Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

RB will complain to FIA over Magnussen’s “unsportsmanlike” go-slow tactics

Formula 1

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RB accused Kevin Magnussen of “unsportsmanlike” tactics in today’s race and intend to take the matter up with the FIA.

The team believe Magnussen deliberately went off the track to maintain his position ahead of Yuki Tsunoda and others, then held up a train of cars to help his team mate.

Magnussen was given a 10-second penalty for going off the track and gaining an advantage. He also collected the same penalty again for colliding with Alexander Albon.

RB say that prompted Haas to interfere with Tsunoda’s race. “Yuki was fighting for what could have been a P10 finish,” said team principal Laurent Mekies. “He was then passed by Magnussen, who cut the track to do so and then slowed down the whole pack to let his team mate open a gap to pit in front of all of us.

“It made the penalty imposed on Magnussen meaningless, as it destroyed Yuki’s race.”

The team’s racing director Alan Permane said Haas’ tactics were “a little difficult to take” and RB want the FIA to ensure they are not repeated.

“Magnussen drove off the track to deliberately put himself in front of Yuki and then slowed him down by up to two seconds a lap, which allowed Hulkenberg, who hadn’t stopped yet, to create a gap and of course pit in front of all the cars behind,” he said.

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“That, to me, doesn’t seem correct and is the very definition of unsportsmanlike behaviour. I’m sure we and other teams will talk to the FIA about it for future races.”

Haas team principal Ayao Komatsu praised the tactics, which helped Hulkenberg score their first point of the season.

“Today was an amazing team effort and I’m so happy that it was from great teamwork,” he said. “We were fighting for P10 – one point – but against eight other drivers, so everything had to be perfect to take the opportunity.

“Today, Kevin got two penalties, but once we realised he was out of points contention, we made a great call and Kev drove fantastically to hold those guys back while setting a target lap time, and Nico drove faultlessly. It was a huge team effort, congratulations to everyone.”

Alexander Albon, another of the drivers who was caught behind Magnussen, said “Haas did a great job with strategy using Kevin to hold up the group, which was very smart.”

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63 comments on “RB will complain to FIA over Magnussen’s “unsportsmanlike” go-slow tactics”

  1. RB got Tsunodad? lol

  2. Ulrik Kaul Pedersen
    9th March 2024, 22:46

    This is just the story of the sour grapes from RB.
    If they could, they could just have overtaken KMAG, but none of them where able to do just that.
    Come again Permane!

    1. Bad logic – you can apply this to KMag too since he divebombed Tsunoda to get the position in the first place. If he could, he could have just overtaken Tsunoda legally, but he wasn’t able to do that. Right?

    2. Actually Magnussen crashed into Albon then overtook Yuki off the track. Always one for rough behaviour on track. Hardly something to be proud of

    3. I agree. The real issue here is the venue/track layout. But within that environment it seems a reasonable tactic.

      1. The real issue here is the venue/track layout. But within that environment it seems a reasonable tactic.

        If the FIA does nothing about it, this can be used at the Monaco Grand Prix. Just cut the Nouvelle Chicane to get ahead and then stay ahead to help your teammate. The ones you’ve overtaken there cannot repeat the same maneuver at the same place to get their position back if, unlike you, a 10-sec penalty hurts them.

        1. It has been applied at Monaco.

  3. It was amusing how, due to those from 13th back being lapped, Magnussen finished 12th anyway and only lost out to one car, Albon. That might be another future tactic for someone with a time penalty, to hold up other cars so the leader catches and passes them on the final lap, but don’t get out the way yourself.

    1. Wow, when I initially saw the result I thought it was in error and the 20s had not been added yet. Now double-checked on the official F1 website and you are right, Mag is classified 12th! That seems to be a loophole in the regulations to be reviewed and closed right away. Or am I missing something and the regulations are like that for a reason?

      1. If you’re lapped, the race is over when the winner finishes. If you’re not lapped, you can just continue on. So in the end Magnussen essentially ended up lapping everyone behind him because he could continue to race for the remainder of his lap. It’s not really a loophole as such, it’s just how lapping plays out.

        Another reason to go back to proper drive-through penalties. This gamesmanship with time penalties is just silly.

        1. Thank you for the explanation, makes sense. How in so many years of watching I’ve never noticed a similar situation play out?! Funny enough, if Albon was also lapped, which Mag could have probably made happen, Haas could have gotten the final point even without Hulkenberg. Very curious.

          1. How in so many years of watching I’ve never noticed a similar situation play out?!

            It rarely matters, I suppose. One of the most famous ones is probably from back in 1994 in Hungary. Schumacher (Benetton) was leading from Hill (Williams), with Brundle (McLaren) and Jos Verstappen (also Benetton) a lap down in 3rd and 4th. When Verstappen started to close the gap to Brundle, Brundle picked up the pace and, as Schumacher wasn’t pushing very much, was able to unlap himself. A lap or two later the cruising Schumacher then let Verstappen by as well. This proved crucial, as when Brundle’s McLaren gave out on the penultimate lap, the no longer lapped Verstappen was able to complete all 77 laps and thus “pass” Brundle. Brundle ended up classified 4th, ahead of all the lapped cars, but with Verstappen taking the final spot on the podium.

          2. There’s also the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix, but that was not a typical race finish!

        2. I don’t like Perez penalty in the pitlane and the signal it sends. Alonso is held longer due to traffic than the penalty Perez got. Such lenient penalties will actually motivate teams to just release cars, safe or not, in case of a safety car.

          1. His light was still red when he took off, regardless of any situation (short of maybe a fire :D), that should result in a penalty

      2. @fedar I was also initially surprised because I thought Ocon was still less than 20 seconds behind, but ultimately, the fact he got lapped allowed Magnussen to build a gap of more than 20 seconds by the time he reached the chequered flag, so a logical explanation.

    2. Its another laughable rule. It happens too often that the race leader laps into or near point giving positions, so there is a risk of points being handed out to offenders. Then it is no better than the 5 sec which for years had close to no effect.

  4. Hulk seems to be the only that did not stopped at SC that won something from it. Both Norris and Hamilton lost positions including to Bearman.

  5. He must have been going slowly if the RB could catch up with him!

  6. It seems like a reasonable tactic, I don’t think it would work on wider circuits and only happened here because Magnusson knew he was out of the race anyway.

    It does unfortunately prove that blue flags are needed. Slowing right down to hold up the leader could be annoying…

  7. I think the precedence set by Hamilton in 2016 is that it’s okay to drive unnecessarily slowly if there is a sporting reason for it.

    Perez got away with it in 2021 also.

    You’re as free to go as slow as you want I think, as long as it doesn’t make a hazard.

    More of an issue for technical regulations. If you can’t pass a slower car, DRS isn’t working at all because that’s its entire purpose.

    1. Making passing easier is the worst idea in the sports history. At the root of a lot of Problems is that through the long calendar, the Focus on reliability and the “make passing easier” you have replaced races with sorting the grid by pace even if an upset happens in qualy, and if you do have one bad result it doesn’t matter because it is statistically insignificant over the season.

    2. I guess the point of contention here would not be so much the slow driving itself, but that it was made possible by a potentially illegal on purpose pass in the first place. Considering that it is practically impossible to prove whether the pass was done illegally on purpose to enable the strategy unfolding, this opens the door for similar actions in the future.

      1. Good point, hadn’t considered that aspect of it. I think a proper solution to that is remove time penalties for overtakes off the track. Even 10 seconds isn’t suitable as seen here.

        I’ve never understood why stewards can’t order a car to a certain position. The fair outcome for overtaking off the track, or causing a spin is always to place that car behind the person who’s race they affected. It’s always been the correct sporting outcome.

        Then a stop and go time penalty (essentially to the back of the grid) if the person they aggrieved has their race ended.

        1. With all the technology in F1, they could definitely apply the penalty on track and impose a delta the car penalized should drop by. They manage to implement that for boat racing where it’s more difficult to measure. Leaving long lasting advantages and the possibility to benefit from infringement is against the spirit of the rules.

        2. I’ve never understood why stewards can’t order a car to a certain position.

          The rules state that ‘At the absolute discretion of the Race Director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he gained by leaving the track.’

          So it’s very open. The race director has just chosen to pass the responsibility to the stewards, who have completely bought into the ‘let them race!’ complaining from teams and commentators alike so that they essentially never give out anything other than the mildest of time penalties.

      2. It was after the move he got the penalty and then slowed down, and they showed the situation many times on Danish tv and it wasnt that bad the 10sec was hard penalty…..the first 10sec that came whet albon also hard because kmag was in front and if you look the track turns a little right up to the corner so he actually just follows the track …..and Yeah Yeah i know im Danish but i don follow drivers but teams and im an Ferrari man :)

  8. I have no problem with the go-slow tactic, it was a little rude but intelligent. What I don’t agree with is him cutting the chicane to stay ahead knowing he would get a penalty. That part is unsporting.

    1. Exactly. Combined with driving into Albon, which ruined Albon’s race, and ultimately carried no penalty (due to this technicality).

    2. @lejimster82 I think it was cutting of the chicane to complete the overtake on Tsounda in the first place that is the true bone of contention. That is a step worse than cutting a chicane to stay ahead.

    3. It was the small version of the Verstappen divebomb

  9. Ok, so if I’m understanding correctly, the complaint here by Permane isn’t so much that Magnussen drove slowly, but that he went off-track to overtake Tsunoda intentionally even though he’d get a penalty because the goal was to slow him down, not to finish ahead of him.

    If that’s the complaint, I might even agree. Doing everything within the rulebook to slow down the drivers behind is one thing, but if Magnussen went for an illegal overtake intentionally, knowing at that point that he wasn’t fighting for the points anyway, that could be unsportsmanlike behaviour.

    1. Yes, this is!!! Basically Magnussen was out of the race so could effectively do anything he wanted, including drive off the circuit to gain back a place and block other drivers. With time penalties being applied at the end of the race it means the driver can either overcome the penalty use the penalty to the team’s advantage which basically undermines the point of a penalty. We need drive throughs or a penalty box where the penalised driver has to stop or have like a virtual safety car type slow down (in a safe place like a straight)

    2. This is exactly why they upped the penalty to 10 seconds, as well: people were intentionally taking the 5 for advantage.

      The change is an improvement, but yesterday showed it hasn’t solved the problem.

      Any of the racers behind him would have been better off cutting a chicane, driving off, and taking a 10 second penalty – but they didn’t do it because it’s not what good drivers do.

  10. Not sure what their complaint is. He overtook off track and got a penalty for it. He bumped another car and got a penalty for it. If he was driving too slowly, pass him.

    1. Due to a technicality in the rules, neither of those penalties actually affected him.

      1. But, the penalties were applied as per the rules for the infractions. Again I also fail to see what RB and Williams beef is here. Haas and the mad and think lovable viking push the rules to the absolute limits which is after all what F1 is about. And all done for just 1 point. Classis F1. Brilliant.

  11. The problem is not beeing slow, is overtaking incurring in a infraction to then go slow. Is like getting ahead of a line in the market by being rude and have a car full when the others behind only have 1 item; the problem in not the whole car items checked, is the fact that he get ahead of the line being rude.

    Then the infraction was meaningless due to the fact the rivals were lapped which, if Mag didn’t slow don’t slow down, then they weren’t. That couple of loppholes in the regulations has to been inforced like: 10 sec penalty if you get into pits for a regular stop in the next few laps or a drive thourgh in those next few laps or the time added if you are in the final laps (less than 25% of the race for example). That way Mag must be forced to go to pits and let rival go.

  12. This is more worrysome to F1 than VER dominance.
    If non of the following cars, with DRS assistance, cant pass a car that looks like the worst in the grid, then is little hope for proper competition.

    1. Not sure we can yet draw that conclusion as the track layout is simply atrocious not so much for F1 drivers going as fast as they can, but for all the other things that make for racing at least good racing, that’s driving side by side and overtaking. If this again happen on an open track instead of street tracks as this then your conclusion would be valid. What ever what we all feared is now a possibility with 22 more races to go. Max and checco 1 & 2, 1 & 2. We had better get used to that

  13. Racefans team. Please use some different colors or a solid / dash differentiation for drivers of same team. In the graph, Magnussen, Tsunoda, Ricciardo are all black.

  14. Ok then is drivers should not be able to retain track position after gaining etc

  15. Maybe the solution is that if a driver accumulates 20 seconds of time penalties, it must immediately be served in the form of a drive through penalty. More than 20 seconds would be a stop-go penalty (eg 25 seconds would be a 5 seconds stop-go).

  16. if you want to “fix” the unsportsmanlike behavior, the regulations must be changed.
    if a driver gets a 5 or 10 second penalty then he has to take within 2 or 3 laps.
    and if you get such a penalty at the end of the race and there are not enough laps left to take the penalty, add 50s to the penalty so that the teams don’t “play” with the rules and gain an advantage, like Haas and Redbull(Checo) did.

    1. That would effectively make a 5 sec. penalty a 25 sec. penalty. That’s disproportionate. Then you might as well just black-flack a driver for any incident.

      1. No that is proportional. Either give the place back for an illegal overtake or face the consequences. As you saw in this race, there were no consequences, the time penalties were nullified by blue flags

    2. ILoveConspiracyTheories
      11th March 2024, 6:47

      @David, If you are referring to AD21 with Checo then let me know what I missed? I didn’t see Checo making an illegal move which was worth a time or any other penalty. He just stayed out longer and therefore got ahead of Hamilton legally unlike Magnussen with Tsunoda last race.

      If you still think that this move of Checo is not OK or even unsportmens like then you also must agree that using up engines like toilet paper by Mercedes at the end of 2021 falls in the same category. It was not illegal but not intended to do it like that. Which means that the AD21 race probably wouldn’t have mattered for the WDC if Mercedes hadn’t moved to such tactics ;-).

  17. I think Magnussen penalties were too harsh, first incident with Albon,he left enough room for Albon. If you closely look at that turn you’ll see that it curves right, so Mag was just following the line.
    Racing incident at best.
    With regards to Tsunoda, he drove off track but due to an oversteer. Back in the day that would have been gravel, and no penalty would have been awarded for that maneuver.
    Most F1 pundits thought the penalties were too harsh as do I. Those penalities, if at all penalities, were a max 5sec penalty.
    F1 stewards need to be interviewed, as to how the make these decisions. Norris jump started and nothing happened f.ex.
    I do agree that penalties need to be served quicker though, but do see the dilemma.
    If one gets a 3sec penality, does the driver need to do a stop and go for that and ruin his race completely?

    1. Second penalty was slam dunk. He out braked himself and cut short the corner having all 4 wheels off the track. He would have got third penalty too if there was a contact with Yuki. But it was driving error from Yuki as well, he gave him too much space there, he could have squeezed him and then KMag just ran him off the road.

      They have to review such tactics, in Singapore, Imola etc now that overtaking is just as difficult as before. Teams might use one car as moving obstacle.

  18. As drivers are clearly unwilling to voluntarily give up positions (even though giving the stewards a reason to penalize is foolish, especially when already having a looming time penalty), the stewards should definitely start to order that at the earliest available opportunity just like with blue flagging, which would remove all ambiguity for good.
    Impossible to know for certain, but had Magnussen let him by without a delay or on the short full-throttle section where S2 begins, Tsunoda may have been able to finish 10th, although even in this case, Hulkenberg may have been able to repass him eventually with fresher tyres, depending on how far behind he would’ve rejoined, so just a possible alternative scenario, but still shows the direct impact of Magnussen’s questionable driving, which he seemingly had got rid of for good.

  19. Forced drivethroughs within 2-3 laps or more flags that means drop either 5 or 10 seconds back during racing seems to be the only solution and then wave the black flag if people dont comply. That they can already serve their time at a pitstop or at race end differentiate penalties to have either zero effect up to more or less race ending depending on what part of the grid youre in.
    But we still need stewarding that stops having double standards for different drivers and teams. Often their penalties are favouring racing at the top positions, so it is easier for them to give Verstappen a penalty than someone who could threaten his position like we saw it yesterday. Also they are faster at giving the smaller teams penalties or the orange and black. A very good example was again Magnussen who in 2019 received it 3 times, but Ocon and Perez amongst others were spared despite going 5-6 laps before the endplate came off. The move Magnussen did on Albon is something we have seen countless of times without a penalty. There are atleast 6 drivers on the grid who are known to do so.

    1. Correction, 2022.

    2. I do agree that penalties are applied in a disproportionate way. To me it often seems that drivers in the less quick cars, say teams 6-10 are given penalties more often, or they are more severe than drivers in the leading teams. It’s been like it for years.

  20. At the end of the Day RB is just upset they didn’t think of it, if tables were turned Perez would have put in the same position.

    1. Perez doesn’t drive for RB

  21. But surely if he was going slowly they should have just overtaken him?

    They are the best drivers in the world, after all…

    Oh, but they can’t. Because the circuits, car sizes, tyres and rules are all broken.

    They have every right to complain to the FIA. But not about K-Mag.

  22. The team radio transcript will be interesting, if there’s anything that enlightens us how Haas hatched this plan.

  23. It does kinda open the door for further abuse of the rules in the future.

    If a driver gets a 10sec penalty and the team makes the determination that’s his race over, OR the team designates someone a clear number two driver, what’s to stop him overtaking those ahead illegally and racking up further penalties in doing so, and then doing exactly what Kevin did by holding everyone else up?

    Imagine Aston qualify top 6 at Monaco with Stroll and Alonso for example.
    Alonso uses the pit exit inside of corner 1 to overtake into the lead on consecutive early laps, while Stroll does the same to get to P2 over a sequence of laps, & then sits there holding up the field while Stroll streaks off into the lead … Alonso gets 30-40sec penalties for his moves to be served at his pitstop, but he only does so when he catches up to the back of the field, so emerges still in P1, & soon catches the back of the field again which has to move aside for blue flags and let him through, until he’s behind Stroll and then he plays the Kevin game while Stroll streaks off to also pull enough gap to also make his stop with penalties and get out in second.

    1-2 at Monaco using a more extreme version of the same tactics that are currently allowed.

    Perhaps an accrued 20sec time penalty should become an automatic drive through penalty, rather than being added to the pitstop or end of race time.

  24. I don’t see how driving slowly can be a penalty as some drivers are managing their tires. Also forcing when someone has to serve a penalty is interesting but there will be a lot of unintended consequences if it is implemented. Like in the last 10 laps of a race some has to server. Or last 5 laps.

  25. maybe drive through penalties need to be applied in certain circumstances but hey if they thought like Hass and drove a bit like Kev then maybe they would have got by! doing go ccomplaining

  26. Christina Haunstrup
    12th March 2024, 8:09

    Well i guess none off you concideret that Magnussen did not intent to overtake outside the track. Witch he told danish television, he was not sure if he was fully of track. He thought the pitwall would tell him to give the place back, but they did not, so he kept going.
    And RB complaining about slow drivning – well if they have faster cars they can overtake, simpel as that. And in F1 its just god strategi, it has been seen many times before. Finally it made a race memorable again. But FIA is ruin it with all the penaltys and the teams are ruin it with all the complaining.
    So stop complaining it hurts the sport, go racing, and stop with all the silly penaltys.

  27. Most of you got this wrong, in 3 areas. For the penalties to be given, how to execute penalties, and can you drive tactically.

    First the penalties. The first penalty. There are NUMOUROUS examples of overtakes in F1 based on the driver “hanging on the outside line” backs off. Just look up “Max Verstappen’s Best Overtakes” on youtube, and most of these depends on the outside driver to back of. Even Albon said to Sky after the race it was a racing incident at most. And other pundits the same.

    The second penalty. Yes, it could be a penalty, but again there are quite some examples of drivers from the front end teams getting away with overtaking outside the racings lines. Without penalty being given. So the stewards and F1 really need to look into consistency, for one thing. It’s not good for the sport, that top teams and WDC’s play by a different rule book. Exicting racing at Silverstone last year. BUT, both leclerc and Perez went outside racing lines. Max overtakes but carry too much speed and go over the line in the next corner. Just like Magnussen Ferraris are allowed to overtake outside the track also

    As for penalties. The first penalty should never had been given. The best handling of the second penalty would have been for stewards to tell the team that MAG had to give the place back within 1 lap. Then Tsunoda would not have been held back, and the race could have continued with actual racing rather than strategic racing for your team mate.

    To you who argue, he should have been told to pit. They cannot do that, as that would mean a 10 seconds penalty will be a 30 seconds penalty. And 30 seconds is not the penalty. A good solution to this would be to make a “Penalty lane” at each circuit.
    See this picture as an example at Jeddah:
    Best made in a long slower corner, where the penalty lane could be the longer outside line. See the red line as an example of this on the Jeddah circuit on this picture. If the red line isn’t adding enough penalty time, the driver can be told to take the red penalty line twice, or a styrofoam (for safety) chicane could be added (see blue line). Of course the penalty line should be made to add around 10 seconds (or 5 seconds and be taken twice). (Some clever thinking is needed in Monaco for this, but at all other circuits this would be easily doable)

    As for the strategic racing after penalties. Well, this has also been also in numourous examples. Both holding op the crowd for your team mates benefit, but also many examples of 5 seconds penalty (the standard till this year) that had no effect in the end because the offendee reeled in more than 5 seconds after the penalty.

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