A sly radio message from Esteban Ocon appears to have influenced the FIA over Kevin Magnussen’s damaged front wing.
The Haas driver made contact with Lewis Hamilton during the opening lap of the race which appeared to bend his front wing. Magnussen spoke with his engineer but was told they found it was not making any impact on performance and so he would not need to pit for a new front wing.
However, shortly after, Magnussen was waved the black and orange flag by the stewards which ordered him to return to the pits and repair the damaged part. This, along with a Virtual Safety Car just a couple laps later, effectively ended Magnussen’s race who had performed well on Saturday to start P5.
Magnussen said the damage “was nothing” and that he did not get the ruling by the FIA but it may have been a radio message by one of his competitors that influenced their decision.
On the TV broadcast, Ocon was heard telling his engineer that he believed the piece could fall and was dangerous.
“Yeah, I can see it’s hanging on, it’s going to fall. If he loses it, I’m going to hit it in the face,” Ocon said.
However, Magnussen revealed Ocon had come up to him after the race laughing saying he said that to influence the FIA.
“I was just talking to Ocon now and he was joking how he told the FIA that it was really bad,” Magnussen said, as reported by Motorsport.com.
“If you know you can influence the FIA like that, you’re going to do it, aren’t you? Which he sort of did, and fair play.
“But you’ve got to let us drive with that s**t, it’s nothing. I just had a bit of contact, nothing serious. Scratched my front wing a little bit and then was told to pit.”
It was the second time in as many races a black and orange flag was shown with Yuki Tsunoda needing repairs to his DRS flap in Baku but Magnussen believes drivers should be allowed to get on with it.
“The car was fine,” he said. “The front wing was safe, it was not broken off.
“Think back to Jeddah last year, Lewis Hamilton won the race with half a front wing, which I think is correct. Let us race if we can.
“It feels like suddenly very different. In Monaco they don’t start us because it started drizzling, and then here I’m called in because I have a scratch on my front wing.”