David Coulthard criticises FIA penalty decisions involving under-fire Kevin Magnussen

Jamie Woodhouse
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Haas' Kevin Magnussen defends hard during the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Kevin Magnussen did not make many friends at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but he has found some support from 13-time race winner David Coulthard, who felt the 20 seconds of time penalties issued were too harsh.

Magnussen frustrated his first peer of the evening in Jeddah when engaging in battle with Alex Albon, that resulting in contact with the pair going into Turn 4 as Magnussen moved across looking to close the door on a potential Albon swoop around the outside.

Second Kevin Magnussen 10-second penalty ‘way too much’

Albon fortunately escaped from the incident without major damage, though was far from impressed with the Haas driver, coming over team radio to vent: “What is he doing? He didn’t give me enough space.”

The stewards agreed, handing Magnussen a 10-second time penalty, which Coulthard felt was double what Magnussen should have received.

“I think the first one he definitely squeezed down Alex Albon, that was a bit unfair, he probably thought Alex is going to back out of it,” said Coulthard on Channel 4.

“And of course his eyeline was going to be looking at the corner. So I think that was maybe a five-second penalty, in my opinion.”

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That was far from the end of Magnussen’s dramas though, who received another 10-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when passing RB’s Yuki Tsunoda.

Coulthard believed this was a harsh one, suggesting that rather than a time penalty, Magnussen should have been told to return the position.

From there Magnussen was used in some controversial Haas team play, as he backed Tsunoda and Co up to allow team-mate Nico Hulkenberg – who was yet to make his pit stop – the luxury of pulling away and creating enough of a gap to pit and come out ahead of this gaggle of cars, ultimately finishing P10.

RB felt that position was Tsunoda’s and have warned Magnussen’s “unsportsmanlike conduct” will be brought up with the FIA.

“I think the 10 seconds for the one with Tsunoda, that’s way too much,” Coulthard claimed. “They should have said, ‘Give the position back’. Thereafter, armed with the information that you’ve got all those seconds of penalties, he just went defensive.

“He’s pretty feisty anyway, but he enabled Hulkenberg to get a point.”

Said point moved Haas into P6 in the early F1 2024 Constructors’ Championship standings, as RB wait to get off the mark.

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