RB threaten Kevin Magnussen with FIA intervention after ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’

Jamie Woodhouse
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen looks ahead in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix paddock.

Kevin Magnussen looks ahead.

RB are far from pleased with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and will look to raise their displeasure with Formula 1’s governing body the FIA.

It was a rough outing for Magnussen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after picking up 20 seconds worth of time penalties, though he still played a very important role for Haas and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, which for RB has proven “difficult to take”.

Kevin Magnussen ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ will be raised to FIA

Magnussen picked up his first 10-second time penalty for causing a collision with Alex Albon, before incurring another due to leaving the track and gaining an advantage in battle with Yuki Tsunoda.

However, RB believe the clear tactic was for Magnussen to get ahead of Tsunoda, back him up and allow Hulkenberg – yet to stop on the alternate strategy after an early Safety Car – to build enough of a gap so that he could pit and come back out ahead of Tsunoda and that gaggle of cars in the midfield.

That alleged plan worked, Hulkenberg utimately finishing P10 and claiming a point, but RB are not happy at all with what went down and want to discuss it with the FIA.

Speaking to media about Tsunoda’s race, the Japanese racer ultimately classified P15, RB racing director Alan Permane said: “We started him on the medium tyre, and when the Safety Car came out, pitted him for the hard compound. What then happened was a little difficult to take.

“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.

“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.”

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RB team principal Laurent Mekies felt that “P10 finish” could have been Tsunoda’s instead of Hulkenberg’s, concurring that Magnussen “destroyed Yuki’s race”.

Tsunoda though, while feeling what Haas and Magnussen did was unfair, also partially accepted responsibility for what happened.

“It was pretty frustrating, probably my mistake was I let Kevin by,” Tsunoda admitted. “But at the same time he overtook me four wheels outside.

“Okay, he got a 20-second penalty, but he was cruising around. So that felt a bit unfair, but at the same time truth is I also let him go. So that was my mistake.

“I think if I could have done a 100 per cent job, I think I could save it and try to overtake the car in front.

“I can understand his perspective. He helped the team to score points, he just tried to do whatever he can do to save the position.

“He was pretty dangerous, and I almost crashed in Turn 2. I wouldn’t say it was fair, but I have to understand his fight.”

To that point, Tsunoda said the situation required a cautious approach since Magnussen had nothing to lose, though returned to the self-criticism that he could have stopped Haas’ plan in its tracks by overtaking the Danish racer.

“I cannot overtake and smash the car,” Tsunoda pointed out. “The position we’re fighting is always pretty difficult, but at same time these are things to be a better driver, I have to still overtake him.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy, and still it was really hard to be on the track. But I think there are a lot of things at the same time where I can do a better job than that, so I have to accept it.”

After two rounds RB are still waiting for their first point of the F1 2024 campaign.

Read next: Why Kevin Magnussen’s nuisance Saudi Arabian GP tactics need to be outlawed