Albon says drivers “must return the position back” if they overtake off-track like Magnussen at F1 Saudi Arabian GP

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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Alex Albon has voiced concerns about the potential repercussions of Kevin Magnussen’s controversial off-track pass of Yuki Tsunoda during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, branding it as “cheeky” and expressing worries about its potential impact on the sport. 

“I think that was fair,” Albon remarked when questioned about the penalty imposed on Magnussen for his collision with him at turn 4 following the resumption of the race after a Safety Car was required to clear Lance Stroll’s AMR24.

“It happens, a bit of a squeeze. I don’t like how that corner is shaped. It sticks out to you. And I think it’s very misleading. You’ve got to leave more space than you realise, because of how it sticks out at the end there. They could just shave it flat, I think that would be easier. No hard feelings,” he added, pointing out the challenging nature of the corner.

Photo Credit: Williams Racing

However, Albon was discontent with the 10-second penalty for Magnussen’s subsequent off-track overtake of Yuki Tsunoda, describing it as “a bit cheeky.”

He questioned the adequacy of the penalty, stating the Dane could back the pack up to help teammate Nico Hulkenberg get a point by deliberately slowing the pack behind him down in sector 1.

“I mean, you basically guarantee your teammate points for a 10-second penalty. Why wouldn’t you do that everywhere? I don’t think five to 10 seconds is correct. I think it needs to be that you must return the position back, and just leave it like that.”

Albon’s frustration with the situation stems from past encounters where drivers have exploited off-track maneuvers to gain an advantage, evading significant penalties. George Russell did it twice last year at Monza and COTA.

Magnussen’s move of slowing down the pursuing group after the overtake presents a new dimension to this issue, potentially paving the way for similar tactics from other drivers.

“You saw it this weekend,” the Williams driver noted. “I think any team would do the same thing if you sacrifice one driver for guaranteed points.” 

He emphasised the competitive nature of Formula 1, particularly among midfield teams eager to capitalise on every opportunity to score points.

“Maybe the top teams won’t do it. But the midfield teams who need to take points at any opportunity, you would do it every single time. I think you might see more drivers doing it just to guarantee a teammate to have points.”