after running over a bump in the run off area.

2009 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 18

Kazuki Nakajima crashed between Turns 3 and 4, leading to the Safety Car being deployed.

2009 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 56

In the closing stages of the 2009 Australian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica collided whilst fighting over second place. Both crashed out on their own as a result of their damage a few corners later. The race ended under Safety Car conditions.

2010 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

Three drivers were eliminated in a hefty shunt on the opening lap of the 2010 Australian Grand Prix, which saw Kamui Kobayashi collide into the side of Nico Hulkenberg and Sebastien Buemi. The Safety Car was called as a result.

2012 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 36

Vitaly Petrov retired with mechanical issues, pulling off on the main straight. The Safety Car was called while the car was removed from the side of the track.

2014 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 12

Valtteri Bottas scraped the wall and was able to continue to pit. However, debris from his wheel was left on the track, which had to be cleared away under Safety Car conditions.

2015 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

2015 is the last time that the Safety Car was called out on the opening lap of the Australian Grand Prix. Pastor Maldonado crashed out at the first corner following contact with a Sauber.

2016 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 17

A sizeable collision between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez. Alonso collided with the rear of the Haas, sending the McLaren barrel rolling into the gravel trap at Turn 3. After a few laps behind the Safety Car, the red flag was shown to deal with the incident.

2016 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 19

After the red flag period, the Safety Car led the drivers around to the grid at the restart of the 2016 Australian Grand Prix.

2018 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 26

A bizarre incident saw both Haas cars come to a halt after their wheels were not fitted correctly in pit stops. Kevin Magnussen stopped first and his car was cleared away under yellow flag conditions. Romain Grosjean stopped two laps later, this time with a VSC needed to clear the car away. That then became a full Safety Car period.

2022 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 3

It was a bad day in Melbourne in 2022 for Carlos Sainz, who spun into the gravel in the opening stages of the race. His car beached, the VSC was called to deal with the incident before the full Safety Car was deployed.

2022 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 23

Sebastian Vettel crashed at the exit of Turn 4, seeing the Safety Car deployed for the second time in the race.

2022 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 39

The VSC made a second appearance in the 2022 Australian Grand Prix when Max Verstappen pulled to the side of the track at Turn 1 following a fuel leak.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 1

Charles Leclerc spun out of the race on Lap 1 of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the first Safety Car for the first time in an eventful race.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 7

On Lap 7 of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, Alex Albon – who had been running in an impressive sixth place for Williams – crashed out of the race leaving debris and gravel across the track. After a lap behind the Safety Car, the red flag was shown and the race was stopped.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 9

After the red flag period, the Safety Car led the drivers back around to the grid for a standing restart at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 18

George Russell comes to a stop on the start/finish straight with a smoking engine as the result of a power unit failure. He stopped at the end of the pit lane, prompting a Virtual Safety Car period.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 54

Kevin Magnussen hit the wall and sheds a tyre carcass from his car. After a single lap behind the Safety Car, the red flag was shown for a second time in the race.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 56

The Safety Car leads the drivers around to the grid for the third standing start of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix.

2023 Australian Grand Prix, Lap 58

There was no Safety Car as a result of the first corner carnage at the third start of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, with the race director instead opting for an immediate red flag.

Instead, the Safety Car led the cars around for one final lap when the race resumed. The Safety Car peeled into the pit lane at the end of Lap 58 for the drivers to complete a rolling restart – where they were not allowed to overtake – towards the chequered flag.

VSC board graphic: Pitlane02, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

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