Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monaco, 2024

Magnussen ‘could have backed off but didn’t’ in Monaco crash, says team boss

Formula 1

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Kevin Magnussen’s team principal Ayao Komatsu says they discussed his role in the Monaco Grand Prix crash which eliminated both their cars on the first lap.

Komatsu pointed out Perez could have avoided his collision with Sergio Perez shortly after the start of the race, which also eliminated the other Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

Magnussen has faced criticism for a series of collisions this year which have seen him reach 10 penalty points on his licence – two shy of an automatic race ban. Komatsu said Magnussen initially rebounded from that setback with a strong performance in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“Kevin had lots of criticism after Miami and we spoke about it a few times before Imola, in various points,” said Komatsu. “And in Imola he delivered a really good race from his side. Really, I felt like if the team delivered a good strategy, he should have scored points in Imola. So that was the best way to answer the critics, right?”

However in Monaco, where both drivers started at the back after they were disqualified from qualifying due to a technical infringement, the first-lap collision ended their chances of salvaging any points.

“In Monaco he had the speed from FP1 and then in qualifying couldn’t quite deliver. Then, of course, we had a team issue such that meant we had to start from the back.

“From that moment, you know, we had to go for alternative strategy, splitting the drivers. So you’ve got to play the long game.

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“So the decision-making process at that instant to go for that gap, which wasn’t really there, it’s not necessarily right. Of course he expected Perez to leave more room for him, but that’s not up to him.

“In the end there was a point where everything was under his control, where he could have made a decision to back off, which he didn’t. So we spoke about all this completely openly.”

Komatsu said Magnussen needs to “just reset for this weekend again” in Montreal. “He’s done it in Imola, so he needs to deliver clean weekend here.

“I think this circuit could play to our car’s strengths and hide our weakness, shall I say. And Kevin’s good in a circuit like here so I expect him to be able to deliver a good, clean race weekend here.”

Komatsu said he will make a decision “within a couple of weeks to months” on the team’s driver line-up for next season. Hulkenberg will leave to join Sauber in 2025, while Formula 2 driver Oliver Bearman is considered a likely candidate for one of their seats.

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2024 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Magnussen ‘could have backed off but didn’t’ in Monaco crash, says team boss”

  1. “So the decision-making process at that instant to go for that gap, which wasn’t really there, it’s not necessarily right.

    It’s not necessarily wrong either, given the nature of the current F1 cars and the circuit.
    Starting at the back and finishing there because of looking only at ‘the long game’ achieves nothing either.

    Not that it matters in modern, franchised F1. Finishing last still brings a net profit.

  2. I remember being shouted at back when I was karting for similar things. For example, trying to overtake around the outside when it was obviously never going to work. I got punted off which was 100% the other guy’s fault but when I got back to the pits, it was loudly pointed out to me that it doesn’t matter who’s fault it was – I put myself at risk with very little chance of reward and I was the one out of the race.

    Even if the stewards decided it was Perez’s fault and gave him penalty points, what good is that to Magnussen when he’s sat back in the pits after the first lap?

    1. I’ve been competing in Karting since 1992 until 2020. And even so much times that people standing at the side of the track made a comment about a move i made that was wrong according to them there were even so many people saying that i was stupid to not make a move when i didn’t.

      As always, when you make a move and nothing strange happens it was a good move and when it goes wrong it was stupid to try it. But that was mostly said after the guys at the side of the track took their time to inspect the move. I had not the luxury to think a lot about it, i had to assess the situation and make a decission/move a split second.

      As i see it:

      Both the sauber and the Haas are slower than the RBR.
      Perez came out of the corner badly. The proof is that the Sauber drove away from him and both the Haas cars could come closer.
      So, Magnussen who was faster saw a gap and decided to get his car into the gap. I guess that because he was faster at that moment he had the idea that he could at least get besides the RBR.
      When the back of his front left wheel was at the same level as the front of the right front wheel of the RBR Checo reached the same speed as Magnussen.
      At that moment Perez, who clearly looked in his mirror 3 times, decided to close the door and then it was too late for Magnussen to back out.

      But, thats just my 2 cents and relying on my personal race experience troughout the years. I understand that not everyone has the same idea about the same situation.

      And to be clear, i’m for camp Perez and not for Magnussen.

      1. Edit: The sentence “When the back of his front left wheel was at the same level as the front of the right front wheel of the RBR Checo reached the same speed as Magnussen.”

        Must be: “When the back of his front left wheel was at the same level as the front of the right back wheel of the RBR Checo reached the same speed as Magnussen.”

  3. Yes, he indeed could’ve or rather should’ve backed off, just like against Sargeant in Miami.

    1. And Tsunoda in China. KMag’s had a miserable season.

    2. An Sionnach
      8th June 2024, 16:19

      Yes. As many are so keen to point out, Perez could have moved over, let him past and washed his car for him afterwards, but… what was Kevin doing there in the first place?!? I’m not sure if Komatsu stating he expects a good, clean race from Magnussen this weekend is fully a vote of confidence, or whether there’s a little pressure there. Hopefully there are no Magnussen defenders who were Alonso condemners. If there are, they need their heads checked!

  4. More F1 drivers need to learn when to back out of obvious accidents so they live to fight another day.

    Sometimes these accidents resemble those dashcam YouTube channels where people accelerate towards conflict while leaning on the horn blaming the other guy.

  5. One driver has the reaction time of a grandmother, and the other the clinical judgment of a teenager in heat. The result of the combination in a tight corner is obvious.

  6. Dan Burkert
    8th June 2024, 17:22

    Starting from the back at Monaco and thinking that you’re going to be able to race for points is nuts.

    1. So, every driver that starts at the back should just go home then?

  7. When I was a professional driver I believed one shouldn’t be noticed by your manager, or if you were going to be noticed by them, then it should be for good reasons, not the wrong reasons. In this case Kevin came to the attention of his Team Principal for the wrong reasons. Hopefully he will endeavour to not be noticed in this race, except for good reasons of course.

Comments are closed.