Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Suzuka, 2018

Magnussen’s ‘block’ on Leclerc ruled legal because it wasn’t a reaction

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said he was surprised Kevin Magnussen’s defensive move on him during the Japanese Grand Prix was allowed.

The pair collided on the start/finish straight when Magnussen moved in front of Leclerc on the straight. The contact left Magnussen with a left-rear puncture and the subsequent damage forced him out of the race.

Leclerc said he thought such moves had been outlawed following a similar incident between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen in the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix.

“For me there was a similar situation with Kimi or Max one or two years ago in Spa where Max moved at the really last moment and everyone really agreed that it was dangerous really to do that and it was not allowed anymore,” he said.

“Strangely it has been expected today. I will have to get some response on that to just know what I can do in the car.”

However according to FIA race director Charlie Whiting the evidence seen by the stewards indicated Magnussen’s move was not a reaction to Leclerc pulling out to overtake him.

“If you analyse it very, very carefully what you see is two cars coming down with Kevin not moving and then Charles catches, catches, catches.

He decides to go to the right at exactly the same time – on the video there’s one frame difference and then Kevin moves. So I think it’s impossible to say that Kevin blocked him, it was just that he’d made the decision that he was going to go right fractionally after Charles had.

“You have to look at it quite a few times and analyse it in a little the detail to see that but I think it was just unfortunate and that’s what the stewards felt.”

The stewards ruled the collision was a racing incident and took no action against either driver.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 56 comments on “Magnussen’s ‘block’ on Leclerc ruled legal because it wasn’t a reaction”

    1. So Magnussen threw a feint left then right. Sure he didn’t know that Leclerc had moved right, but his move did anticipate that Leclerc would – that was the point of Magnussen’s feint left then block right. So did he give Leclerc enough time to see what he was doing and not make the move right? No. That’s not a raving incident, it’s Magnussen driving dangerously. Leclerc was correct.

      1. Or rather *racing* incident :)

      2. Of course Magnussen was ‘reacting’.
        As Whiting said: LeClerc was ‘catching, catching, catching’.
        Magnussen was ‘reacting’ to that; he knew there was no space on the left, and LeClerc is good but he cannot fly over Magnussen.

        1. That’s what I meant by anticipating. He knew Leclerc was close, veered left, knowing that would leave Leclerc the option to go right, then immediately (without knowing what Leclerc had actually done – according to Whiting and the stewards) veered right. It’s like Magnussen wanted to be in both spaces at once – and Leclerc in neither! Given, as you imply, Leclerc couldn’t simply vanish, then either Magnussen had to hope he wouldn’t fall for his dummy left and would pass on the left anyhow, or they’d end up colliding. It was a nonsense move.

          1. Leclerc was heading staright for Mag’s wing before he moved..And he only moved once! Lerclerc sill has ALOT to learn.. good thing Ferrari gave him 4 years to catch up

          2. What should he do. Park the car and let him pass.

        1. What angers me is that they’re encouraging MAG to keep doing this. Two races in a row where he is moving under breaking. I think LeClerc put it brilliantly: Mag is, and always will be, a problem.

          I can’t believe MAG has a drive next year and OCO doesn’t. I don’t think it’s a good look for F1 to have the politics that allows this to happen. I don’t think there’s much to be done about paid drivers with the money in the sport, but why this???

          1. But there was no braking at this point, as both were on full throttle…
            …and secondly, how long time/meters should an anticipation type defensive move take?

      3. Well what you Also can see is Leclerc has not pulled completely out from behind Magnussen.
        Since he hasn’t done that, Then it can’t really be seen as an overtake attempt from Leclerc.

        If Leclerc had moved enogh earlier, so he was free, Them Magnussen would likely had been penalized.

      4. Magnussen seems to be involved in many race mg incidents and seems to get away with it. I think the he’s dangerous. I can’t understand how he keeps getting away with it.

      5. The difference a experienced driver like kimi was able to avoid contact.

      6. My last raving incident was a long time ago but I recall it with fondness.

    2. Um, if I remember correctly it looked on LeClerc’s onboard shot that he did react to Charles going right. Or, if you want to put it differently, he at least assumed he was going there, because it was the exact moment when you pull out of the tow to make a move, and the inside was the obvious option, he was never going to pull to the outside. I still think Magnussen deserved a time penalty and points on his license.

      1. @fer-no65 I don’t think I’ve seen Leclerc’s onboard view of this at full speed yet, only in slow motion, so I’ll reserve judgement until then.

        1. On the race highlights you can see it clearly wasn’t “one frame” like Whiting claims. Unless the stewards use like 5 Hz monitors or something

          1. It seems part of the issue is that Leclerc made two moves to the right—an initial fade which only brought his car about halfway out from behind Magnussen, followed by a second move to actually try to overtake him. It’s that second move that Whiting seems to be referring to that Magnussen moved one frame before, but he was clearly reacting to Leclerc’s first move.

            Having said that, blocking is not illegal in F1, for better or worse, so it’s 50/50 to me. Magnussen left well more than one car length on the right side of the track, so it’s not like he ran him into the wall. I don’t think Leclerc was in the wrong either, but he essentially telegraphed his move well before he actually committed to it with his initial fade, so it’s a bit clumsy not to anticipate Magnussen reacting to it.

            1. Like organizers in sports around the world, Charlie is going to support whatever the stewards say. It’s like watching the NFL in American football where the officials get an obviously wrong decision and the NFL circles the wagons and tells us all that we didn’t see what we are looking at on film LOL .

              Charlie’s words here mean less than nothing to me.

            2. Agree 100%

      2. It seems to me that much of the second guessing of the race stewards decisions on this site have a lot to do with the dislike of a particular driver. I’m no particular fan of Kevin Magnussen, but if Whiting says that the incident was examined very carefully, frame by frame, and was deemed legal (if unfortunate), I’m willing to accept that and move on.

        1. @schooner I respect Whiting, but stewarding it’s outside his control anyway, he’s just reporting what they saw and I think they got it wrong, but of course, I don’t have all their tools at my disposal, so I’m just an armchair expert trying to give an opinion :P

    3. Magnussen is just an idiot, he even does it in practise

    4. I’m perplexed. FIA now mind readers.
      Magnussens onboard shows he looks in the mirror before the block.

      1. Of course Magnussen looks in the mirrors before he move. Not looking would have been dangerous.

        1. I suppose you read the article.

    5. It’s blatantly clear from leclercs on board that they don’t move at the same time even a full speed and it’s deliberate move by magnussen.

      I take it the Haas simulator is the the f12018 game as that’s the sort of moves folk do online all the time lol.

    6. Out of curiosity:
      Anyone know who the stewards were today?

      1. @Mick Nish Shetty, Steve Chopping, Tom Kristensen (the driver steward), and Yasuhiro Yodono.

    7. Charlie is just saying… Let them crash. No biggie. Yet.

    8. This was the dirtiest move i have ever seen on Formula One.
      And Magnussen has a colllection of those moves.
      The one with Gasly on Baku was also filthy. This guy should really be close to a race ban, but instead, is quite confortable with his penalty points.

      1. This was the dirtiest move i have ever seen on Formula One.

        Welcome to the sport. I can see you are brand new and this was your first race… ;-)

      2. You really havnt seen a lot of F1, take a look at Coulthard/Schumacher om Silverstone in British GP 1998 or Schumacher/Hill 1994

    9. I still don’t agree with the Stewards’ decision. It was a carbon copy of the Vettel-Hamilton move in the previous race in Russia as well as the infamous Verstappen-Raikkonen move on the Kemmel straight in 2016, but oh well, the precedent was set little over two years ago.

    10. @jerejj It does seem like they’re countenancing last second blocks and leaving it up to the gods – fate, karma, micro-level non-linear dynamics or whatever you think decides these things – to determine what happens.

    11. Look at the grid markers on the asphalt, Leclerc moves to the right to start his overtake, they drive over 3 grid stalls and then KMag turns right to block the move. How many meters is that, how much time does it take to drive this distance at 310KPH?
      One frame at 60fps is 16.6ms, you can pause the video several times between Leclerc’s move and KMag’s reaction, it’s a lot more than 1 frame, more like > 300ms.

      Stewards refuse to observe reality and choose to read minds instead.

      1. Assuming 310KPH and and 16 meters between each grid row, it’s 48 meters at 86m/s, so a little more than half second between Leclerc’s action and KMag’s reaction.

      2. If Charlie came out and said that the stewards were wrong not to penalise Magnussen, then he be seriously undermining the credibility of the stewards and the whole process of handing out penalties. Charlie’s explanation that it wasn’t a ‘reaction’ is a lie. Why on earth would Magnussen go off the racing line to protect the inside line if it wasn’t a reaction to Leclerc making a move?

        He’s basically trying to cover up for a goof up made by the stewards. What really disappoints me though is that Magnussen will continue to drive like an idiot because of it.

    12. I’m done with Haas and their two erratic drivers. They won’t last long.

      1. In total agreement. Haas should have fired both drivers and find a way to bring Ocon, despite the Mercedes connection. MAG and GRO are both liabilities at this stage.

        1. Exactly dude. Back in Spain, Grosjean’s crash was deliberate because Magnussen clearly wanted total revenge on Gasly.

    13. If the car infront og you are moving to á side you dont expect you are aloud to crach into it and the driver should be punich and is very stupid 😂

    14. the same denominator is always Magnussen. I agree he is stupid.

    15. I know they say the consequences don’t have anything to do with the penalty they award for an action but I don’t believe it. If Leclerc had suffered a dnf as a result of the incident and Magnussen had continued unaffected i’m pretty certain he Mag would have received a penalty. But since Magnussen ruined his own race and Leclerc was able to continue, he got no penalty. Sorry, but I don’t buy their reasoning.

      Also, another bugbear of mine on penalties, the Ver/Rai incident showed once again that the penalties they dish out aren’t doing their job. Ver used an illegal manoeuvre in order to keep Rai behind resulting in a 5 second penalty. Ver then used the rest of that stint to pull out a greater than 5 second gap to Rai to ensure he kept the position after the pitstop, and the penalty cost him nothing. So lesson he and other drivers should take from this – it is worth taking a minor penalty to keep track position, so they should continue defending illegally (or even overtake illegally) as long as they aren’t in danger of a race ban due to points accumulated.

    16. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      7th October 2018, 23:03

      Stewarding was a bit questionable this race. I thought Vettel should have gotten a penalty for the collision with Verstappen, the penalty for Verstappen was harsh but borderline, so I’m willing to accept that, but I don’t understand the penalty points situation. I think Magnussen 100% should have gotten a penalty. I think one of the problems with stewarding is that they never admit when they get something wrong. There have been occasions in the past when they’ve obviously gotten something wrong, today being an example, but instead of saying “sorry, our mistake, we were wrong” they keep trying to justify the penalty (or lack of penalty). I’ve heard football referees plenty of times say, “I thought this was the case but when you take another look at it, it was different.” But by the stewards not doing something like that, it means that wrong decisions keep getting recycled when they compare it to “past incidents”. I don’t think they should continue that practice, simply judge each incident on its own. I also think the stewards should be physically separated from any further information about the race. It seems like quite often they make decisions based on what happened after the incident, such as Verstappen not actually losing any positions, etc, which just shouldn’t happen.

      1. “the penalty for Verstappen was harsh but borderline”

        – Really? He made a mistake, left the track, and then returned to the track in a way that caused a collision. Personally, I felt the penalty was too lenient.

        And I loved what VER said afterwards, “[Kimi] could also have waited for me to come back on to the track.” Seriously? “Oh! Have you made a mistake Max? Well, don’t worry, we’ll just stop and let you rejoin safely. It’s not as though we’re in a *RACE* or anything!!!” Unbelievable.

        “I also think the stewards should be physically separated from any further information about the race.”

        – I agree. In fact, I’ve long thought that the idea should be taken even further. I think the stewards should be locked in a ‘dark room’ and, when an incident occurs, they are passed digitised, 3d footage of the incident. This would allow them to move the camera around to view the incident from any angle to get a perfect view of what happened. Crucially, though, the footage would also be anonymised, with just a black car and a white car. Thus they would have no idea whether they are looking at Championship contenders in 1st & 2nd, or backmarkers in 19th & 20th. Penalties should apply to everyone equally, shouldn’t they? Too often I find myself thinking, “I wonder if they’d have made that decision if the driver involved hadn’t have been (insert your prefered liked/disliked driver here)?”

    17. “He decides to go to the right at exactly the same time”

      What the heck is Charlie Whiting watching? I’ve just watched the on board from Leclerc’s car and it’s nothing like that at all. What’s going on, it’s completely bizarre?

      1. @john-h – Yeah, Leclerc is making the move and then Magnussen reacts to it about a second or so later. Definitely not at the same time and definitely a very dirty move from Magnussen… not as bad as on Gasly in Baku mind you.

    18. The steward Tom Kristensen (a Dane) saves MAG once again (twice this season).
      Also penalizes Alonso for gaining an advantage after Stroll accidentally runs him off the track. Coulthard had a laugh at that one.
      He’s been in the middle of controversies all season. Why is he still a steward?

      1. Well at least the Alonso penalty is not the way you described.
        Alonso is pushed of and leaves the track. He crosses the track with low speed and decides to cross the next corner too. Of course to prevent a slip with his dirty tires. But the second corner should not have been cut.

        1. From what I saw and Coulthatd said he was pushed off the track and shouldn’t have been penalized. Curious as to where you saw the whole incident. In any case a couple of races ago a half dozen drivers cut the first chicane while Alonso held his line and lost positions. No penalties for the guilty. Explain please.

    19. Once again the Stewards will never ever admit mistake, even when it’s plain and clear to see. It’s a broken system and Whiting needs to go.

    20. Mindblowing how some people just put any sense of objectiveness out the window.
      only one at fault here was Leclerc.. two times in this race he smashed up in others, first he torn Magnussen race and latr it was teammate Ericsson. (it doesn’t take a phd to see this)
      The referees also stated the only one we where looking at to give a possible sentence was Leclerc, as the data and values shows that Magnussen didn’t react to Leclerc as there simply was not time, but simply to drivers doing the same move at the same time and it was Leclerc not keeping distance’ so he could break as Magnussen took the air..
      Weird fanbase..if you wanna be salty then do it where it fits in this situation Leclerc as it was him that drive into the other driver and completely destroyed this dude Magnussen race..
      If you in doubt read Charlie comments, as he was told all the values on this incidents and also it was Leclerc that was lucky to not get a penalty.

    21. I’d given him a stop and go penalty. It was clearly intentional and dangerous to block Leclerc at such a late stage.

    22. Driving in circles
      8th October 2018, 10:39

      This once again shows that you need to have the same Stewards at every meeting. Ridiculous not to give Magnussen a penalty

    23. Here we go again with the ‘I think’ and a lot of assumptions. This has to stop. We need a better race control team. Imagine in footbal/soccer the ref saying, yes he shuffled his opponent against the grass, totally missing the ball but I think he made the call for the action slightly before the other guy, so it was just unfortunate. Dear Charlie & stewards, you are supposed to judge the actual event taking place, nothing more. Please read your job description again and while you are at it: there is absolutely no reason for you guys to be proactive. Nothing has to be investigated unless somebody requests you to do so

      1. When I you look at the video, Magnussen turn to the right and after that, leclerc is turning the steering wheel. That observation is not taking into the account the actual line of both drivers before that.

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