Drivers call for more effective resolution in cases of gaining an unfair advantage as Magnussen F1 penalty drama “sets a very risky precedent”

Photo credit: MoneyGram Haas F1 Team
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Kevin Magnussen has found himself in hot water recently, with a potential race ban being discussed after just six rounds.

Magnussen engaged in a heated wheel-to-wheel battle with Lewis Hamilton in Miami’s Sprint, picking up 35 seconds worth of penalties, mainly for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Afterwards, Magnussen conceded that the penalties were deserved, but maintained that he had to resort to such tactics for the team’s benefit.

Hamilton was surprisingly complimentary of the Danish driver, even going as far as saying he found Magnussen’s honesty refreshing

Magnussen would go on to collect even more penalties in Sunday’s race, his Miami race weekend culminating in a collision with Williams’ Logan Sargeant. His controversial tactics have become a major talking point in the paddock, with the Dane’s fellow drivers being asked to give their thoughts on the situation. 

In the McLaren camp, both Andrea Stella and Oscar Piastri have criticised Magnussen’s actions.

Piastri was vocal about imposing harsher penalties to discourage other drivers from resorting to similar moves. 

“We discussed that with the stewards and the FIA quite a bit about, you know, what happens if you go off the track and gain an advantage, and I think there’s certain scenarios where giving the position back is very difficult,” he said in Miami.

“Say you overtake somebody and then if it’s a 50-50 and the FIA ask you to give it back, but they’ve then dropped behind more people, is it still fair or not? But I think in that situation, clearly, all those problems would be fixed if the FIA said you need to give the position back, and if you don’t, it’s a drive-through—or just get him out of the way somehow.

“If you know you’re going to face a drive-through, you’re going to give the position back,” he reasoned. “So I think we should be harsher on that.

“I think the fact that it’s not the first time that it’s happened, I mean, irrespective that it’s the same team, but the fact that it’s not the first time and the driver getting penalties is openly admitting he deserves the penalties and did it for the team…to me that’s wrong.”

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

“It obviously doesn’t set a very good precedent for everyone,” Piastri continued.

“I think getting penalties and saying, ‘well, you know, it was a bit 50-50’ or ‘I got hard done by’ is one thing, but getting that many penalties and saying, ‘yeah, I deserve them all’, I feel like that’s pretty average. And it’s just, yeah, just not… It sets a very risky precedent that I think should probably be policed a bit harsher.

“If it’s at the FIA’s discretion of whether you need to give it back or not, if they then tell you five laps later because they’re looking at a million things and that person that you gained the advantage on is now three cars behind you instead of right behind you, you’re going to feel pretty hard done by. 

“But I think just knowing that if you pass somebody off the track or don’t make the move stick on the track, knowing that if you don’t give it back, there’s a drive-through or your race is going to be effectively ruined, I think that will deter a lot of people from doing that kind of stuff.”

On a lighter note, he joked that Magnussen’s tactics added some excitement to Miami’s Sprint: “I think giving K-Max some respect, to be honest, the Sprint would have been pretty boring without him.”

“Lewis said it was fine,” Lando Norris argued, regarding the Hamilton-Magnussen duel.

“I think it’s cruel and it’s tough to take when you’re the other driver, but I think what he did was smart. 

“He did nothing to deserve to get black flagged, everything he did was just to get the penalties that he got, which was just running off and just not giving the position back.”

Both expressed the same sentiment, stating that drivers would prefer FIA retain the authority to mandate giving up positions in such cases, rather than leaving it up to the driver to either voluntarily give up the position or risk receiving a penalty.

“We brought that up several times with the stewards,” Norris said. “That’s, as drivers, what we’ve asked for. But they don’t want to do it. ‘Cause they say it’s up to us.”

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda was also asked about Magnussen’s recent on-track antics. Tsunoda had a race-ending run-in with Magnussen back in China, where he was tagged and spun by the Haas driver.

“I don’t know what the scenario was, but I would say maybe kind of organise a stricter penalty or whatever,” he said. 

“I think he can’t continue the same thing, keep taking out other cars, which is, you know, it’s hard to crash. For them, it’s a massive loss, right? It’s a loss of the money and also points. Something to look at for sure.”

Valtteri Bottas also shared his thoughts, saying, “There’s pretty clear rules for the racing and I’ve never had an issue in following the rules. I mean, it’s quite straightforward, so I think it’s up to the drivers if they want to do it or not.”

However, he agreed that it would be easier if the decision was taken out of the drivers’ hands. 

“That would make it easier. If they say, ‘yeah, you need to give it back within a lap or otherwise it’s a penalty’, I think that would make things easier.”

Asked if the subject would be broached ahead of the next race, Bottas said, “It will be a discussion, for sure.”